This breaking news yesterday afternoon didn’t get much attention when it first came out, but it may get a lot more attention soon. Paul Magliochetti has agreed to change his plea to guilty on 11 felony counts connected to corruption in Congress. Magliochetti, who turned his connections to the late John Murtha into a powerful lobbying presence, has decided to cooperate with prosecutors — and that may be very bad news for Democrats on Capitol Hill:
A former lobbyist has decided to plead guilty and cooperate in a Justice Department probeof campaign donations to members of Congress who directed hundreds of millions of dollars to defense contractors without competitive bidding.
A person outside the government who is familiar with the criminal investigation said Thursday that the once-prominent lobbyist, Paul Magliocchetti, will enter a plea on Sept. 24 in federal court in Alexandria, Va. …
In the Justice Department probe, a federal grand jury more than a year ago subpoenaed documents from the office of Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., from some of Visclosky’s employees and from the congressman’s campaign committees.
Magliocchetti pleaded not guilty to an 11-count indictment felony indictment on Aug. 20. He is charged with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to scores of campaigns dating back to 2003 to enrich himself and increase his firm’s influence with public officials.
The AP verified their source’s account by checking the court docket. An entry notes a “change of plea” hearing scheduled for a week from today for Magliochetti. He was supposed to go on trial on October 5th, so Magliochetti apparently waited until almost the last moment to get the best deal he could.
That means that the feds have already learned enough from Magliochetti to make it worth their while to cut a deal. Given the close connections that Magliochetti and PMA Group had with Democrats in the House, especially Murtha and Visclosky, it seems likely that the Department of Justice will be aiming at the Hill. The FBI already have Visclosky’s documents from that May 2009 raid, and more subpoenas may be coming.
Keep an eye on this story. Visclosky is running for re-election in Indiana’s 1st CD, a normally safe D+8 district that covers the northwestern corner of the state, including Gary. Mark Leyva is challenging him, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start hitting Visclosky on this new development.