Updated: Roll Call is reporting today that PMA Founder Paul Magliocchetti was arrested and charged with making hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of fraudulent campaign contributions to members of Congress.
The PMA Scandal, named after the former lobbying group headed by Magliocchetti, has been brewing for over a year, with Northwest Ohio Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur has been caught in the middle of it. Not only was she one of the biggest recipients of donations by PMA clients and PMA itself, she also was recently investigated and cleared by the Office of Congressional Ethics for her connections to earmarks and donations. Having one of her biggest individual donors arrested and charged with funneling money will not look good for Ms. Kaptur’s re-election bid, especially in a year where there is a strong anti-incumbent and anti-Congress backlash.
According to Roll Call, Magliocchetti used his own funds and PMA corporate money to reimburse PMA staff, family members, and two Florida acquaintances for making donations to political committees at his direction.
Campaign finance records show these friends and employees of Paul Magliocchetti have been very generous to Ms Kaptur. During the 2008 election cycle alone, Kaptur received at a minimum $11,000 dollars from Magliocchetti’s friends and employees. Other reports put the amount received at $26,500 in total for the 2008 election cycle from PMA- affiliated donors and even $40,500 over her whole career. Depending on when this started and who was directly involved, including donors not primarily affiliated with the PMA Group which Magliocchetti used, the amount could be close to $50,000.
A year ago the 9th District Congresswoman told the National Journal that her campaign will wait to see how the story unfolds before she decides what to do about the money. If Ms. Kaptur decides to return the money, she may be writing a check in excess of $26,000 up to or over $50,000.
The New York Times also reports that the indictment could help build cases against members of Congress, which given Ms. Kaptur’s involvement, could put her smack dab in the middle of everything.
Recently, Ms. Kaptur was the subject of an investigative report by the New York Times for skirting new earmark rules and was even named "July Porker of the Month" for this activity by the Citizens Against Government Waste.
Ms. Kaptur, the longest-serving female in the House of Representatives, has been very defensive of her donations. Maybe she should take her own advice that she told Deadline Now about people eager to make donations. Marcy said those who want to give money "...get access, they get first call and I was elected to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that is a duty that weighs heavily on me, and I think we need to free the Congress from these monied interests." Maybe if she followed her own advice, she would not be in the situation she is in now. We will continue to update you on this story as it develops. What do you think?
Update: 7:30 PM - Statement from Iott campaign:
"I am disappointed, but not surprised, to see that an indictment has been handed down stemming from PMA and the pay-to-play earmark scandal in which Marcy Kaptur has been embroiled for quite some time now. I have called on Representative Kaptur to do three simple things to deal with her involvement in this scandal, but she has chosen to do nothing but run away from questions that are central to the scandal.
"I have called for her to come clean and disclose her total involvement in helping companies to get earmarks and to sidestep House ethics rules designed to clean up the corrupt earmark process; I have called on her to return every penny of campaign contributions she has received from any company for whom she has helped win earmarks, and I have called on her to take pro-active steps in Washington to rescind those tainted earmarks once and for all.
“It is time for Representative Kaptur, and all of the others in Congress who think they are free to use the federal treasury as their own piggy bank to fatten their own campaign war chests, to wake up and act like they understand that they were elected to serve."
- Rich Iott, Republican nominee, U.S. Congress, Ohio's 9th Congressional District.
Update 2: 8:30 p.m. - copy of the indictment