House Tables Proposed Probe of PMA Group

Posted March 5, 2009 at 5:58pm

House lawmakers on Thursday tabled a resolution calling for an ethics probe into PMA Group, the defense lobbying firm under criminal investigation for spending millions of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for earmarks.

The House tabled the resolution, offered by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), by a vote of 222 to 181. Twenty-one Democrats opposed tabling the measure; four Republicans voted to table it. Five Democrats and nine Republicans voted “present.—

The Justice Department is already conducting a criminal investigation into the firm, but Flake argued that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has a responsibility to investigate, as well.

Flake picked up four more Democrats than he did on an earlier resolution he offered to force an ethics committee investigation of the connection between earmarks and campaign contributions.

Among those joining him this time: Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), a top recipient of PMA funds and a leading sponsor of earmarks for their clients.

“I have been urging the House leadership to open an inquiry into PMA,— Visclosky said Thursday according to the Chesterton Tribune, an Indiana newspaper. He added he was “encouraged that things are moving into that particular direction.—