- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2010


The founder and president of an Arlington lobbying firm whose home and office were raided by the FBI in 2008 has been indicted on charges that he made hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions.
Federal prosecutors say Paul Magliocchetti of the once-powerful PMA Group Inc. illegally reimbursed those who made donations to his favored candidates. His firm specialized in getting his clients earmarks or funds specifically set aside for their pet projects from members of the House appropriations defense subcommittee.

“As the founder and president of the company that bore his name, Magliocchetti sought to enrich both PMA and himself by increasing the firm’s influence, power and prestige — both among the firm’s base of current and potential clients, as well as among the elected public officials to whom PMA and its lobbyists sought access,” prosecutors said in an 18-page indictment unsealed Thursday.

Mr. Magliocchetti is a one-time congressional staffer who worked with Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, on the powerful House Appropriations defense subcommittee in the 1980s. He built the PMA Group into one of the 10 top-grossing lobbying firms in Washington before it imploded after federal agents raided it and his home in November 2008.

The firm made more than $16.4 million in lobbying income in 2007, according to Senate records, and was the go-to lobbyist for contractors who wanted earmarks — especially from the defense appropriations subcommittee, which Mr. Murtha headed.

The indictment says that in order to evade the legal limits on individual contributions and the outright ban on corporate contributions, Mr. Magliocchetti caused straw donors to make contributions to scores of federal campaign committees, which in fact were actually paid for by Mr. Magliocchetti or PMA, rather than the named donor.

Prosecutors said that at the same time, Mr. Magliocchetti ensured that he and PMA received credit for the contributions from the campaigns and candidates by, among other things, using family members, PMA employees and others associated with Mr. Magliocchetti as the conduits, and by hosting fund-raising events in which he or his associates delivered the contributions.

According to the indictment, from 2003 through 2008, Mr. Magliocchetti used personal and corporate money to advance funds to or reimburse these individuals for the contributions they made on his behalf.

The 11-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria charged Mr. Magliocchetti with four counts of making illegal campaign contributions in the name of another, four counts of making illegal campaign contributions from a corporation, and three counts of causing federal campaigns to unwittingly make false statements.

Prosecutors on Thursday also announced that Mark Magliocchetti, Mr. Magliocchetti’s son, pleaded guilty in federal court to making illegal corporate campaign contributions. According to court documents, Mark Magliocchetti admitted to receiving payments from an individual and a company with the understanding that the money he received was to be used for federal campaign contributions.

Court documents say the amount of contributions made by Mark Magliocchetti and his wife, and funded by the individual and the company, was somewhere between $120,000-$200,000. His sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 16.


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