The New York Times reports:
…many on Capitol Hill, recalling the scandal that mushroomed around the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, are wondering who else will be ensnared in the investigation as prosecutors pore over the financial records and computer files of one of K Street’s most influential lobbyists, known both for the billions of dollars in earmarks he obtained for his clients and for his open hand toward those he sought to influence.
Former PMA staff members familiar with the inquiry say prosecutors’ initial questions have focused on the possibility that Mr. Magliocchetti used straw campaign contributors ” a Florida sommelier and a golf club executive, for example, appear to have given large sums in coordination with PMA ” as a front to funnel illegal donations to friendly lawmakers, a felony that could carry a minimum sentence of five years.
More alarming to lawmakers and aides, however, is that prosecutors may turn their attention to the dinners at the Alpine and Capital Grille or other gifts they might have accepted from Mr. Magliocchetti ” potential violations of longstanding Congressional ethics rules that could lead to more serious bribery charges if linked to official acts.
All the combustibles are here for a very salacious set of allegations that could go far beyond his campaign finance problems, said Stanley Brand, a veteran Washington criminal defense lawyer known for representing Democrats.
I’ve thought this for quite a while: “Abramoff was a sort of Bernard Madoff character, unique in his personal excesses, corrosively corrupting, but still just one guy. PMA Group is a methodical business. It rakes in millions of dollars in lobbying fees. Its employees and PAC contributes a few hundred thousand to various congressional campaign committees and leadership PACs. Its clients get hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks and billions more in federal contracts.” As for the list of who else might be “ensnared,” I’d start here and Tags: Earmarks, Jack Abramoff, Lobbying, Media, PMA Group