Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Biggest Dem Scandal You've Never Heard Of

TPM is a bit late to this party but kudos to them for highlighting this spreading scandal.

Why do we allow Congress to try to run our lives when they are hopelessly corrupt and incompetent as an institution?

A federal criminal investigation has touched two House Dems, and another three, along with two Republicans, are under scrutiny by a pair of congressional ethics panels in matters related to the defunct lobbying firm, PMA Group.

The investigation appears to have two focal points, according to reports: that PMA may have funneled sham donations to members of Congress through so-called "straw donors" who would be reimbursed, and that there may have been a quid pro quo, exchanging defense earmarks for campaign donations.

PMA's lobbying activities centered on winning earmarks doled out by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, chaired by John Murtha of Pennsylvania. It was founded in the late 1980s by a former Murtha aide on the committee, Paul Magliocchetti. And it was staffed over the years by ex-aides for Murtha, Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), and Rep. James Moran (D-VA).

TPMmuckraker has kept a close eye on the case. Major newspaper editorial boards have voiced their concerns. The Times and the Post have each done solid reporting. So why, at this point, nine months after the FBI raid appeared in the news, aren't we hearing more about this? Why hasn't it stuck?

It's probably a combination of factors: the infrequent media leaks from the Feds; the complexity and diffuseness of the case; and the lack of a single high-profile figure who is the focus of investigators.