"Nearly half the members of a powerful House subcommittee in control of Pentagon spending are under scrutiny by ethics investigators in Congress, who have trained their lens on the relationships between seven panel members and an influential lobbying firm founded by a former Capitol Hill aide. A document obtained by The Washington Post shows that the subcommittee members under scrutiny include MARCY
The document obtained by The Post offers the most detailed picture yet of a widening inquiry into the relationships between lawmakers and PMA, a lobbying firm founded by Paul Magliocchetti that has been under criminal investigation by the Justice Department. A year ago, the FBI raided PMA's offices and carted away boxes of records dealing with its political donations and the firm's efforts to win congressionally directed funds, known as "earmarks," for clients.
Together, the seven legislators have personally steered more than $200 million in earmarks to clients of the PMA Group in the past two years, and received more than $6.2 million in campaign contributions from PMA and its clients in the past decade, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly and Taxpayers for Common Sense.
The Post reviewed earmark and campaign records and found that the seven had each supported funding for PMA clients and also received donations.
While lawmakers received generous contributions, PMA used its growing influence with the panel over the past decade to become one of the top 10 lobby shops in Washington and took in $114 million in lobbying fees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.
Several Hill staffers said they are confused by what appears to be a dual track, with the OCE and the ethics committee simultaneously pursuing similar questions.
Kaptur's spokesman said her office does not understand the duplication but is happy to answer all questions. "The congresswoman has always emphasized openness and transparency, and it almost goes without saying she will continue to cooperate with the OCE and, if it goes to the [ethics committee], with that committee as well," said Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought. "She has nothing to hide."
The article appears in the Washington Post today. Whether or not Kaptur has used
the power of her authority to provide earmarks to a power defense lobbying group
and in exchange receive kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions, this is
just further demonstration of how power corrupts. The continued use of taxpayer
money to benefit themselves has long been prevalent with our long term, for life
politicians. The real question is the influence of Congressional lobbying.
There is only way to change this out of control system of providing earmarks for
campaign contributions, namely, term limits. Moreover, the system will try to
bury these charges, ignore them, and hope people forget about it. Why do we continue to support people who take personal risks with taxpayer money?