Did lobbyists generate bogus contributions for Murtha?

posted at 9:34 am on February 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

That’s the question that federal investigators want answered, at least according to the New York Times, but they miss an important point.  The Department of Justice has conducted a series of raids on firms connected to Rep. John Murtha, and the Times reports that they’re looking at a lobbying group for connections to illegal contributions.  And it might be more than just Murtha:

Federal prosecutors are looking into the possibility that a prominent lobbyist may have funneled bogus campaign contributions to his mentor, Representative John P. Murtha, as well as other lawmakers, two people familiar with the investigator’s questions said Tuesday.

Employees of the PMA Group, the firm founded by the lobbyist, Paul Magliocchetti, have given a total of more than $1 million to political campaigns over the last three election cycles, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

In the first half of 2007, the PMA Group and its clients contributed more than $500,000 to three congressmen, Mr. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who is chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, and his close allies on the panel, Representative James P. Moran of Virginia and Representative Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana.

The lawmakers, meanwhile, earmarked more than $100 million in defense spending for PMA clients in the appropriations bills for 2008, according to a study by Taxpayers for Common Sense, which tracks earmarks.

Moran has a well-established reputation as a porker.  Visclosky is less well-known, but he ranked sixth in House pork in 2007 (behind Murtha, Pelosi, Hoyer, and Republicans Bill Young and Jerry Lewis).  If the feds have started to take a close look at Murtha, it would make some sense that they would look at other pork allies, especially those with ties to PMA.  Both Moran and Visclosky have former aides in high positions at PMA, alongside Magliochetti, who used to work for Murtha.

The Times suggests, though, that the raids have targeted PMA rather than the politicians.  However, the two raids on Kuchera wouldn’t have anything to do with PMA.  Kuchera was not a PMA client, but was a repeat recipient of Murtha’s pork.  That suggests that PMA is not the primary target of the investigation, or at least not the only primary target. The Washington Post notes this difference, but not its significance:

Kuchera Defense Systems and Kuchera Industries, based in Murtha’s district and led by Bill and Ron Kuchera, won $50 million in Pentagon contracts from 2001 to 2008, and have long-term contracts that could be worth more than $100 million over a decade. Kuchera’s lobbying firm is Ervin Technical Associates, whose chairman is longtime Murtha friend and former Republican congressman Joseph M. McDade.

If Kuchera got raided, it wouldn’t have anything to do with PMA — and that strongly suggests that PMA is just a piece of a bigger puzzle the feds are solving.  The only connection between Kuchera and PMA is John Murtha.

Addendum: Interestingly, a group of agents at PMA announced their resignations yesterday to form a new lobbying company.  I question the timing …


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Perhaps I’m being cynical, but I beleive Murtha will come out of this just fine.

catmman on February 11, 2009 at 9:39 AM

This is your guy, Pennsylvania.

Can we take a break from bashing Minnesota for a while?

Bishop on February 11, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Whatever hurts this zero is good for mankind.

Akzed on February 11, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Culture of corruption and greed.

JammieWearingFool on February 11, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Murtha has a little D next to his name!! nothing will happen to him as he is protected. Now if he had a little R next to his name………

grapeknutz on February 11, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Not surprised. Visclosky represents northwest Indiana. He has ties to the Chicago political machine.

Take them all down.

I can’t wait for the perp walks. Chain gang would be wonderful.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on February 11, 2009 at 9:42 AM

I wish the NY Times and the Washington Post would get to the real issue… does he have a tanning bed?????

vermillionsky on February 11, 2009 at 9:43 AM

I wonder if they made the donations with gift cards in increments of 25 dollars over the internet. Nahhhh……

bloggless on February 11, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Can we take a break from bashing Minnesota for a while?

Bishop on February 11, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Only if Al Franken’s declared a loser and the Vikings make another run at the Superbowl.

Rovin on February 11, 2009 at 9:45 AM

I wish the NY Times and the Washington Post would get to the real issue… does he have a tanning bed?????

vermillionsky on February 11, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Nevermind the tanning bed, what about the designer clothes. That the money ticket. Does something get between Murtha and his Calvin Klein jeans?

bloggless on February 11, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Maybe Murtha can have a nice stay at Gitmo.

izoneguy on February 11, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Murtha needs to go, and take Specter with him. Bishop, you are not the only one with bozos in your backyard. If only people would wake up and vote for an honest, upright, ethical person. Wait, where do you find one of those??? I don’t even think there are anymore of them around, certainly not in the political arena. Wonder why I feel less inclined to vote for anyone anymore….*sigh*

clinker46 on February 11, 2009 at 9:47 AM

If this gets any traction, expect the prosecutors to be labeled “right-wing” or something suspiciously “conservative.”

perroviejo on February 11, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Richard Burr R-NC is an honest man.

bloggless on February 11, 2009 at 9:50 AM

A striking lack of little a “D” by their names…….

