Joseph M. McDade, 18-Term Pennsylvania Congressman, Dies at 85

Mr. McDade preserved thousands of jobs by preventing the closing of the Tobyhanna Army Depot, southeast of Scranton, and was instrumental in the designation of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area. He wangled some $70 million from the federal budget for a museum called the Steamtown National Historic Site at an abandoned rail yard in Scranton, a tourist attraction that the National Park Service never requested.

And, with Mr. Murtha, he persuaded the Defense Department to buy about 300,000 tons, or roughly 10 percent, of the nation’s output of high-sulfur anthracite coal annually, providing the Pentagon with a perpetual 10-year supply of the fuel, which is mined in Pennsylvania.

A federal investigation of Mr. McDade, begun in 1988, culminated in his indictment in 1992 on bribery and racketeering charges. He had been accused of failing to report gifts — including college scholarships for his son and vacation junkets — from people and corporations seeking government contracts.

Tried in 1996, he was acquitted after he testified that his failure to disclose the gifts had been an honest mistake. Several of his aides blamed themselves for any reporting violations.

Mr. McDade was re-elected twice while charges were pending. But the indictment embarrassed congressional Republicans, especially after he refused to relinquish his leadership role as ranking minority member on the House Appropriations Committee.

In 1993, House Republicans voted to require indicted members to quit their leadership posts until their cases were resolved. But they carved out an exemption for those who, like Mr. McDade, were already under indictment. When the Republicans won control of the House in 1994, however, Mr. McDade was passed over for the committee chairmanship.

In 1998, as a result of his indictment, House Republicans enacted a law requiring federal prosecutors to follow the ethical code for lawyers in the state in which they were operating. Prosecutors said the provision hampered their covert, undercover and sting investigations.

Joseph Michael McDade was born on Sept. 29, 1931, in Scranton to John B. McDade and the former Genevieve Hayes. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 and from the University of Pennsylvania law school.

He is survived by his wife, the former Sarah Scripture, and their son, Jared; two sons, Joseph Jr. and Mark, and two daughters, Aileen McDade and Deborah Bell, from an earlier marriage, to the former Mary Theresa O’Brien, which ended in divorce; three sisters, Mary Gene Butler, Genevieve Tuthill and Ann Dwyer; and six grandchildren.

Continue reading the main storySource: New York Times – Politics

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