ALBANY—Republicans in the House of Representatives have been trying to force a probe by the chamber's ethics committee into a lobbying firm, the PMA Group, and into how Democratic leaders have tried to block it.
One of a few Democrats who bucked the party leadership was Scott Murphy, who replaced Kirsten Gillibrand in Congress. I asked him whether he was aware of the direction from his conference leaders to vote no on the Republican resolution asking for an investigation.
"I considered it," he said. "I knew that the leadership wanted a different vote, so I put that under consideration, with the number of other things that I consider with each vote."
PMA is being investigated by the F.B.I. for how its role in influencing the distribution of earmarks, and the firm has close ties to Representative John Murtha, a fact that Republicans have delighted in pointing out.
I asked him if his vote was an indication of his potential willingness to support future investigations into influential Democratic members like, say, Representative Charlie Rangel?
"I won't comment on specific ones in the hypothetical world or in the future, but yes, I do think I will continue to support ones where the evidence I have does support doing an investigation," he said. "My inclination would be to say, yeah, let's clear the air and get it behind us."
Murphy emphasized he's "following in Kirsten Gillibrand's footsteps" in several areas, posting his daily schedules online and committing to do the same with earmark requests in the upcoming transportation bill.
Murphy was back in the district today, and will spend Saturday doing an event in Hudson. On Monday, he is scheduled to speak at the State Home Care Assocation's annual conference in Saratoga Springs.