Nancy Pelosi cracked the whip effectively enough to turn back an eighth attempt to investigate the relationship between Congressional earmarks and donations arranged by lobbying group PMA. The Democratic Speaker won her gavel by running against the “culture of corruption” exposed by the Jack Abramoff scandal and promising to run “the most ethical Congress ever” if given the majority:
House Democrats on Tuesday stopped a Republican plan to force a campaign finance inquiry that likely would have investigated several influential Democrats. It was the eighth time since late February that the Republican move was halted.
One of the biggest recipients has been the chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania.
The vote was 215-182 to stop consideration of a GOP resolution to initiate a House ethics committee inquiry. It called for an investigation into campaign contributions to House lawmakers by recipients of pet project money and their lobbyists. …
The Republican resolution focused on a lobbying firm, PMA, which was raided by the FBI last year. The company’s political action committee records were carted off, along with files of some of its lobbyists.
In 2007 and 2008, Murtha, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. and Rep. Peter Visclosky. D-Ind., directed $137 million to defense contractors who were paying PMA to get them government business.
At the same time, the three lawmakers received huge amounts of political donations from PMA lobbyists and their clients. Murtha has collected $2.37 million from PMA’s lobbyists and the companies it has represented since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money. Visclosky has collected $1.36 million; Moran, $997,348.
Pelosi sued the FBI to block a judically-approved search warrant for then-Rep. William Jefferson’s offices in a bribery probe, joined in that effort by then-Speaker Denny Hastert. Pelosi and Hastert insisted that Congress itself had jurisdiction in investigating misconduct on Capitol Hill. A judge agreed with her in part on appeal and blocked prosecutors from access to part of the material seized in the search.
So far, it seems that Pelosi is less interested in cleaning up Congress than in covering up wrongdoing by her Democratic colleagues. An ethics probe would still get run by Democrats, as they control all committees in the House and Senate. Pelosi won’t even let a probe get that far, which should cause American voters to wonder what she really knows about potential PMA corruption and her allies John Murtha and Pete Visclosky. (via Instapundit)