The Senate approved Tara O'Toole's nomination as Under Secretary for the Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security via voice vote last night. As we pointed out the day before, this should be of concern to anyone interested in making sure that billions in taxpayer dollars do not get funneled to a bio-security boondoggle brought to you by O'Toole and her close and corrupt ally John Murtha, who is currently under investigation for ethics violations. Under O'Toole's jurisdiction now falls the decision concerning the Murtha-supported effort to make the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) "the world's leading facility for manufacturing vaccines by 2013, potentially a $1 billion venture." Mysterious players in private equity, pharmaceutical, and lobbying worlds have been working for years to get to the point where one of their own -- a fellow Murtha supporter and contributor like O'Toole -- can reward them with huge federal contracts. As someone affiliated and closely aligned with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the conflict of interest before O'Toole is clear, but will she really be able to resist the pressure to reward Murtha's cronies with millions upon millions in taxpayer-funded, government contracts? The Murtha-backed effort surrounding UPMC now has the support of another Pennsylvania Democrat, Arlen Specter. Sources tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the Philadelphia Democrat is looking for a way to ingratiate himself with powerbrokers in western Pennsylvania and believes he has found it by supporting the billion-dollar UPMC venture. Prediction: coming soon to western Pennsylvania with the support of Harry Reid, Arlen Specter and of course, Tara O'Toole, will be the John Murtha Center for Biosecurity to go along with the John Murtha Airport and the John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security.
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