(Washington, D.C.)--Defense industry lobbyist PMA group lavished campaign donations on numerous members of Congress regardless of party affiliation. Open Secrets said the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.), Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) were high on the list of top recipients. So was Democrat President Barack Obama, former junior senator from Illinois.
According to the Florida Times-Union, PMA had ties to the Northeast Florida area where company founder Paul Magliocchetti owns a home on Amelia Island. He was also in a partnership with two men from the area.
The Dept. of Justice said Magliocchetti was arrested August 5 on charges of making illegal campaign contributions and making false statements to a federal agency.
DoJ said, “According to the indictment, Magliocchetti orchestrated a scheme to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal conduit and corporate federal campaign contributions in an effort to enrich himself and PMA by increasing the firm’s influence, power and prestige among the firm’s current and potential clients, as well as among the elected public officials to whom PMA and its lobbyists sought access. The federal campaigns that received these funds were unaware of Magliocchetti’s alleged scheme.”
DoJ alleges Magliocchetti used family members, PMA employees and others to funnel the donations to recipients. DoJ said, “In order to evade the legal limits on individual contributions and the outright ban on corporate contributions, the indictment alleges that Magliocchetti caused straw donors to make contributions to scores of federal campaign committees, which in fact were actually paid for by Magliocchetti or PMA, rather than the named donor. “
Open Secrets suggested donations to Obama ranked with those given to Murtha. OS said, “Since 1998, the firm and its clients have given $40.3 million total to the candidate committees and leadership PACs of 514 lawmakers--nearly every member of the current Congress--with Democrats collecting 58 percent of that. President Obama is high on the list, having collected $839,700 from the firm and its clients, ranking him fourth among all recipients after Murtha, Visclosky and Moran.”
OS also suggested the large amount to Obama was probably because Obama's was a presidential campaign rather than a campaign for a seat in Congress.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys M. Kendall Day, Justin V. Shur and Kevin O. Driscoll of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark D. Lytle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. The case is being investigated by the FBI.
(By Kay B. Day/Aug. 31, 2010)