Flake Files New Resolution Calling for PMA Ethics Investigation

Posted March 3, 2009 at 4:45pm

Updated: 6:58 p.m.

A week after the House shot down Rep. Jeff Flake’s resolution calling for an ethics committee investigation of the connection between earmarks and campaign contributions, the Arizona Republican was back on the floor Tuesday afternoon offering a narrower resolution that would focus only on earmarks for the clients of the PMA Group lobbying firm.

In a new privileged resolution, Flake noted press reports that the PMA Group has been raided by the FBI on suspicion of making improper campaign contributions. Flake’s new resolution would direct the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to “begin an investigation into the relationship between earmark requests on behalf of clients of the raided firm already made by Members and the source and timing of past campaign contributions related to such requests.—

Flake spokesman Matthew Specht said that Flake narrowed his resolution because Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) “had expressed to Congressman Flake that last week’s resolution was too broad.” Hoyer’s office confirmed that conversation, but said the leader has not yet seen Flake’s new resolution and therefore does not yet have a position on it.

Roll Call has previously reported that on several occasions, employees of the PMA Group and its clients have provided thousands of dollars worth of campaign donations to key Members in close proximity to legislative activity, such as the deadline for earmark request letters or the passage of a spending bill.

The House will have two days to decide how to proceed on Flake’s resolution.

Shortly after Flake spoke, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered an amendment on the Senate floor to strip from the 2009 omnibus appropriations bill all earmarks that benefit PMA clients.