April 26, 2009

ROLL CALL: Watchdog Groups Want Ethics Panel Probe of PMA Ties. “Democracy 21 and other good-government groups are expected to ask the House ethics committee next week for an investigation into lawmakers with close ties to defunct lobbying firm PMA Group, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said . . . . Democratic leaders have remained in a defensive crouch in the wake of reports that federal investigators are probing the earmark empire of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the defense-spending chief in the House and a close confidant of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). But that position is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Since news broke in February that federal agents raided the offices of the PMA Group and the home of its founder, former House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense aide Paul Magliocchetti, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has kept the issue front and center by calling votes on whether to force an ethics probe. His first attempt gathered 17 votes from the majority party, but Democratic defections on subsequent votes have mounted, reaching 27 on his seventh and latest attempt before the spring recess.”

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