Unusual Donations From Lobbying Firm
Federal investigators looking at a lobbying firm with ties to Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), are focused on allegations that its founder may have reimbursed some of his staff to cover contributions made in their names to Murtha and other lawmakers.
In addition, The Post's Carol D. Leonnig reports today, The Post examined contributions that were reported as being made by employees and consultants of the lobbying firm, the PMA group, and found several people who were not registered lobbyists and did not work at the firm.
PMA's Virginia offices were raided by the FBI in November.
The lobbying firm has long had a reputation for securing earmarks from congressional appropriators, particularly for defense contractors, and it has donated generously to influential members of Congress. Its founder, Paul Magliocchetti, a former appropriations staffer close to Murtha, personally gave $98,000 in campaign donations last year, according to campaign records.
Meanwhile, a political-action committee tied to Murtha and run by PMA closed yesterday, refunding its last $29,423 to contributors and filing a "termination report" with the Federal Election Commission, Politico reported.
The PMA Group was founded in 1989 by Magliocchetti. Murtha secured $38 million in federal earmarks for PMA's clients in the past fiscal year alone, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Murtha aides have said the congressman has not been contacted by investigators and has no reason to believe that the PMA raid, or another raid at a Pennsylvania company in January, are related to him.
In the Pennsylvania case, federal agents raided a Kuchera Industries facility in Murtha's district along with the homes of the electronic firm's founders, Bill and Ronald Kuchera. Authorities declined to release details of the investigation.
But unnamed sources told the Tribune Democrat in Johnstown, Pa., that the federal investigation is focused on the use of corporate money for "unapproved purposes," namely a 161-acre private ranch run by Bill Kuchera.
The ranch has been used in recent years to entertain clients and, last year, Murtha used the site for a $100,000 "high-end" fundraiser, according to the Tribune Democrat.
"No one is suggesting that Jack Murtha is involved, has anything to do with this. Period," spokesman Matthew Mazonkey said.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), one of Murtha's closest colleagues, said the 19-term congressman has "expressed no concern whatsoever" about the raid.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are "concerned" by the criminal probe, Politico reported, citing unidentified sources.
By Derek Kravitz |
February 13, 2009; 7:13 PM ET
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