SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
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.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”