June 3rd, 2009
08:07 PM ET
2 years 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. fools, fooled by obama

    the only people who won't admit that Murtha is corrupt is the democratic members of the house ethics committee.

    June 3, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. Rudy

    Let me be honest. Im a moderate democrat who has voted straight Republican tickets in the past so keep in mind that Im not just some right or left wing extremist out to knock the other party. I think both parties have great ideas, views, and accomplishments. This 2 party system works and the 2 parties help balance each other out.

    But who cares what Rush Limbaugh thinks or says. He has not been a Governor, Senator, Representative, or even a Mayor. In fact, Palin's credentials outshines his.

    And speaking of Palin, who ever thought about voting for someone who knows nothing about the Bush Doctrine or even knows what they read. We need to get it real and start putting our belief into real leaders and let entertainers be just that.

    June 3, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. dave in denver

    What, no outrage by the liberals that actually read this? Where are all the comments?

    June 3, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. HadEnough

    This is what is wrong with this country. This , and the fool's who vote for them again and again , then defend them and point the finger at the other guy. Pathetic. I hope the Prez fails and I hope the country fails then maybe we can start all over and get all these crook's out.
    We will continue down the same road of lies and thiefery as long as STUPID sheep americans continue to put there party ahead of the country and let these things go on and on with out demanding action. WE DESERVE TO FAIL. .....Life long Democrat... but I have had enough

    June 3, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. Ken, Arizona

    I am a registered Democrat and I think Murtha should be expelled from the prosecuted if he is involved in funneling funds to agencies represented by this group. No one should be permitted to use taxpayer funds as their personal piggy bank.

    June 3, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  6. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    It is bad that the House has to vote to make transperancy happen. It also shows that both sides of the House and Senate have corruption problems and will fight transperancy until forced to do so.

    June 3, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Mark

    How about also investigating ACORN!!!!

    June 3, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. Pragmatic

    The Democratic House pass the bill and it still isn't good enough for the Republicans ... the ethics committee didn't even meet when the GOP was in charge the last 8 years!

    June 3, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. S Callahan

    Now this is story that will be worth following......can you just see the explanations being 'formed' now......

    June 3, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. mjm

    That's how you spend $787 billion people.

    Pay to play....the Democrat way.

    Why give tax breaks to the rich when you can just send them millions directly?

    So much better this way.

    June 3, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Wow...so they can do something bipartisan...

    It's interesting to note that the Ethics Committee demurred tho...sounds soooooo Ethics Committee to do so haha

    June 3, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. annie for Palin

    Get a grip GOP you don't have enough votes to push this and there are absolutely no honest, hard working, caring democrats left to help you. The only thing ALL democrats care about is destroying the great UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. There are no ethical Americans left in the democrat party. In fact I doubt if there are any Americans period left in the democrat party. You know smurfie murphie hates our country or he wouldn't be one the democrats bleeding our country dry.

    June 3, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "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."

    And neither will you...

    June 3, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  14. Unhappy Dem

    Sounds like there are some scared dirty birdies who don't want the transparent route after all. Typical politicians.

    June 3, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Tack1962

    Democrate, Republican, doesn't matter. Washington is THE most corrupt institution in America! Term limits NOW!

    June 3, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  16. Tack1962

    Democrat, Republican, doesn't matter. Washington is THE most corrupt institution in America! Term limits NOW!

    June 3, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  17. Albo58

    Murtha has been consistently inept and criminal throughout his political career and the Democrats are now finally doing something albeit relunctantly about it? Along with being cowards, they are as culpable for not denouncing this piece of garbage years ago!

    June 3, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. No To Obama

    LIERS and MORE LIERS. Look who is running your country, LIEING OBAMANITES (demoncrates) who want to run your lives and SELL THE USA TO Obama's muslim brothers.

    June 3, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. Pamma

    Murtha, where there is smoke, there is fire. Murtha personally benefited as his district.

    June 3, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. American

    The failure of our system is allowing money to be channeled to campaigns hether democratc or republican, thus they use it against each other. After billions were spent by the rpeublicans over the last eight years and many arrested and serving jail time. They claim themselves above this. The guilt lies in the system and they should not be able to vote on their own system because the lobbyist have too much pull in affecting laws!

    June 3, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  21. jumbo

    perfect example for term limits....... master of thievery.....

    June 3, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. Grrr-awful-o

    Another story about a dishonest democrat politician? Wouldn't it just be easier to find an honest one and report on that?

    June 3, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. tess

    hey – they are democ rats ! this is what they do – commit any kind of illegal activity and then when caught blame it on republicans and deny knowing anything – they are both dishonest AND STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 3, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  24. The Broker.

    Obama's message to Muslims. Nataka Ninni. Mingi kwa Yoti.

    Kwa Rififi.... napiga Risari kwa Yoti

    June 3, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  25. Texas-ex democrat

    Democrats do not lie, cheat, or steal. Nor do they tolerate those that do. This doesn't apply in any month with a full moon. I quit 'em, but I miss the fun parts.

    June 3, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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