Looks like John Murtha’s favorite lobbyist is headed for serious legal problems. The Washington Post has found several strawman donors in PMA’s bundling operations, although at the moment, none of them lead to Murtha himself — yet:
Marvin Hoffman is listed in campaign finance records as one of the many lobbyists with the powerful PMA Group donating money to lawmakers. But Hoffman is actually a soon-to-retire information technology manager in Marina Del Rey, who has never heard of the Arlington lobbying firm or the Indiana congressman to whom he supposedly gave $2,000.
“It’s alarming that someone is stealing my identity somewhere,” Hoffman, 75, said in an interview. “I’ve never heard of this company.”
Another contributor listed as a PMA lobbyist is, in fact, a sales manager for an inflatable boat manufacturer in New Jersey. John Hendricksen said he did make some campaign donations, but never worked at PMA and doesn’t know how he ended up listed in records that way.
These errors, along with a series of other unusual donations linked to the firm, come as the Justice Department examines allegations that PMA may have violated campaign finance laws. The offices of PMA — which ranked last year as the tenth biggest-earning lobby firm in Washington — were raided in November by FBI agents and Department of Defense investigators. Federal investigators are focused on allegations that PMA founder Paul Magliocchetti, a former appropriations staffer close to Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), may have reimbursed some of his staff to cover contributions made in their names to Murtha and other lawmakers, according to two sources familiar with the investigation. PMA has long had a reputation for securing earmarks from congressional appropriators, particularly for defense contractors, and it has donated generously to influential members of Congress. Paul Magliocchetti personally gave $98,000 in campaign donations last year, according to campaign records.
This appears to be the first confirmation that PMA has involvement in concrete violations of campaign law. It also may explain why PMA’s employees have begun fleeing the firm. The Hoffman case would be enough to interest prosecutors, as no innocent explanation could cover how PMA would identify him as a lobbyist and a contributor. Someone wanted to hide a $2000 contribution, presumably to Pete Visclosky (D-IN), who was connected to PMA.
And if they wanted to hide the contribution, one has to wonder what PMA expected to get out of it, and any other strawman contributions. Certainly the Justice Department will want to know that.