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• NuVant Systems, headquartered in Mr. Visclosky’s Indiana district, obtained a $1.6 million earmark for fiscal 2008 after the firm’s executives gave $9,600 for the March 2007 fundraiser less than a week before Mr. Visclosky submitted his earmark requests. The next year, executives gave $2,300 and obtained a $2.4 million earmark.

The firms that received earmarks either declined to comment or did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Mr. Visclosky has denied trading earmarks for campaign donations. A letter his attorneys, Reid Weingarten and Brian Heberlig, sent the House ethics committee in December said the earmarks he sponsored “funded important and consequential projects.”

Mr. Heberlig declined to comment for this story, referring The Times to the December letter.

The PMA Group is under investigation by the FBI, and in May 2009, Mr. Visclosky’s congressional office and his campaign office were subpoenaed by a federal grand jury looking into the activities and associations of the now-defunct Arlington-based lobbying firm. Documents also were subpoenaed from Mr. Visclosky’s then-chief of staff, Charles Brimmer.

Mr. Visclosky, Mr. Brimmer and Shari Davenport, the congressman’s former appropriations aide, all declined to be interviewed for the OCE report.

That report also included evidence to suggest that some big campaign donors were provided special access to the congressman.

One e-mail details how Jeffrey Hicks, CEO of 21st Century Systems, who along with his employees donated $17,050 to Mr. Visclosky in late March 2007, was given the “honorary seat” at the head table adjacent to Mr. Visclosky.

According to an e-mail sent by Bill Berl, 21st Century’s then-executive vice president, to the dozen executives who donated, the seating gave Mr. Hicks “the opportunity to talk about a variety of our ongoing and proposed projects….” Mr. Berl is a former PMA lobbyist and ex-treasurer of 21st Century’s political action committee.

Like others, 21st Century had an earmark request pending for fiscal 2008 with Mr. Visclosky at the time of the March 2007 fundraiser.

Five days after the fundraiser, Mr. Visclosky submitted earmark requests for fiscal 2008 to the appropriations committee including $2.5 million for 21st Century. The Omaha-based company, which also has an office in Mr. Visclosky’s district, ultimately got $2 million for a software program.

The next year, Mr. Hicks, Mr. Berl and other employees donated a total of $18,500 to Mr. Visclosky for a March 12, 2008, fundraiser in Washington, D.C., for what PMA officials called a “defense event.” At the time, like several other firms whose employees donated, 21st Century had an earmark request pending before Mr. Visclosky.

A week after the fundraiser, Mr. Visclosky submitted his fiscal 2009 earmark requests to the appropriations committee, including the $2.4 million for 21st Century.

The OCE cited a document prepared by 21st Century showing proposed congressional campaign contributions for 2008 as evidence that PMA clients perceived a link between campaign donations and earmarks. The document listed the congressman’s name, the amount of the donation and the specific earmark sought.

Mr. Hicks did not respond to phone calls or e-mailed questions. Mr. Berl did not return a phone message, but an e-mail he authored after the 2007 event suggests that he linked campaign contributions with access to Mr. Visclosky.

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