Posts Tagged ‘Paul Magliocchetti’

How not to land yourself in jail

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 by Vbhotla

You have probably heard by now that Paul Magliocchetti, the founder of the now-defunct PMA Group, was sentenced to 27 months behind bars for his role in organizing a campaign finance scheme.  In addition to the prison sentence, which will be served at a North Carolina federal prison hospital, the former House Appropriations Committee staffer was fined $75,000.

The sitting judge, the Honorable T.S. Ellis, issued the sentence as a warning to other lobbyists, and simultaneously expressed his displeasure with prosecutors who seek only fines in similar cases.  He did not grant the 57 month prison term and $629,000 fine the prosecutors sought initially, and told Magliocchetti that his good works were not obliterated, he was not responsible for a PMA Group-favorite donor’s suicide in light of the investigations, and said he should make amends with his son, who plead guilty to charges related to the case.

So what can be drawn from the Magliocchetti case?  First, people are seeking to make examples of lobbyists, so tread lightly.  Make sure you are in compliance with HLOGA and all of its developments, and be sure to carefully review your LD-203 filings for errors, remembering that your signature is “under penalty of perjury.”

Make sure that you disclose any campaign donations, be they to PACs, independent expenditure groups, political parties, or candidates and their election committees, on the form.

Bundle with care.  You will need to be aware of the limits and follow them closely.  Citizens United opened the door for unlimited giving, but did not take away the reporting requirements.

A good rule of thumb: if you can’t report it, don’t give it.  Recent cases have shown that prosecutors are looking and will find any missteps.  Repercussions may not be immediate, but they are coming.  US News & World Report found that only 20% of companies properly disclose their political donations, and only 14% actually have indirect disclosure policies.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the LD-203’s reporting requirements, it is not too late to join today’s LD-203 bootcamp, which will be held at 2p.

Top Headlines of 2010

Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by Vbhotla

Last year saw Executive Orders and court rulings and legislative movements and the passing of some of the profession’s most dearly-loved members.  Here is a look back at the top headlines of 2010:

  1. Trials, convictions and releases – Kevin Ring was convicted on five counts of corruption November 15 and awaits sentencing, after a 2009 trial resulted in a hung jury.  Paul Magliocchetti pleaded guilty in September to making illegal campaign contributions.  The justice department is seeking a 57 month imprisonment for what prosecutors are calling “one of the largest criminal schemes in U.S. history to violate federal campaign finance laws.”  Jack Abramoff, initially sentenced to six years for  fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials, was released from federal prison in June, and his term at a work-release-like program at a Baltimore pizzeria ended in early December.
  2. Court rulings – In January, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission corporate funding of independent campaign ads could not be limited under the First Amendment.  Many consider the March Speechnow ruling to be a follow-up to Citizens United; the spring case allowed for unlimited giving to “independent expenditures committees.”  Both cases, however, upheld disclosure requirements while lifting spending restrictions.
  3. Legislative Bullying – Congress sought to “fix” the Citizens United ruling with the DISCLOSE Act, which would require organizations that back federal election campaigns to disclose the names of large donors, as well as list said donors in any campaign ads the organizations run, and ban foreign governments, government contractors, and TARP recipients from donating to campaigns.  The act passed in the House in June, but failed in the lame duck session in the Senate.  In addition, a proposed ban on earmarks failed in the Senate November 30.
  4. Executive Orders – In June, President Obama issued an order banning lobbyists from advisory boards of federal departments and agencies.  It also banned all gifts from lobbyists to executive branch appointees, appointees-turned-lobbyists from lobbying the branch for the duration of his administration, and tightened revolving door policies.
  5. Deaths – Patti Jo Baber, executive director of the American League of Lobbyists, passed in December.  She was described as the “backbone” of the organization and a prominent member of the lobbying community.

“Superlobbyist” may face imprisonment

Monday, December 20th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Paul Magliocchetti, is seeking home confinement, a $10,000 fine, and probation for his role in what prosecutors are calling “one of the largest criminal schemes in U.S. history to violate federal campaign finance laws,” according to a sentencing memo filed by the Justice Department.

Magliocchetti, who pleaded guilty in September to channeling $380,000 to members of the House in an attempt to secure defense contracts for clients, believes that the sought sentence is more in line with similar crimes than the penalty suggested by the district attorney’s office.  Prosecutors in the case have requested 57 months of imprisonment, saying his greed significantly impugned the image and integrity of the American political process.

Magliocchetti Enters Guilty Plea

Friday, October 1st, 2010 by Vbhotla

The Justice Department announced last Friday that ex-lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti had pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions and making false statements in a federal district court in Alexandria, VA.

Magliocchetti, the founder of defense appropriations lobbying shop the PMA Group, had previously entered a not-guilty plea. Prosecutors said Magliocchetti had admitted to funneling funds through family members and his firm’s lobbyists to Members of Congress with whom he was doing business. Magliocchetti admitted to knowledge of the campaign finance limits – both personal, and corporate. There was no mention of the lawmakers to whom Mr. Magliocchetti had been funneling donations.

