Is the federal probe into the PMA Group — the heavy-hitting lobby shop with ties to several Demcoratic powerbrokers, that folded earlier this year after being raided by the FBI — finally coming to a boil?
Rep. Pete Visclosky of Indiana, has acknowledged in a statement that he’s been subpoenaed by a grand jury in connection with the investigaiton, reports The Politico.
The Feds want documents from Visclosky’s office. It doesn’t appear that he’s been asked to testify.
Visclosky, who sits on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, has close links to PMA. His former chief of staff, Rich Kaelin, was a PMA lobbyist. Visclosky has taken almost $200,000 from donors with ties to the firm, which has been his top donor every year since 2004. And last year he got more than $20 million in earmarks for the firm’s clients.
Another powerful lawmaker with ties to PMA, of course, is Rep. John Murtha, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who chairs that same committee. And it also emerged today that a defense contractor which got millions in earmarks from Murtha, Kuchera Defense Systems, has been blocked from doing business with the Navy. A Navy spokesman said the suspension was a result of “alleged fraud, including multiple incidents of incorrect charges, defective pricing and ethical violations.”
Earlier this year, the Feds raided Kuchera — one of Murtha’s major campaign contributors over the years — as part of the PMA corruption probe. Murtha has steered $14.7 million in earmarks to Kuchera in just the last two years.
The AP reports:
Asked about Kuchera’s troubles, Murtha said, “What’s that got to do with me? What do you think, I’m supposed to oversee these companies? That’s not my job. That’s the Defense Department’s job.”
It’s not clear where the allegations of fraud that caused the Navy to take action came from, and whether they’re related to the PMA probe.
Either way, it seems safe to say we’re going to be hearing a lot more about all this.