Visclosky Seeks FEC OK to Pay Staffers’ Legal Fees

Posted July 17, 2009 at 9:09am

Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) is asking the Federal Election Commission to allow him to use campaign funds to pay the legal bills of current and former staff members caught up in the investigation of Visclosky’s relationship with the now-defunct lobbying firm PMA Group.

The FBI raided the PMA Group in November, reportedly as part of an investigation of improper campaign contributions. Visclosky — who provided millions of dollars worth of earmarks for PMA clients and received more than $1 million worth of campaign contributions from PMA employees and clients — announced in May that his office had been served with subpoenas by federal investigators.

In June, the FEC gave Visclosky permission to pay his legal bills with campaign money, on the grounds that the investigation stems directly from his position as an officeholder.

In a July 7 follow-up letter, Visclosky’s campaign treasurer asked permission to extend that theory to current and former Visclosky staffers who have been or may be subpoenaed in the case.

The letter notes that one former Visclosky staffer has already received a subpoena, and “it is possible that additional subpoena[s] or requests for information could be forthcoming for additional current and/or former staff members.—