The PMA lobbyists representing Health Net were the co-sponsors of the two fundraisers last year. Reached by phone Wednesday, one of the lobbyists, Lynn Henselman, said she contributed to and helped raise money for McHugh because she believed in his efforts on behalf of the military, after having worked with him as an aide on the Armed Services Committee. Efforts to reach the other lobbyist, Brian Thiel, were unsuccessful. Neither Henselman nor Thiel have been mentioned in connection to the federal investigation of their ex-employer, the PMA Group.
A Health Net spokeswoman said the company hired PMA for "its help and expertise in military health care policy." She explained the firm had contributed to McHugh because he was a "good advocate" who is "well-grounded in military health care and active in the support of Ft. Drum."
McHugh's spokeswoman said the congressman was never approached by Health Net or PMA to insert any earmark, "And they wouldn't have gotten one, even if they did."