April 12, 2009

MORE ON THE MURTHA/PMA EARMARK SCANDAL:

U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Allyson Schwartz were among the first lawmakers in the country to say they would donate to charity $60,000 in campaign contributions related to the now defunct lobbying firm The PMA Group.

There are no plans however, to return $6.6 million in earmarks the two Democrats secured over two years for the companies who hired PMA, or whose corporate parents did. Murphy also requested $5 million for one of the companies in next year’s round of earmarks, which are government grants intended to benefit lawmakers’ home districts.

No lawmakers have been accused of wrongdoing. Yet federal agents raided PMA’s offices as part of an investigation into whether founder Paul Magliocchetti, who has close ties to Johnstown Democratic Rep. John Murtha, arranged illegal straw donations, the Associated Press reported.

Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake has repeatedly called for an ethics investigation into the relationship between earmarks requests and campaign contributions, to no avail.

Too much attention to this stuff might threaten the whole feedlot.