Posts Tagged ‘pma group’
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.
Tags: Campaign Finance, Disclosure, Ethics Tip, LD-203, lobbyist fined, lobbyist jail, Paul Magliocchetti, pma group
Posted in Ethics Tip | Comments Off on How not to land yourself in jail
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.
Tags: campaign finance limits, DOJ prosecution, Paul Magliocchetti, pma group
Posted in Lobbying News | Comments Off on Magliocchetti Enters Guilty Plea
Friday, August 13th, 2010 by Vbhotla
As 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 Waters‘ ethics 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
Tags: Bob Bauer, Citizens United, Jan Baran, K St. Cafe, Kevin Ring, Norm Eisen, Paul Magliocchetti, pma group, Rep. Bob Platts, Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Mike Castle, Target Corp., Tony Podesta
Posted in Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up | Comments Off on Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up
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.”
Tags: lobbying enforcement, Paul Magliocchetti, pma group
Posted in Government Relations Alert | Comments Off on Magliocchetti Indicted On 11 Counts
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
Tags: Earmarks, Holtzman Vogel, LDA amendments, OMB Watch, Paul Magliocchetti, pma group, Rep. Maxine Waters, State and Federal Communications, Womble Carlyle
Posted in Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up | Comments Off on Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up
Monday, June 7th, 2010 by Vbhotla
The Office of Congressional Ethics turned over its files relating to an ongoing investigation of the PMA Group, a now-closed earmarks lobbying firm. The OCE’s investigation generated more than 250,000 pages of documents. The Hill reports that the OCE’s turnover of data may indicate that its findings uncovered illegal activity in the course of its investigation.
The firm was under a cloud after allegations of earmark fraud and pay-for-play activity among the clients of PMA and certain members of the House Appropriations Committee, and closed its doors in 2009.
Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) requested that the OCE release to the public evidence collected in its investigation of PMA, but the OCE refused to grant the request, citing the “circumstances of this case and the risk of prejudice to any pending criminal investigation, among other concerns.” The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee) had been investigating seven Representatives in connection with the affair, but cleared them all in February.
Washington Post reports that the main point seized on by the investigators regarded providing campaign funds to lawmakers – “In one e-mail exchange, a McLean defense contractor seeking an earmark complained that he didn’t want to go to a wine-tasting fundraiser hosted by PMA for Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) because he didn’t drink. His boss responded: ‘You don’t have to drink. You just have to pay.'”
The Hill article is here, and the Washington Post article is here.
Tags: Earmarks, ethics committee, jim moran, pma group
Posted in Government Relations Alert | Comments Off on Lobbying Firm Files Sent to DOJ