Published February 25, 2009
The House voted Wednesday to kill a resolution calling for an ethics investigation into potential quid pro quo between lobbyist campaign donations and lawmakers.
Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., sponsored the proposal that would have forced the House Ethics Committee to launch a probe into ties between the source and timing of campaign contributions by lobbyists and subsequent legislator requests for special projects or earmarks.
While open-ended, Flake's resolution was a direct response to the ongoing federal investigation into the PMA Group, a lobbying company accused of making fraudulent donations to lawmakers using names of people who did not exist.
The firm, which has contributed millions to politicians in the last decade, has close ties to senior Democratic appropriators including Reps. John Murtha D-Pa., and Pete Visclosky,D-Ind. The FBI raided PMA's headquarters in November and is investigating the group's founder and president, Paul Magliochetti, a former Murtha aide.
"Whereas numerous press reports and editorials have alleged several cases of influence peddling between members of Congress and outside interests seeking federal fundingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦the House of Representatives should respond to such claims and demonstrate integrity in its proceedings," the resolution read.
The House decided to set aside the proposal by a mostly party-line 226-182 vote, though 17 Democrats joined Republicans in support of considering the measure.
The vote came just after the House approved a $410 billion spending to fund the government this year, which also contained $8.8 million on projects sought by client of the PMA lobbying group.
"Our own ethics committee may say that's OK. The Department of Justice may see it another way," Flake said following the vote. "Until we bring our Ethics Committee guidelines in line with the Justice Department, our members are exposed."
Asked why he voted with the majority to table the resolution, Murtha said, "no comment. "
FOX News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.