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Grand Jury Subpoenas Rep.'s Records

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records of Rep. Pete Visclosky in a criminal probe involving a Washington-area lobbying firm that specialized in providing congressional earmarks to defense contractors.

The Indiana Democrat said Friday that the subpoenas went to his congressional office, campaign committees and some of his employees and that they demanded documents related to the firm PMA Group.

The founder of the now-defunct company, Paul Magliocchetti, is a former staffer on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense chaired by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. Visclosky is also a member of the panel, and chairs another House appropriations subcommittee.

Visclosky says he will cooperate with the investigation, which he described as being in an early stage. He says he will not comment further.

"I am confident that at the end of this process, no one will conclude that I have done anything wrong or harmed my constituents in any way," Visclosky's statement said.

Visclosky has longtime ties to PMA, which employed his former congressional chief of staff.

One out of every four dollars in political donations to Visclosky over the past seven years came from clients of PMA.

Magliocchetti is under criminal investigation and Visclosky is faced with a paper trail that shows he collected $1.4 million in donations since 1993 from the firm and its clients, most of them defense contractors.

The financial clout of Visclosky, a relatively obscure congressman, stems from his chairmanship of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water and his status as the third-ranking Democrat on Murtha's defense subcommittee.

From those positions, Visclosky has helped dispense billions in federal contracts to defense and other firms that have financed his re-election campaigns.

The money has made Visclosky immune to any serious political challenge in his northwest Indiana district, where he routinely wins re-election by margins of better than 3-1. In the House since 1989, Visclosky never has faced significant Republican opposition.

His money machine went into high gear after chief of staff Richard Kaelin jumped ship to PMA. From 2005 to 2007, Visclosky's contributions from PMA and its clients averaged a quarter of a million dollars a year.