June 3rd, 2009
08:07 PM ET
1 year ago

House votes to force ethics committee to report whether it's investigating PMA

According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Rep Jack Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, who chairs the powerful Defense Appropriations committee, has steered over $130 million in projects to his district.
According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Rep Jack Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, who chairs the powerful Defense Appropriations committee, has steered over $130 million in projects to his district.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to force the House ethics committee to report whether or not it is investigating any misconduct by House members relating to the PMA Group, a lobbying firm that secured millions of dollars in earmarks for its clients.

The vote on a resolution offered by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was 270-134. Seventeen members voted present, including all of the members of the ethics committee. The Democratic resolution instructs the panel to report back to the full House in 45 days.

The reversal by House Democrats to address the controversy comes after repeated efforts by House Republicans to launch an investigation of PMA were blocked by Democrats. A series of news reports allege that several senior House Democrats on the Appropriations Committee received millions in campaign cash for their help steering federal projects to companies represented by the now defunct lobbying firm.

According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Rep Jack Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, who chairs the powerful Defense Appropriations committee, has steered over $130 million in projects to his district. PMA’s chief lobbyist Paul Magliochetti is a former Appropriations staffer with ties to Murtha. Murtha’s spokesman denies he has done anything improper.

Last week Indiana Democratic Congressman Pete Visclosky received a subpoena from federal prosecutors for information related to PMA. Visclosky said he was cooperating and insisted he didn't do anything improper, but he volunteered Tuesday to step aside from handling this year’s spending bill for the Energy and Water panel he chairs on the House Appropriations Committee.

Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, who has led the charge to force an investigation, criticized the move on Wednesday, arguing the Democratic sponsored resolution doesn't require an investigation and could effectively stall a probe by specifying that the committee has 45 days to respond.

"They seem to be punting beyond the appropriations cycle," Flake told reporters.

Michael Steel, spokesman for House Republican Leader John Boehner, said, "This is a joke. It is the tiniest speck of political cover from a Democratic Leadership that has voted time after time to block a real investigation of PMA. It doesn't even require an investigation, it simply inquires whether there is one – and gives the Committee a month and half to reply. That's ridiculous. They can and should answer that question today. In the meantime, the swamp waters continue to rise, and this won't fool the American people."


Filed under: House
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. JK Ashburn, VA

    Yet another member of Congress who belongs in Gitmo. Our government is corrupt..... the best money can buy.

    June 3, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  2. Bob of Lompoc

    CNN has uncovered the fact that a U. S. Congressman had steered a lot of money to his District ! This is shocking. What next ? There are illegal aliens crossing into the U S A at the Mexican/American border ?

    June 3, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  3. Donnie

    Crooks. But, you people forget, it's not the job of the Congress to look after the people's best interest. It's the job of the Congress and State governments like California to drive the American people into the maximum amount of debt possible, but while still being able to pay for it. If the U.S. or California (more likely) were ever to default on all the debt, the people wouldn't have to pay it back. Therefore, they cannot do that. Congress has the very difficult job of putting us in the maximum amount of debt possible but we're still on the hook for and have to pay back. It's not an easy task.

    June 3, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  4. Maria

    Good luck with that.......we're still waiting to fid out what the Congressional ethics committee will be doing about the Tax and Fraud committed by Congressman Charlie Rangel.

    Americans are starting to see that there is an obvious double standard when it comes to following the law. American citizens are held to one standard while the politicians are given a free pass!

    June 3, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. Tatianna

    It really angers me how these dems like Murtha, Frank, Dodd, Feinstein and a host of other dems get away with things reps would be prosecuted for. But rules are rules only when we are talking about reps. Dems rules are merely suggestions. Funny how dems will trump up charges against reps right before an election and yet they still fight any investigation for systemic corruption by one of their own like Mad Murtha.

    June 3, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  6. ron

    Theres alot more corrupt cronyism that goes on with Murtha and his pals than this article even begins to touch. Sadly he has been pulling it off now for many years. Imagine what the the total would be in kickbacks and whatnot multiplied by 30 years or so of his time in office. He is a crook of the worse order.

    June 3, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  7. Neilz

    They're ALL corrupt. I mean, hasn't that been made crystal clear to everyone by now. And if we apply the current Orwellian newsspeak to the issue, it's not even a kickback. It's a "stimulus package." A "bailout." "Change we can believe in" means "Change we can take to the bank."

    June 3, 2009 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  8. RR

    corruption, corruption everywhere and not just one party to blame!

    Throw the bums out!

    vote independent or third party in 2010!

    June 4, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  9. Randall in Torrance - Desert Storm Veteran - Welcome to the end of the era of dumb ass Republicans and Stoopid Retards like Cheney and Newt in power

    So what? Who cares? Dubya and the Repub Gangstas lost track of our entire National Treasure! And the GOP is trying to deflect attention from that fact. Anyone who supported Bush-enomics should be required to relinquish control of their bank account to strung out drug addicts.

    June 4, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
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