Senate Defeats Bid to Remove PMA Earmarks From Omnibus

Posted March 4, 2009 at 5:34pm

The Senate Wednesday defeated an amendment stripping from the omnibus spending bill a series of earmarks associated with a lobbying firm now under federal investigation, despite warnings from reformers that lawmakers would be forced to answer for their vote in the coming election cycle.

By a vote of 43 to 52, the Senate defeated the amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). The amendment would have eliminated 13 earmarks connected to the PMA Group, a lobbying firm that was raided by the FBI in November as part of an investigation into potentially improper campaign contributions.

Persons listed on Federal Election Commission records as PMA employees have made more than $2.7 million worth of political donations in the past decade, according to FEC records.

Prior to the vote, Coburn warned that “anyone who votes against my amendment on PMA — they’re going to have a lot of splaining to do.—

The Senate also defeated a second Coburn amendment that would have eliminated 11 earmarks that the Oklahoma Senator deemed wasteful.