PMA Group Founder Indicted in Earmarks Scandal
In the coda to yet another Washington ethics scandal, Paul Magliocchetti, founder of the once influential defense lobbying firm PMA Group, was indicted yesterday in federal court for making hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions.
PMA had ties to several senior members of the House Appropriations Committee, especially those that served on the Defense subcommittee. The late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) was most famously linked to PMA, but so too were Reps. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) and Bill Young (R-Fla.). The firm and its employees and clients allegedly directed millions in campaign contributions to the lawmakers. PMA’s clients later received hundreds of millions in earmarks.
While no lawmakers were mentioned in the indictment, Politico mentions that Republicans are already trying to make a campaign issue out of it:
The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement calling Magliocchetti, a former Democratic staffer, the “founder of an infamous Dem-friendly lobbying firm,” while mocking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for failing to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington.
Republicans are essentially trying to take a page out of the Democrats’ playbook from 2006, when ethics scandals surrounding former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) and lobbyist Jack Abramoff helped foster a “throw the bums out” mentality and propel a Democratic landslide at the polls.
It’s the reason why in the House both parties have taken pledges to curb the practice of earmarking in next year’s fiscal budget, and why so many insurgent candidates are pledging not to engage in earmarking should they be elected to Congress.