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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Murky Murtha Money

Murtha denies getting any tainted money as part of the $775,000 donated by lobbying firm PMA. But it seems that some of the people who PMA says contributed either did not do so or appear to have been reimbursed to get around contribution rules.

Marvin Hoffman is listed in campaign finance records as one of the many lobbyists with the powerful PMA Group donating money to lawmakers. But Hoffman is a soon-to-retire information technology manager in Marina del Rey, Calif., who has never heard of the Arlington lobbying firm or the Indiana congressman to whom he supposedly gave $2,000.

"It's alarming that someone is stealing my identity somewhere," Hoffman, 75, said in an interview. "I've never heard of this company."

Another contributor listed as a PMA lobbyist is, in fact, a sales manager for an inflatable boat manufacturer in New Jersey. John Hendricksen said he did make campaign donations but never worked at PMA and does not know how he ended up listed in records that way.


Federal investigators are focused on allegations that PMA founder Paul Magliocchetti, a former appropriations staffer close to Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), may have reimbursed some of his staff to cover contributions made in their names to Murtha and other lawmakers, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.


In the last election cycle, PMA and its clients donated $775,000 to Murtha's campaigns. Last year, those clients received earmarks worth $299 million and arranged by Murtha and his colleagues.


Two men listed in campaign finance reports as together giving $30,000 to lawmakers and being part of the PMA Group team are not Washington lobbyists at all. They live and work in the Florida resort community of Amelia Island, where PMA founder Magliocchetti has a beachfront condominium. Both are listed as directors of PMA.

John Pugliese had been a sommelier at the posh Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the island, his family said. Jon C. Walker is in charge of golf marketing at the neighboring Amelia Island Golf Club, according to club personnel and its Web site. They each donated identical amounts to the same lawmakers, in 12 installments each, almost always on the same date.


Rebecca DeRosa, who is listed as a part-time accountant at PMA and director, recently married Magliocchetti and has given generously on PMA's behalf for several years. Last year alone, she personally gave $73,000 to lawmakers and congressional political action committees, records show. For most of those donations, she is listed as a PMA employee. Her donations included $22,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $4,250 to Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.).

DeRosa did not answer her phone or returns calls to the Gaithersburg office of the DRS subsidiary, where she is listed as an employee.
Culture of corruption?

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