February 19, 2009— -- One of Washington's biggest lobbying firms is reportedly shutting its doors, just weeks after ABC News reported that the FBI raided its offices late last year.
The PMA Group, which has represented hundreds of large and small defense contactors seeking federal money, will cease operations March 31, according to a report in the Washington, D.C. newspaper Roll Call. The firm has already lost several of its lobbyists, who announced last week they were leaving to form a new firm.
PMA's senior lobbyists were close with high-ranking Democratic appropriators, including Reps. John Murtha (D-PA), Mike Visclosky (D-IN) and James Moran (D-VA). Investigators are reportedly probing the company's activities for signs of illegal campaign donations.
PMA specialized in winning hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money for its clients by persuading lawmakers to "earmark" funds for their products or services into spending bills. They were phenomenally successful: in the most recent defense spending bill Congress passed, over 100 lawmakers sponsored earmarks for PMA clients worth roughly $300 million in total, according to a new study by Congressional Quarterly and Taxpayers for Common Sense.
The firm was generous with those who helped it: 91 of the lawmakers who pushed for taxpayer funds to go to PMA clients got campaign checks from PMA employees or the firm since 2001, according to the study.
Since PMA's woes have become public, some members have attempted to shed funds linked to PMA by returning it to the donor or donating the money to charity.
PMA and Murtha
PMA was founded by longtime Murtha appropriations aide Paul Magliocchetti. Magliocchetti is reportedly now in Florida, where state records obtained by The Hill newspaper show he is a partner in a restaurant business with two men.
Those same men are listed as PMA employees in federal campaign finance records, which indicate thousands of dollars have been given in their name to lawmakers. Both live in Florida, and neither are registered lobbyists. A spokesman for Magliocchetti has said the men were on PMA's board of directors.