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House Ethics Panel to Probe PMA

By Paul Kane
The House ethics committee announced today that is conducting a preliminary inquiry into the lobbying firm PMA Group's ability to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks for clients while steering millions of dollars in donations to key Democrats.

In a statement, the committee announced that its leaders had "previously authorized a review of certain specified allegations" against the now shuttered lobbying group, whose offices were raided by the FBI last fall.

The announcement was forced by an unusual House vote last week in which the committee was compelled to declare whether such a review had begun, following a months-long effort by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to pass a resolution ordering an ethics committee review.

Flake is the House's leading opponent of earmarks, the narrowly written spending items that often are included in the appropriations bills at the request of a single lawmaker.

The panel -- formally known as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct -- did not indicate when it began its initial inquiry. "The committee is continuing to review these matters," the statement said.

This is at least the third ongoing investigation connected to PMA, which has close ties to the leaders of the defense appropriations subcommittee: Reps John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and James Moran (D-Va.).

The FBI and a federal grand jury are examining possible criminal actions by the lobbying firm, including the possible use of straw donations to lawmakers' campaign committee. In addition, the Pentagon's internal investigators are reviewing several of the defense contractors who have won multi-million-dollar earmarks while having PMA represent their interests on Capitol Hill. The Pentagon recently suspended a Pennsylvania contractor with close Murtha ties for receiving Defense Department contracts, citing alleged misappropriation of the federal dollars.

In the 2008 election cycle, PMA and its clients donated nearly $800,000 to Murtha's political committees.

In just one single bill overseen by Murtha, the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations measure, PMA clients received almost $300 million in earmarks.

Murtha has denied any wrongdoing.

By Post Editor  |  June 11, 2009; 6:56 PM ET
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Come clean Rep. Moran. As your constituent and as a diehard Democrat who agrees with your policy positions almost 100% of the time, I am begging you, tell us what you did, what you know and who's involved.

Posted by: fakevirginia | June 11, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

If they are guilty burn them and then go back and burn all of the Bush Adm. contractors who we all know made millions illegally in Iraq.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | June 12, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

if they had half the money theyve thrown away on earmarks,and gifts to acorn,and murthas nephew,they would not need to try to push socialized med. these crooks are all getting bolder in their thefts every day. they have more nerve than burglars.
it has nothing to do with repubs or dems,they are all thieves,the dems are just trying to ruin our system faster. theyve allready thrown away more money,and attacked the constitution more in a few months than anyone in history.
take a minuate and google search watch a minuate or so of a real newsclip you would never see in the fairy tales,or the ny times. then make your decision,which pill you want to take. do you want to bury your head in the sand and live in the matrix?

Posted by: silusdogood | June 13, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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