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Corruption Chronicles

104 House Members Got Troubled Lobbying Firm Tax Money

More than 100 federal lawmakers secured hefty earmarks for the mega defense lobbying firm—founded by a top congressional aide—that will close shop next month amid a widespread federal investigation. 

With the feds breathing down its neck and a growing list of potentially corrupt politicians who have steered tax dollars its way, Washington’s top defense lobbying firm (Virginia-based PMA Group) announced this week that it will shut its lucrative operation by the end of March. 

It was initially reported that the firm had close ties to just one lawmaker, Pennsylvania Democrat Representative John Murtha, who as chairman of the powerful Defense Appropriations subcommittee steered hundreds of millions of dollars to its clients over the years. To show their appreciation, the defense contractors as well as PMA executives and employees donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Murtha’s campaigns. 

This week a top political publication that covers Capitol Hill reports that nearly one-fourth of Murtha’s House colleagues also steered substantial earmarks to PMA clients. In a 2008 Defense appropriation alone, 104 House members (along with a handful of senators) teamed up give PMA clients nearly $300 million in public money through just one piece of legislation.

The same lawmakers (54 Democrats and 50 Republicans) who got PMA clients big bucks in that spending bill have accepted nearly $2 million in campaign contributions from PMA employees in the last few years. In all, PMA employees have donated $3.3 million to members of Congress and congressional hopefuls since 2001.

The top recipients of PMA campaign dollars are all Democrat Pennsylvania representatives that make up a state delegation known as “Murtha’s corner.” They include Mike Doyle ($69,400), Tim Holden ($57,275), Paul Kanjorski ($37,150) and Chris Carney ($38,500), who wasn’t even elected until 2006. Representatives Patrick J. Murphy ($29,250), Allyson Y. Schwartz ($25,000) and Jason Altmire ($24,500) have also received substantial donations from PMA.

Hopefully the federal investigation, launched with the recent FBI raid of PMA’s offices, won’t cease when the firm conveniently dissolves in its quest to dodge a potential corruption scandal. 


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