- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2009

LOBBYIST

Three Democrats to return donations

Three Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday they will return campaign contributions from donors tied to a Washington lobbying firm under investigation for supposedly funneling campaign contributions through sham donors.

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Reps. Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana and Zoe Lofgren of California said they would return campaign cash linked to the PMA Group.

Federal prosecutors are investigating PMA Group’s founder and president, Paul Magliochetti, who is a former top aide to Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds defense programs.

Mr. Magliochetti is being investigated amid reports he funneled money through donors who are listed in campaign documents as PMA group employees but are not tied to the company. His lobbying firm is in the process of disbanding and plans to close its doors at the end of next month.

SENATE

Blunt to enter 2010 Missouri race

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | Sources close to Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, say he is running for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

People familiar with Mr. Blunt’s intentions say the former House whip will announce his candidacy Thursday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging Mr. Blunt’s announcement.

Mr. Blunt would be seeking the seat being vacated by Sen. Christopher S. Bond, a fellow Republican who announced in January that he would not seek a fifth term. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, is the only other candidate in the race so far.

Mr. Blunt has represented southwestern Missouri in the U.S. House since 1997. His son Matt Blunt just ended a four-year term as the state’s governor, after opting not to run for re-election.

TERRORISM

Group urges probe of detainee policy

The former general who investigated abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison is joining a former FBI director and others in seeking a presidential commission to investigate the Bush administration’s treatment of terrorism detainees.

They want President Obama to create a nonpartisan, independent panel that would review policies such as harsh interrogations and “extraordinary renditions,” the forced movement of suspected terrorists.

The group includes retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, former FBI Director William Sessions and former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering. It was Mr. Taguba’s internal report on abuse of prisoners by Army military guards at Abu Ghraib that led to various investigations.

Others involved in the commission effort are Juan E. Mendez, former special adviser to the U.N. secretary-general on the prevention of genocide, and the Rev. John H. Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ.

Also supporting the idea are 18 human rights groups, from Amnesty International to the National Institute of Military Justice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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