Ethics Committee Clears Lawmakers Linked to PMA Firm

The House Ethics Committee Friday cleared seven lawmakers including the late-Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) of any wrongdoing for their associations with the defunct lobbying firm PMA.

The ethics panel scrutinized Murtha along with Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Norm Dicks (D-WA), Bill Young (R-FL), Peter Visclosky (D-IN) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) for a year to determine whether they crossed the line in their ties to PMA by guiding millions of dollars in federal largesse to contractors linked to the lobbying group.

The committee says it reviewed 250,000 pages of documents in its probe and interviewed Congressional aides and company CEO’s.

All of the lawmakers named in the inquiry are members of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, the panel that determines how the government spends its money.

The committee cleared all seven members in its probe. But in a statement, the panel noted that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), a separate body from the Ethics Committee, noted that the OCE recommended the panel continue its inquiry. But Friday's statement completes this inquiry.

Congressional watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), blasted the ethics ruling.

“What a surprise that the Ethics Committee would once again clear members of Congress of wrongdoing,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan in a statement. “Apparently, in the committee’s view, no member of Congress ever earmarks as a result of a campaign contribution.”

PMA was founded by former Appropriations Committee staffer Paul Magliocchetti, who was known as one Washington’s leading defense lobbyists. The firm shut down last year after an FBI raid.

Murtha died on February 8th.