3994737This week might bring another ethical embarrassment to the Democrats, who have been stung in recent weeks by revelations of misconduct by some of President Obama's nominees for key positions. The FBI is investigating Representative John P. Murtha's relationship with a defense lobbying group whose offices they raided in November.
Murtha is the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Committee, a group of lawmakers that decides how much money goes to military spending. Sources tell the Washington Post that the FBI is looking at whether Murtha, along with fellow Democratic Reps. James P. Moran and Peter J. Visclosky, handed out defense contracts based on illegal contributions from lobbyists.
The Post reports that Murtha gave out "hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks for defense firms, which have donated generously to him." Most of those firms developed relationships with Murtha through PMA, a defense lobbying company. The founder of PMA, Paul Magliocchetti, once worked as Murtha's aide. Former aides to Moran and Visclosky also worked for the company.
According to watchdog group The Center for Responsive Politics, PMA and its clients were in the top 10 donors list for Murtha's political campaign. Together, they gave Murtha $183,700 for his most recent reelection campaign and over $1 million over the past three election cycles.
As soon as the news broke, a number of PMA employees issued a statement seperating themselves from the company.