Mark Magliocchetti, son of Paul, had previously pleaded guilty to an separate charge of making illegal campaign contributions. Mark Magliocchetti had worked at PMA Group.

Paul Magliocchetti is scheduled to be sentenced in December. The three charges to which he has pleaded guilty carry up to a five year sentence. Magliocchetti had previously been indicted on 11 charges; the eight charges to which he did not plead guilty will be dropped as part of his plea bargain.

Read more about the case at the Blog of Legal Times, the New York Times, Politico, and from the Justice Department.

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, September 17th, 2010 by Vbhotla

After last week’s surprise upset in Alaska (Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski in the GOP Senate primary), Roll CallWeekly newsreports that lobbyists were quick to shift their financial and fundraising support from Murkowski to Miller. Article here.

The New York Times report on John Boehner’s lobbyist ties is examined a little more fully in our post, here. Boehner also responded via the Washington Examiner.

Pepsi and Coke both have new lobbyists in DC… maybe this will spark the huge Pepsi v. Coke epic battle we’ve all been waiting for. (Although I won’t lie, as a Michigander, I prefer Faygo).

John Doolittle, who earlier this year complained that the (cleared) ethics investigations against him were making supporting work difficult, has found a job lobbying for Colfax City, California.

Lots of ethical dilemmas and strong words being traded back and forth regarding House ethics.. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), one of the Ethics Committee members,  faces his own ethics and disclosure issues. Various public interest groups try to get Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner to publicly agree to support the OCE in the next Congress.

Ross Garber comments on Public Corruption charges post Skilling (discussion of Kevin Ring case included). See our posts about Kevin Ring and Skilling.

Following up on our report earlier this week that lobby shops are looking to up their GOP quotient ahead of the midterms, Roll Call reports on the Democratic job prospects on K St.

We anxiously await word on the fate of DISCLOSE.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) was recorded leaving a voicemail on an unnamed lobbyist’s phone, asking for campaign contributions, and doing it in a manner that implied a reminder of Holmes Norton’s power status in the lobbyist’s “sector.” More on this story in our Monday post on lobbyist campaign contributions.

From the Canadian Society of Association Executives, a post on “Enhancing Grassroots Advocacy Through Social Media.” Worth a read.

The LA Times has an article on Kevin Spacey’s role as  Jack Abramoff in the upcoming “Casino Jack.”

Reports abound that Paul Magliocchetti is changing his “not guilty” plea in his 11-count indictment.

Three Obama administration employees never deregistered as lobbyists before taking their new jobs, according to OpenSecrets blog.

Quote(s) of the week:

“There may be a new gang in town after November,” said Hellmann, a former aide to then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). “The climate will be better for the business community on taxes.” (Roll Call, 9/13/2010)

“A lot of people want to have coffee now.” – Gordon Taylor, Ogilvy Government Relations, about staffers seeking advice on how to navigate the job market (Roll Call, 9/14/2010)

“Once he’s done with his house arrest, he may decide to speak out about the lobbying industry… He’d be credible if he takes responsibility for what he did, which he has, and exposes the hypocrisy he was a part of.” Kevin Spacey on Jack Abramoff (LA Times, 9/14/2010)

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, August 20th, 2010 by Vbhotla

We’ve talked about it before… but thank heavens the DOJ cleared DeLay from his corruption charges, or the DC newspapers would have nothing to report on during recess.

Interesting Fox News report on the House Ethics Committee, what indictments and trials and hearings and investigations mean for the body. Here at The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Ethics Process in the House. (h/t Eric Brown).

More on what happened with Target Corp. in Minnesota in this New York Times article, Voter (and customer) beware.

The Office of Government Ethics warns the executive branch about granting ex-post-facto waivers: “Ethics office warns about waivers.” (From the Washington Times).

Paul Magliocchetti entered a not-guilty plea at the federal court house in Alexandria, VA on Friday. He has been charged with, among other things, making illegal campaign contributions. Read a longer story here at the Blog of Legal Times.

Quote of the Week:

“There is no nefarious handshake meeting that is being kept secret… Some participants prefer not to take a high profile… Some like to stay under the radar. But the point here is to get the right answer, and full disclosure and debate is the best way to achieve that.” – Scott E. Talbott, a lawyer and lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, on financial services lobbying, NYT, August 13

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, August 13th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Weekly newsAs Norm Eisen departs for Prague, the White House announces his replacement: nobody. Well, technically, Bob Bauer will take over Eisen’s “portfolio” at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and Steven Croley will also join the ethics team. Article at the Washington Post. Also: the Sunlight Foundation doesn’t take kindly to the announcement, listing several ethics promises on which they have yet to see follow-through from the Obama Administration. CREW (which Eisen co-founded) is also not enthused.

Some lawyers think Paul Magliocchetti’s indictment may truly mark the end of the PMA pay-to-play scandal.

