In conjunction with the appearance of Paul Singer on C-Span’s Washington Journal this morning (his bit starts about 1:03:30 in on the video), Roll Call has put online its amazing body of work tracking the PMA Group, the defunct lobbying firm under federal investigation that, along with its clients, provided oodles of campaign cash to more than 100 members of the House while securing hundreds of millions in earmarks for its clients.
Of all the stories there, this one, from March 17, still strikes me as the most interesting:
…top PMA officials also had financial stakes in several of the companies that PMA was helping to obtain earmarks. …
… on background, several sources agreed that it is unusual but not unheard of for lobbying firms to have ownership stake in clients that they represent. Some firms take an equity stake as part of their payment for representing the client, sources said, and there is no conflict of interest because what is good for the client is then also good for the lobbyist.
I’m curious to know more about what other investments PMA Group lobbyists had in their clients, whether equity was taken in lieu of lobbying fees (how exactly does one calculate the value of that for purposes of disclosing payments under the Lobbying Disclosure Act?), and to what extent lobbyists at other firms have done the same thing.