A rising controversy in Washington over a lobbying firm which specializes in securing earmarks for its clients is ensnaring every member of the Minnesota congressional delegation, including two representatives who have declared they are against inserting earmarks in legislation.
Rep. John Kline has accepted $129,174 from PMA group, second only in the state to Rep. Jim Oberstar ($153,600) in a list of campaign contributions to members of Congress released last week by the government watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. The figures are accumulated as far back as the 1998 election cycle in the U.S.
The PMA Group was founded by an aide to powerful Democrat John Murtha. Its offices were raided by the FBI last month. The feds are reportedly investigating allegations that the firm funneled money to Congress by attributing contributions to individuals who were unaware that they were listed as making the contributions.
Last week, the political site Politico, reported Murtha used the operations of a Penn State University center as a “front for PMA and other lobbyists and contractors with ties to the Pennsylvania Democrat.”
Minnesota received almost $200 million in earmarks in the latest spending bill, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense (see spreadsheet), although we can’t find any corporations with significant Minnesota ties in the list of PMA Group clients. An Arizona congressman, one of the chief critics of earmarks, said he found 12 projects in the spending bill related to the earmark group, but none is attributed to Minnesota.
The list of members of the Minnesota congressional delegation and the amount of PMA-connected campaign contributions, according to CRP.
Earlier this month, the House voted on a call for an ethics investigation into the relationship between PMA and the most powerful members of Congress. It was defeated along a mostly party-line vote. Rep. Tim Walz was the only DFLer in the Minnesota delegation to support the probe, by objecting to a motion to table it.