Oh wait, nm.

Jim708 on February 11, 2009 at 9:51 AM

a little not little a……..

Jim708 on February 11, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Where are the Marines coming to Murtha’s rescue…oh wait..nevermind

Wade on February 11, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Nevermind the tanning bed, what about the designer clothes. That the money ticket. Does something get between Murtha and his Calvin Klein jeans?

bloggless on February 11, 2009 at 9:46 AM

No, no, no! You’re all way off. What really matters is did Murtha try to ban Harry Potter from the local library?

Doughboy on February 11, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Perhaps I’m being cynical, but I beleive Murtha will come out of this just fine.

catmman on February 11, 2009 at 9:39 AM

That’s the most likely scenario. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dems let him “take one for the team.” It would be good PR for them (we’re so ethical, blah blah blah), and it would allow them to get a new guy in there to grow roots before the next election.

vermillionsky on February 11, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Every time i see that picture of Murtha, it reminds me of the crazy uncle at the summer picnic, in plaid shorts, black socks, and loafers, who drinks to much and winds up making an ass out of himself.

MDWNJ on February 11, 2009 at 9:56 AM

I also, am one to believe that Murtha walks way, untouched and unfazed…..

Vntnrse on February 11, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Democrats are immune to prosecution. If Murtha was a Republican, he would be out of a job and in jail already. Tax fraud, screwing around with an employee of Fannie Mae (Barney Frank’s Gay lover) driving a car off a bridge and letting a young woman die, Screwing interns (multiple democrats here) and other back door crimes are perpetrated every day by Democrats, yet they keep their jobs and the press says nothing. A guy gets caught trying to solicit a man in a men’s room and his career is over. What a country for Democrats.

afotia on February 11, 2009 at 9:59 AM

“Kuchera’s lobbying firm is Ervin Technical Associates, whose chairman is longtime Murtha friend and former Republican congressman Joseph M. McDade.”

Why do they have to mention a “former” Republican congressman? This would supposedly make it a bi-partisan undertaking. They may be close to indictments. Maybe.

perroviejo on February 11, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Ethical

ballz2wallz on February 11, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I wish the NY Times and the Washington Post would get to the real issue… does he have a tanning bed?????

vermillionsky on February 11, 2009 at 9:43 AM

And who’s going to play Murtha in the inevitable Murtha-porn videos? Charles Durning?

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001164/

Lettermann’s Larry Bud Mellman is dead, right?

BuckeyeSam on February 11, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I also, am one to believe that Murtha walks way, untouched and unfazed…..

Vntnrse on February 11, 2009 at 9:58 AM

ditto

Wade on February 11, 2009 at 10:01 AM

FYI…..

Biggest donor to Pete Visclosky is PMA Group.

#2: Renco Group (holding company that has a subsidiary, AM General, that makes Humvees)

Renco donated $31,000 to Visclosky, $3,000 to Murtha

#3: 21st Century Systems (makes software for intelligence agencies)

21CSI donated $31,000 to Visclosky, $14,150 to Murtha, $6000 to Moran

Controversy over 21CSI surfaced a few years back. Enough to get the DUmmies worried.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on February 11, 2009 at 10:01 AM

I’d love to see Moran go down. Used to live in his district. That guy has been a crook for as long as I can remember.

Speaking of tanning beds reminds me: Happy Birthday to Gov. Palin.

AZCoyote on February 11, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Bishop, you are not the only one with bozos in your backyard.

AMEN! Moran the Moron is a snake.

oldleprechaun on February 11, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Murtha-porn videos?

ok, that is a phrase I wish I could un-read.

vermillionsky on February 11, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Bunch of redneck racists.

JeffinOrlando on February 11, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Congress and government in general are overflowing with contemptible scoundrels and filth. Our federal government is loathsome and seems to be corrupt at literally every turn. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, there seems to be a large segment of society and the media who faithfully believe that Wall Street is corrupt, greedy, and the cause of all of our problems and that only our self-sacrificing, honorable, and benevolent government can fix our problems. Yet our government is filled with liars, cheats, and thieves. Why do so many people trust those in government but despise the free market? Has 40 years of liberal public education finally caught up with us? I am scared for this country and fear that we may be near the end.

King of the Britons on February 11, 2009 at 10:11 AM

I hope this is true. To see this corpulent sack of bacon grease go would be a good thing for the country.

Mr. Joe on February 11, 2009 at 10:12 AM

That the money ticket. Does something get between Murtha and his Calvin Klein jeans?

bloggless on February 11, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Calvin Kleins not. That glob requires Gloria Peterbilts.

