Corporate Fundraising, Fa La La La La La La La La
Congressional investigators and the Justice Department are questioning whether Sierra Nevada (no, not the beer makers, but an intelligence and defense company heavily involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) received special favors in exchange for campaign contributions to lawmakers.
A look at Fedspending.org shows that Sierra Nevada received $431.6 million in government contracts for fiscal year 2008, the most recent year for which data are available. Its biggest clients included the U.S. Air Force, the Army, the Navy and the U.S. Secret Service.
In the campaign finance case, investigators allege that U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee, solicited contributions from Sierra Nevada and other clients of the now-closed lobbying firm PMA Group. A story on RGJ.com said Visclosky then provided the companies with special access to him and his staff while the firms secured large contracts.
PMA's founder and owner Paul J. Magliocchetti had his own troubles.
A Sierra Nevada executive discussed the company's political contributions in e-mails, investigators found.
Dave Klingler, a vice president of Sierra Nevada, told a co-worker in a 2007 e-mail, "Tis' the fundraiser season again." He also outlined the company's plans for "supporting our FY08 pursuits," adding that "we have Visclosky and (U.S. Rep. John) Murtha events coming up quickly." Murtha (D-Pa.) chaired the defense appropriations subcommittee. He died in February.
In another email, Klingler explained why he thought Sierra Nevada's political action committee should give $30,000 to Visclosky and Murtha. He wrote: "That's what each of the companies working with PMA and Visclosky have been asked to contribute. He has been a good supporter of SNC [Sierra Nevada Corp.] We have gotten over $10 million in adds from him."
The federal Office of Congressional Ethics has sent its investigation of the ties between Sierra Nevada and lawmakers to the Justice Department. The agency is expected to look at whether Visclosky violated the law or U.S. House rules by soliciting or accepting contributions in exchange for securing contracts.
August 18, 2010; 8:51 AM ET
| Tags: Congress, Contracting, Fundraising, Justice Department
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