Earmark Lobbyist Pleads Guilty; Lobby Shop’s Earmarks Detailed

Earmark Lobbyist Pleads Guilty; Lobby Shop’s Earmarks Detailed

Budget & Tax, National Security,  | Analysis
Sep 24, 2010  | 5 min read | Print Article

September 24, 2010 (Update)

Former high-powered PMA lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti has pleaded guilty to an illegal contribution scheme in federal court today. 

Read the Department of Justice Press Release

September 16, 2010 (Update)

AP is reporting that Paul Magliocchetti, the once high flying head of the earmark lobbying powerhouse PMA Group, is shifting his plea regarding illegal contributions to guilty. This follows his son’s earlier guilty plea. It is unclear, but likely this is end of the case, rather than a new track leading to others, but we will wait and see. It will be interesting what he states in his statement of fact.

In Mark Magliocchetti’s (the son) statement of fact, he essentially explained pay to play here in Washington: “Making campaign contributions helped [the PMA Group] gain access to candidates for federal office, which in turn helped [PMA Group] maintain and accrue lobbying work and clients.”

Some lawmakers want us to believe these contributions don’t get lobbyists or their clients diddly. If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to nowhere to sell you.

August 5, 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact: Steve Ellis 202-546-8500 x126

Statement by Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense on Indictment of Paul Magliocchetti

Paul Magliocchetti, the formerly high-flying head of the defunct earmark-lobby shop PMA Group, was indicted today for making illegal campaign contributions and lying about it.

Washington, DC – Magliocchetti is the poster child for the pay to play system of earmarks in Congress, where campaign contributions helped increase the profile and influence of his firm in order to secure earmarks for his clients. According to the indictment, campaign contributions “were a key part of Magliocchetti's plan to increase PMA’s profile and its profitability.”

The systematic approach to evading campaign finance limits was breathtaking both in its scope and its brazenness. Straw donors were used, staff were overpaid, and spouses reimbursed, all in an effort to use campaign cash to build stature and access for PMA Group. While the indictment holds that the campaigns did not know the cash was illegal, it is also clear that Magliocchetti’s successful business model was to secure earmarks by giving cash. PMA was a cog in the earmark machine where thousands in campaign contributions turn into millions in taxpayer dollars.

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PMA was heavily tied to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and its late Chairman John Murtha (D-PA). We'll have to see where this ends, but one thing is clear: this is even more evidence that the current system for earmarking funds for pet projects is fundamentally flawed.

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A PDF of the indictment can be read here .

A PDF of the statement of facts can be read here .
 


** First posted June 26, 2009

TCS has posted databases of defense earmarks received by clients of PMA Group in Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009. PMA Group is a now-defunct lobbying firm that specialized in obtaining defense earmarks for its clients. The group's ties to lawmakers are under investigation by both federal law enforcement and the House Ethics Committee .

A quick run through the databases brings up a number of interesting facts. From 2008 to 2009 the number of earmarks obtained by PMA decreased, from 154 to 139. Yet the total value of these earmarks increased by more than $17 million. The top dogs were pretty similar from year to year, but the haul for the top earmarks was less in FY09 than in FY08.

Top Earmarkers from 2008 to 2009
  FY08 FY09
Murtha 16 for $38.1 million 6 for $16.2 million
Visclosky 16 for $23.8 million 5 for $10.6 million
Young (FL) 9 for $20.4 million 5 for $14 million
Gallegly** 0 for $0 4 for $15.7 million

 **No earmarks obtained for PMA clients in FY08.  All FY09 earmarks requested in conjunction with another member.

Access the database for FY08 here and FY09 here.

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