As a northwestern Indiana Hoosier, I’ve been feeling left out.  No Indiana politicians have been linked to scandals in the national news for a long time.  Now, I have my own personal porker, and he’s giving pork king Murtha a run for his money:  Visclosky linked to lobbying firm in probe

A lobbying firm that’s a major contributor to U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky and two other congressmen is under federal investigation.

The Virginia offices of the lobbying firm The PMA Group were raided by federal authorities in November, national news agencies revealed this week.

The PMA Group, a lobbyist for defense firms, has ties to the Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana, which opened in 2005 with $6.9 million in federal funding secured through Visclosky, D-Merrillville.

Purely a coincidence.

PMA’s principals are best known for ties to Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., but its donors have given more money to Visclosky’s campaigns than any other firm, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Visclosky will take “appropriate and responsible action, including returning contributions,” if a federal investigation uncovers proof of wrongdoing by his all-time top campaign donor, spokesman Jacob Ritvo said.

The names of Purdue Technology Center tenants NuVant Systems, ProLogic Inc. and 21st Century Systems appear on a list of PMA?Group clients. They were also referred to the center by Visclosky.

Not a problem for Visclosky yet:

Ritvo said federal investigators haven’t reached out to Visclosky about the investigation, but the congressman promises to cooperate if contacted.

“To date, the only known fact about the federal investigation of PMA Group is that its Virginia offices were searched by the FBI last November,” Ritvo said. “I am unaware of any charges or allegations in the case.”

Lots of bucks involved:

According to databases maintained by the nonpartisan watchdog groups the Center for Responsive Politics and Taxpayers for Common Sense, The PMA Group’s donors have given $196,950 to Visclosky’s campaigns throughout the course of his career, and $59,200 during the 2008 election cycle.

Meanwhile, Visclosky secured at least $20 million for its clients in 2008’s appropriations bills, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Murtha, by comparison, secured $38 million in federal earmarks for PMA’s clients in the last fiscal year, according to the Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Oh, and he was part of the Buy American provision in the stimulus bill that threatened to touch off a global trade war, too.

Three oinks for the hometown boy.


Visclosky defends role with lobbyist PMA Group

U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky said Thursday he was disappointed to learn of last fall’s FBI raid at the offices of The PMA Group, his top campaign contributor, but no one has suggested that agents will be knocking on his door next.

“I don’t deal with people who do not deal with me in an honorable and honest fashion,” Visclosky, D-Merrillville, said.

…Several PMA clients, including NuVant Systems, ProLogic Inc., Sierra Nevada and 21st Century Systems, became tenants at the Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana. They were referred to the center by Visclosky, who also landed the federal cash that built it.

Officials at the Technology Center haven’t returned calls for comment.

Although PMA’s lobbyists made requests of Visclosky’s office, he said there was never any suggestion of a quid-pro-quo arrangement where PMA made campaign contributions in return for earmarks.

“People work hard for the taxes they pay to fund this research, and it would be wrong to waste it,” Visclosky said.

Asked about the Technology Center, Visclosky said it is part of his job to lure private businesses to Northwest Indiana. Sierra Nevada, he said, has already left the incubator.

Firm tied to Murtha closes PAC

…PMA’s PAC was very recently a significant source of donations for lawmakers, especially those on the House and Senate Appropriations committees. The PMA PAC disbursed more than $378,000 last cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But PMA has essentially collapsed; most of PMA’s lobbyists have bolted the firm, with one group breaking off to form its own lobbying outfit, while others have sought employment with other lobbying organization.

…PMA’s offices were raided by the federal agents in November as part of a widening federal probe into Murtha’s relationship with lobbying firms and defense contractors. A Pennsylvania company with ties to Murtha was also raided in January.

Sources close to PMA said federal investigators are asking about thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to lawmakers as part of an effort to determine whether they were illegal “straw man” donations.

H/T Hot Air

His Buy American provision in the stimulus bill is being “watered down.”

H/T Hot Air