Federal Judge Ellen Huvelle refused to throw out charges against accused Jack Abramoff associate Kevin Ring this week. Ring’s attorneys had asked Huvelle to vacate the charges after the Supreme Court’s decisions in three recent cases diminished the power of the honest services fraud statute, one of the statutes under which Ring was charged.

Rep. Maxine Watersethics charges were revealed – and she plans to fight back. Most of the charge appears to focus on the actions of Rep. Waters’ chief of staff, Mikael Moore, in trying to secure federal funding for OneUnited Bank, an entity in which Rep. Waters’ husband held financial stake. This case, in which Waters is being reprimanded for the actions of her staff, bears some resemblance to Rep. Charlie Rangel’s getting in trouble for his staff’s knowledge about the infamous trip to the Caribbean.

Speaking of Charlie Rangel, if you haven’t seen the rambling 30-minute House floor speech that he gave earlier this week, it’s time for a little Friday afternoon work-break.

Are you a corporation planning to use the Citizens United case to spend massive amounts of money in federal elections? Let what happened to Target Corp. in Minnesota be a lesson to you.

GOP Reps. Mike Castle (Dela.) and Bob Platts (Pa.) have teamed up to offer more power to the Office of Congressional Ethics. A new bill by the two Congressmen, titled the Accountability and Transparency in Ethics Act, would give subpoena powers to the mostly investigative body.  Read more at Roll Call, “Castle, Platts Propose Tougher Ethics Measures.”

Interesting little tid-bit from K Street Cafe: How and why does Congress use Twitter (video).

Quote(s) of the Week:

“With Mr. Eisen headed to Europe as an ambassador, his move from the White House ‘is the biggest lobbying success we’ve had all year,'” – Tony Podesta, Washington Post, Aug. 6

“Violations of campaign finance laws are clear cut and lend themselves to easy proof beyond a reasonable doubt… It sounds like this is both the beginning and possibly the end of the PMA matter in terms of prosecution.” – Jan Baran, on the Paul Magliocchetti indictment, Roll Call, Aug. 9

Magliocchetti Indicted On 11 Counts

Monday, August 9th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Paul Magliocchetti, the former president of now-defunct PMA Group, an Arlington defense lobby shop, has been indicted on 11 counts, according to the Department of Justice.

The counts against Magliocchetti include: four counts of making illegal campaign contributions in the name of someone else; four counts of making illegal campaign contributions from a corporation; three counts of “causing federal campaigns to unwittingly make false statements.” Magliocchetti appeared in an Alexandria federal district court on Thursday, August 5.

Magliocchetti had to post a $2-million bond and surrender his passport. The former lobbyist also checked into a Baltimore-area facility to undergo treatment for “anxiety.”

Interestingly, the indictment stressed that all the lawmakers given donations were unaware of wrongdoing. This follows on the heels of a House Ethics Committee probe that cleared several legislators, including the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) of wrongdoing in the lobbying group’s pay-to-play scheme.

In a separate plea, Magliocchetti’s son, Mark, pleaded guilty to a charge of making illegal campaign contributions. Mark Magliocchetti had worked at PMA Group, and, according to the Washington Post, portrays himself as being initially unaware that it was illegal to be reimbursed for campaign contributions.

The press release from the Department of Justice is here: “Lobbyist Indicted for Orchestrating Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme.” A Politico article is here: “PMA Group Founder Indicted.”

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, August 6th, 2010 by Vbhotla

The amendment to the Lobbying Disclosure Act catches the eyes of the fine folks over at OMB Watch. “Bill Would Create a Task Force for Enforcing the LDA.”

PMA Group President Paul Magliocchetti was indicted on 11 counts in a federal court on Thursday. According to Politico’s report on the indictment, Magliocchetti “sought to enrich both PMA and himself by increasing the firm’s influence, power and prestige — both among the firm’s base of current and potential clients as well as among the elected public officials to whom PMA and its lobbyists sought access.” A good round-up of stories on the charges is at Political Activity Law. The Department of Justice’s press release is here, “Lobbyist Indicted for Orchestrating Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme.” Look for our story on the PMA Group in our free bi-weekly regulatory alert email, the Government Relations Alert, on Monday.

This spring’s Republican moratorium on earmarks leads to … wait for it … less earmarks! From The Hill,
“Self-imposed Republican moratorium leads to drop in 2011 earmark spending.”

Rep. Waters wants in on the ethics trial thing too! Well, more accurately, she at least wants her name cleared before November’s elections. Politico’s latest story is here, “Waters asks for release of allegations.”

State & Federal Communications’ Compliance Now newsletter is now available. State & Fed has also started an excellent blog, “Lobby Comply.”

Other political law and campaign finance newsletter updates:

  • Womble Carlyle’s Political GPS
  • Holtzman Vogel’s Political Law Update
  • Quote of the Week:

    “The [anti-special interest] rhetoric is BS… Every time the president talks about it, we get a client.” – unnamed “lobbyist,” Roll Call, 8/1/2010