CQ Politics reports the latest lobbying scandal, centered on the infamous John Murtha, but featuring the kind of bipartsanship otherwise missing from the current Congress.
More than 100 House members (42 Republicans and 62 Democrats – JDZ) secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients of a single lobbying firm â€” The PMA Group â€” known for its close ties to John P. Murtha, the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations.
â€œIt shows you how good they were,â€ said Keith Ashdown, chief investigator at the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. â€œThe sheer coordination of that would take an army to finish.â€
PMAâ€™s offices have been raided, and the firm closed its political action committee last week amid reports that the FBI is investigating possibly illegal campaign contributions to Murtha and other lawmakers. …
In the spending bill managed by Murtha, the fiscal 2008 Defense appropriation, 104 House members got earmarks for projects sought by PMA clients, according to Congressional Quarterlyâ€™s analysis of a database constructed by Ashdownâ€™s group.
Those House members, plus a handful of senators, combined to route nearly $300 million in public money to clients of PMA through that one law (PL 110-116). …
PMAâ€™s founder, Paul Magliocchetti, is a former House Appropriations Committee aide who has a long-running relationship with Murtha, D-Pa., the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Murtha, who used to boast that his middle initial stands for â€œpower,â€ carved out $38.1 million for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 defense spending law, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Indiana Rep. Peter J. Visclosky , who serves on Murthaâ€™s subcommittee and additionally is chairman of the subcommittee that allocates money for the Pentagonâ€™s nuclear programs, earmarked $23.8 million for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 defense spending bill.
His former chief of staff, Richard Kaelin, lobbies for PMA, as does Melissa Koloszar, a former top aide to defense appropriator James P. Moran , D-Va.
Moran sponsored $10.8 million for PMA clients, and Rep. Norm Dicks , D-Wash., another member of the subcommittee, sponsored $12.1 million. …
Of the 104 lawmakers who lent their names to earmark requests for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 Pentagon spending law, 91 have, since 2001, received campaign money linked to PMA, either from its political action committee or its employees.