Report: Ethics Committee Investigating 7 Members’ Ties to PMA

Posted October 29, 2009 at 9:42pm

More than 30 House lawmakers are under investigation by one or both of the chamber’s ethics offices — including seven Members tied to the now-defunct lobbyist firm PMA — according to a confidential ethics committee document obtained by The Washington Post.The Post reported Thursday night it had received a confidential committee report composed in July detailing ongoing investigations by both the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and the Office of Congressional Ethics. The report was inadvertently leaked by a junior committee aide, using file-sharing software. The aide was fired Thursday, the Post reported.Included in the list are members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, including subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.) and Reps. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.).Visclosky announced in May that his offices and aides had been subpoenaed by federal investigators examining the Indiana lawmaker’s relationship with PMA. FBI agents raided PMA’s office in November 2008, reportedly as part of an investigation into improper campaign contributions.The House ethics committee announced its investigation of “certain, specific allegations— related to PMA in mid-June, although it had not named any lawmakers in connection to the probe or even which House rules infractions it is examining. The OCE is also investigating lawmakers’ ties to PMA, although it is not known which Members.The Post also indicated the ethics committee may still be examining Rep. Alan Mollohan’s (D-W.Va.) personal finances, noting the Justice Department requested the panel to suspend its probe of the Democrat, a common tactic when federal investigators are looking at a lawmaker.In addition, according to the Post report, the committee approved subpoenas June 9 to the Justice Department, National Security Agency and FBI for “certain intercepted communications— related to Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). Reports surfaced earlier this year that Harman was caught on a government wiretap in 2005 telling a suspected Israeli agent she would seek leniency for two accused spies in return for help lobbying then-Minority Leader and now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the top slot on the House Intelligence panel. The Justice Department declared Harman “neither a subject nor a target— of a criminal investigation in a letter to her attorney in June.The House ethics committee on Thursday declared Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) innocent of violating the chamber’s rules earlier this year when he invited a friend — his wife’s business partner — to testify before the Small Business Committee. The committee also announced new investigative subcommittees to examine separate allegations involving Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Laura Richardson (D-Calif.).