Donations-for-earmarks: just as corrupt as oil-for-food

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How far the corrupt have fallen — and how shamelessly they have dragged their family members down with them. Formerly the head of PMA Group, once the ninth-largest lobbying firm in the country, Paul Magliocchetti is now at the center of a federal grand jury investigation for having quietly swapped defense earmarks for campaign donations and funneled political donations through relatives.

Magliocchetti, whose now-defunct firm was raided by the FBI last November, involved nine of his family members and several business associates in an apparent donation scam in which the latter groups, at his request, donated to various Democratic candidates in their own names in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in allocations for PMA Group clients. Magliocchetti later reimbursed the individuals, all of whom had finances dependent on or tied directly into his.

An analysis by Congressional Quarterly shows that from 2000 to 2008, Magliocchetti’s former in-laws, two children, daughter-in-law, current wife, ex-wife and sister and brother-in-law donated a total of $1.5 million to political campaigns. A nice sum for a group that included two retirees who lived in a house they didn’t own, a former Fairfax County, Va., police officer and a one-time school teacher.

Some of the individual family contribution records are just plain fishy. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, from 2000 to 2005 Magliocchetti’s now-deceased former father-in-law, Edwin Kreger of Daytona Beach, Fla., gave more than $41,000 to a largely Democratic pool of political candidates—all while listing himself as “not employed,” “retired” or, just twice, “PMA Group consultant.” Apparently those two bouts of consulting work proved exhausting, because in-between Kreger seems to have gone back into retirement. 

Magliocchetti’s former sister-in-law, one-time teacher Sandra Welch, from 1990 to 2004 gave more than $72,000 to many of the same candidates to whom her father supposedly gave, including defense appropriator Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and defense subcommittee members Rep. Peter Visclocky(D-Ind.) and Rep. James Moran (D-Va.). Coincidentally, that’s the same subcommittee that wrote a bill for fiscal 2008 steering nearly $300 million to PMA clients. 


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Anath Hartmann

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