Washington Babylon — February 9, 2009, 11:15 pm

Feds Raid Another Firm Linked to Congressman Murtha

I’ve been writing for years about the indecently close ties between House Democrat John Murtha and the defense lobbying firm PMA, so was not surprised to learn, via ABC News, that the “FBI searched the Virginia headquarters of the PMA Group in November, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. PMA was founded by former Murtha aide Paul Magliochetti and specializes in winning earmarked taxpayer funds for its clients.”

See particularly this 2006 story that lays out the cozy relations between Murtha and PMA. Here’s an excerpt:

PMA was founded in 1989 by Paul Magliocchetti, who—as described in a past pitch to a potential client that I was able to obtain—is a former GAO auditor and department manager, and ex-staffer on the House defense appropriations subcommittee, where he had “responsibility for $30 billion in Navy procurement accounts.” PMA has dozens of lobbyists, virtually all of whom came from the Hill or the Pentagon. According to the pitch, all of its personnel “maintain strong contacts” with “Congressional defense oversight committees” and “all Appropriations subcommittees.” PMA, according to the pitch, “becomes part of your organization and complements your existing resources.” The firm maintains “active liaison with key members of Congress and their staff to safeguard client interests,” and helps “design and tailor procurement strategies that maximize successful pursuit of government contract opportunities.”

PMA has close links to a number of key members of the defense appropriations subcommittee. Its lobbyists include Rich Kaelin, the former chief of staff to Pete Visclosky, and Melissa Koloszar, former chief of staff to Jim Moran.

But PMA’s best friend in congress is Murtha. Numerous firm clients have received lavish earmarks from the congressman’s subcommittee, and PMA is widely known in insider circles as the unofficial gatekeeper to Murtha’s 12th district. Six PMA lobbyists work for DRS, including Julie Giardina, a former Murtha staffer, and Daniel Cunningham, who formerly worked for the Army and who is extremely close to the congressman (the two men are golfing buddies and a Hill source told me that Murtha even uses Cunningham as his unofficial driver). A third key lobbyist on the DRS account is Greg Hansen, who according to the pitch, is a retired Navy captain who has contacts “at senior levels” at various Navy agencies.

It’s hard to say at this point exactly what’s up, but clearly the congressman and his lobbying friends have a lot to explain.

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