PMA Group probe: What did the House vote for?


Roll Call’s Tory Newmyer and Jennifer Yachnin are both good reporters, and their story is certainly easy to read, but I’m still sitting here scratching my head trying to figure out exactly what it is that the House just voted for in the matter of PMA Group, the lobbying firm at the heart of a series of federal investigations involving campaign contributions to members of Congress and earmarks to some of the firms clients:

The Democrats’ resolution, offered by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) with the backing of leadership, would give the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct 45 days to report on whether it is probing PMA’s dealings with the lawmakers. The measure passed 270-134, with 28 Republicans crossing the aisle to support it.

But GOP leaders argued that because lawmakers, on a party-line voice vote, decided to refer the measure to the ethics committee, the panel would need to approve it and then refer it back to the full House for approval before it would take effect. “This is a joke,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). “It is the tiniest speck of political cover from a Democratic leadership that has voted time after time to block a real investigation of PMA.”

Democratic aides countered that while the Republican critique is technically correct, the ethics panel would act on the resolution in the given time frame because a majority of the chamber in voting for the resolution had effectively called for such a move.

How’s that for resolute action? Mark Twain would have been proud.