PMA Group is gone, but earmark influence persists


While the dozen members of Congress most favored by contributions from PMA Group continued to request earmarks for the defunct firm’s clients, two other lobby shops–Alcalde & Fay and Innovative Federal Strategies–appear to have had even more success in procuring earmark requests for fiscal year 2010 from the PMA top twelve.

PMA Group, which collapsed amidst a federal investigation into the lobbying firm’s campaign contributions, and its clients were prolific donors to members of Congress, showering current members of the House and Senate with than $40.3 million in contributions, an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics found.

After PMA disbanded, six of its clients fled to Flagship Government Relations, which PMA staffers founded just after the firm’s offices were raided by the FBI in February, and after PMA’s principal declined a buyout offer. Three former PMA clients paid the Federal Business Group this year; two each took their business to Van Scoyoc Associates, the Capitol Consulting Group, MKG Consulting LLC, and Park Strategies.

Some of the dozen lawmakers that the Center for Responsive Politics identified as the top recipients of donations continued to request earmarks for organizations that had been clients of the firm at some point since 1998–Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., requested at least nine earmarks for former PMA clients; Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., five; Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., two; Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, two; and Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kansas, one. The ongoing investigation of PMA Group has led Rep. Peter Viscklosky, D-Ind., to distance himself from the lobbying shop as questions swelled around his relationship with it; he requested no earmarks for past clients of the firm for 2010.

Yet when comparing the roster of active clients that PMA Group represented just before it closed its doors (as opposed to those that PMA had represented at any point since 1998) with the current clients of other firms, a different picture emerges. Six of Alcalde & Faye’s clients were favored with 15 requests while six clients of Innovative Federal Strategies, a firm with close ties to Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, were named in a dozen requests. By contrast, six 2008 clients of PMA Group were named in 7 requests.

Earmark requests for one-time PMA clients for FY 2010

Requester Former PMA client Earmarks requested
Granger L-3 Communications $3,800,000.00
Moran Rockwell Collins Inc $1,000,000.00
Moran General Dynamics $2,000,000.00
Moran DDL Omni Engineering $3,000,000.00
Moran Samueli Institute $2,000,000.00
Moran MobilVox Inc $2,000,000.00
Moran Argon ST $3,000,000.00
Moran Artis $1,000,000.00
Moran ITT Corp $200,400,000.00
Moran ITT Corp $2,000,000.00
Murtha MobilVox Inc $2,000,000.00
Murtha MTS Technologies $5,000,000.00
Murtha Argon ST $8,000,000.00
Murtha Advanced Acoustic Concepts $5,000,000.00
Murtha Planning Systems Inc $2,300,000.00
Tiahrt Boeing Co $8,000,000.00
Young DRS Technologies $5,000,000.00
Young General Dynamics $6,000,000.00

(*Total contributions from PMA Group and clients to this member.)

Sunlight’s analysis is based on an analysis of lobbying and campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics and from the earmark requests that the House Appropriations Committee required members to post online for all fiscal year 2010 earmarks.

The House members who received the most money in contributions from PMA since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, are: John Murtha (D-Pa), Pete Viscolosky (D-Ind), Jim Moran (D-Va), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif), Norm Dicks (D-Wash), Bill Young (R-Fla), Ike Skelton (D-Mo), Chet Edwards (D-Texas), Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md).

Edwards’ earmark requests were not reviewed by the Sunlight Foundation because they were posted in a PDF format that is difficult to analyze digitally. We will analyze his requests in a separate post.

For fiscal year 2010, there were fewer requests for earmarks for former PMA Group clients from the top recipient of their campaign contributions than there were actual, final earmarks received when the lobbying firm was still flying high.

In fiscal year 2008, Murtha and Visclosky each successfully procured 16 earmarks for PMA clients; the next year they obtained six and five, respectively, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The members’ overall FY2010 earmark requests are given below.

Lawmaker Total amount (all) Total requests
Moran $1,526,414,000 147
Hoyer $2,550,241,875 96
Lewis $218,295,345 89
Young $216,794,300 78
Murtha $132,301,000 68
Reyes $168,645,680 47
Frelinghuysen $163,345,000 46
Dicks $113,097,000 43
Granger $167,012,210 39
Visclosky $77,155,000 36
Tiahrt $75,241,185 30
McKeon $15,795,500 29
Skelton $23,580,000 9

Download an Excel spreadsheet of all earmarks requested by PMA-linked Representatives along with further analysis from the Sunlight Foundation.