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Ethics investigation into Moran closes

The Office of Congressional Ethics has told U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) and at least two other House members that its investigation of their relationships with the now-defunct lobbying firm PMA has been closed, and that it has recommended to the House ethics committee that it take no further action in its own probe.

The board of the ethics office voted 6 to 0 to recommend dismissing allegations against Moran, including a charge that he "solicited or accepted contributions or other items of value in a manner which gave the appearance that the contributions were linked to an official act."

It is not known how the board voted regarding Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) or Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the other two House members who received similar letters today.

The ethics committee publicly confirmed in June that it was also doing a PMA investigation, and the Justice Department has conducted raids and issued subpoenas in its own probe of the lobbying firm. The current status of those two investigations is not publicly known.

The Washington Post reported in October that a total of seven members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee were under investigation by the two separate Congressional ethics bodies for their ties to PMA. The report was based on a confidential House ethics committee document that was prepared in July and later obtained by the Post after being inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network.

The seven lawmakers under investigation personally steered more than $200 million worth of earmarks to clients of PMA, and received campaign contributions from the political action committees of PMA and its clients, as well as donations from its employees.

By Amy Gardner  |  December 18, 2009; 5:57 PM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , James P. Moran Jr.  
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