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Ethics Committee Ends Investigation Into PMA Earmarks

Visclosky’s office did not immediately return a call requesting comment.The report apparently puts to rest all ethics committee investigations into the PMA matter. The Justice Department subpoenaed Visclosky’s office last year seeking information related to PMA, and that probe appears to be ongoing. In addition, one of PMA’s clients, Richard Schaller of Schaller Engineering Inc., was convicted last year of participating in a scheme to skim money from an earmark that Murtha sponsored. The ethics committee did uncover “troubling aspects to PMA’s conduct.” The report concludes that the lobby firm “employed ‘strong-arm’ tactics,” threatening retaliation against Members who did not support their earmarks, and “pushed or directed company executives to maximize personal or Political Action Committee campaign contributions and to attend specific fundraisers while pursuing earmarks.” But the committee concluded that Members were unaware for the pressure PMA was putting on clients and were unresponsive to threats from the lobbyists.

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