Thanks to earmark disclosure rules passed at the beginning of the 110th Congress, we are able to be entertained—disgusted—by stories like this one from Congressional Quarterly. According to CQ, 104 House lawmakers earmarked $300 million in a 2008 defense appropriations bill to clients of the PMA Group, a soon-to-be defunct lobbying group under investigation, while receiving $1.8 million in campaign contributions from the lobby shop since 2001. Without the earmark disclosure rules this kind of information would be much harder to come by. A full list of the 104 lawmakers is expected later today.
The PMA Group has long been an expert at winning earmarks for clients and has cultivated a group of lawmakers that surround Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chair John Murtha. The head of the PMA Group, Paul Magliocchetti, a former Murtha staffer, is the main subject of the investigation for allegedly reimbursing employees for campaign contributions that he made in their names. A February 14 Washington Post article reported that some of the contributions may have been made in the names of individuals who aren’t even employees of the lobbying group.