The PMA investigation may have some life left in it yet.
Even after a House ethics committee investigation of allegations of an earmarks-for-campaign contributions scheme by the now-defunct lobby shop PMA Group found no wrongdoing back in February, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics this morning announced it is referring evidence gathered in its probe of PMA to the Justice Department.
“The evidence pertains to a factual finding by the OCE Board that certain persons and companies saw their campaign donations as affecting decisions about earmarks,” according to an OCE statement. The evidence does not include materials collected from members, but rather materials from third parties including companies and individuals.
The move by OCE, which unlike the House ethics committee is made up of private citizens not members of Congress, comes after the ethics committee last month dismissed criticism of its PMA probe as lacking teeth.
The ethics committee in February cleared of wrongdoing seven members of Congress — all of whom had a hand in defense appropriations — including Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN) and the late John Murtha of Pennsylvania, who died Feb. 8.
It was reported this week that the FBI may still have an open investigation of Murtha.
The board of OCE, which voted unanimously to refer the PMA evidence to the DOJ, is co-chaired by former congressmen David Skaggs and Porter Goss.