Murtha lobbyist group closes its PAC

John Murtha wouldn’t call this a “retreat”.  He’d call it “redeploying over an event horizon.”  By whatever name, the federal investigation of Murtha has apparently frightened his lobbyist pals out of the political-action business:

PMA Group, the lobbying firm tied to Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) that was raided by federal agents back in November, has closed its political action committee, the latest sign of the company’s implosion.

PMA filed a “termination report” with the Federal Election Commission Thursday, notifying the agency that it would be shutting down its PAC. The PAC refunded its last $29,423 to the contributors, including Mark Magliocchetti, brother of PMA founder Paul Magliocchetti.

PMA’s PAC was very recently a significant source of donations for lawmakers, especially those on the House and Senate Appropriations committees. The PMA PAC disbursed more than $378,000 last cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But PMA has essentially collapsed; most of PMA’s lobbyists have bolted the firm, with one group breaking off to form its own lobbying outfit, while others have sought employment with other lobbying organization.

Magliochetti has himself redeployed over the event horizon, all the way to Florida.  He tried selling the company off to his employees, but found no takers.  None of them wants to be the person who gets the subpoenas, apparently.

No wonder Nancy Pelosi has become wary of Murtha:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are “concerned” by a widening criminal probe that may involve Rep. John P. Murtha, but sources close to the leadership say there’s no move afoot to force him out as chairman of the powerful Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

“We are watching to see what happens,” said a senior House Democratic aide.

What happened today is that the rats have begun fleeing the sinking ship.  Questions about “strawman” donations to Murtha appear to have triggered the exodus.  PMA organized a very expensive rescue of John Murtha in the final days of the 2008 campaign.  Just the above-board money PMA raised hit six figures in the final weeks.  Did PMA use false fronts to redirect funds and cheat William Russell out of seat in Congress?  We’ll see, but the retreat and collapse of PMA sends a bad signal to Democrats about their King of Pork.