Patrick S on February 11, 2009 at 10:14 AM

It’s time for Murtha to redploy to Allenwood, Pennsylvania

DarkCurrent on February 11, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Send him to the Rockview prison in St. College.

becki51758 on February 11, 2009 at 10:33 AM

nah..how bout Muncy?

becki51758 on February 11, 2009 at 10:33 AM

It’s time for Murtha to redploy to Allenwood, Pennsylvania

DC, I’d tend to agree, but shouldn’t he head to something a little more egalitarian than Allenwood?

obladioblada on February 11, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Murtha is a Democrat. He’s fine unless the Justice Department gets serious about corrupt polticians and the ethically challenged AG isn’t about to seriously investigate a corrupt Congressman of his own filthy party.

highhopes on February 11, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Hmmm… a Federal probe into Campaign finance shenanigans…

anyway we can get them to look at a certain Presidential Campaign as well?

Romeo13 on February 11, 2009 at 10:42 AM

obladioblada on February 11, 2009 at 10:34 AM

If you’re thinking Okinawa, besides being a resort environment, it’s too close for my comfort.

DarkCurrent on February 11, 2009 at 10:44 AM

I guess that whole “culture of corruption” line is coming back to bite Nancy in the arse.

:)

Conservative_SAHM on February 11, 2009 at 10:48 AM

I guess that whole “culture of corruption” line is coming back to bite Nancy in the arse.

:)

Conservative_SAHM on February 11, 2009 at 10:48 AM

No…..the drive by media wont report that.

grapeknutz on February 11, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Biggest donor to Pete Visclosky is PMA Group.

thanks for the info, i live there. i always thought he was an incincere prick, now i know why.

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on February 11, 2009 at 10:58 AM

The FBI didn’t get Schmucky Schumer’s memo that the American people don’t care about pork. Hasn’t Murtha suffered enough?

eaglewingz08 on February 11, 2009 at 11:05 AM

If Moran is involved and could be prosecuted I would very happy. Sorry about hoping for someone’s downfall but he is so creepy.

Cindy Munford on February 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

I heard Dear Leader myself say “no one is above the law”…although I’m sure the definition for one == Republican.

kirkill on February 11, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Moran’s brother is running for Governor of Virginia too. Would be delicious to see him get bogged down with this. The Morans are as crooked as they come and have controlled things in Northern Virginia way too long. This is the sort of thing that could turn Virginia red again.

I said on the thread yesterday that Paul Magliochetti is the Democratic version of Jack Abramoff. He’s been running around for years openly bragging about his connections with Murtha and others, throwing lavish fundraisers that probably broke campaign finance laws, hiring Capitol Hill staffers at gigantic salaries, etc.

BTW, everyone should be watching the House Financial Services hearing right now. It’s on CNBC. Republicans are doing a good job here.

rockmom on February 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

This is your guy, Pennsylvania.

Can we take a break from bashing Minnesota for a while?

Bishop on February 11, 2009 at 9:39 AM

I agree. I’m not a fan of Franken, but all Franken is is a liberal nutjob that lacks government experience. Murtha is a malicious traitor, liar, fiend, and is repugnant in every way, form and fashion.

The people of Pennsylvania know this fact, and still voted for the treasonous fat ass. That entire state is nothing but a bunch of traitors for keeping his fat ass in office.

leetpriest on February 11, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Liberals like to think of themselves as intellectually superior yet they keep sending back to Congress guys like Murtha and Moran. I live in Moran’s district and whenever I point out to my neighbors that Moran really is a corrupt wife beater who hangs with neo-Nazis I always get the what can we do about it look. It never occurs to them that they could get someone to run against Moran in the Democratic primary and vote him out with a Democrat. Let’s face it Democrats are just emotion driven sheep.

jerryofva on February 11, 2009 at 11:58 AM

This is just chump change. Wait till the stimulus money gets doled out.

alternative failures on February 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Name that party.

The article conveniently forgets to mention the party of either Moran or Visclosky. Since the articl does mention that they are close allies of Murtha, it’s a safe bet that they are Democrats.

MarkTheGreat on February 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Nothing will happen from any action in the House.

Pelosi owns Murtha, will keep him as she does Rangel, deflecting investigations as long as possible. Gives Nancy more control over the House, which trumps any ethical issue.

She IS really into herself, if nobody else is.

Harry Schell on February 11, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Does something get between Murtha and his Calvin Klein jeans?

bloggless on February 11, 2009 at 9:46 AM

I just lost my lunch.

MarkTheGreat on February 11, 2009 at 12:33 PM

bite Nancy in the arse.

Conservative_SAHM on February 11, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Now I’m working on yesterday’s lunch.

MarkTheGreat on February 11, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Frog March… Frog March…

It would be a shame if the FBI agent who serves the warrant determines that Jack was “resisting arrest”…

phreshone on February 11, 2009 at 1:36 PM