In Pensacola recently I sat down with two responsible Associated Press journalists writing a story on the developing criminal investigation by the Justice Department involving two long time powerful Congressman Reps. John Murtha, D-Pa. and Pete Visclosky, D-Ind. The DOJ investigation is also focusing on at least two Washington lobbying firms and multiple defense contractors who used these lobbying firms to lobbby various Congressman, including Representatives Murtha and Viscolsky, for millions of dollars of “earmark” money designed to support the development of technology in these congressmans’ home districts by a particular government contractor or business in their district.
The federal Pensacola Criminal Case in which I represented a Co-defendant who was indicted for Obstruction of Justice and Conflict of Interest involved one of the defense contracting firms that had hired one of the targeted lobbying firms, PMA, who raised thousands of dollars for congressional campaign contributions for these congressman. The Washington, D.C. offices of PMA were raided in November 2008 by federal agents. The small defense contracting firm in Okaloosa County, in which I represented the minority shareholder and vice president and chief technical officer, paid PMA group $15,000 per month to lobby for them in an attempt to recieve congressional ADD money, otherwise known as earmarks, for the development of covert military technology, some of which is still considered classified. Albeit the headquarters of the defense contractor was located in Okaloosa County, the principal of the company had opened other corporations in Congressman Murtha’s home district in Pennslyavania in order to obtain earmarks from Congressman Murtha. Albeit the “earmark” process may seem inherently corrupt it has been an approved method for Congressman to recieve monies for their home districts for decades. The longer a Congressman is in office, the greater amount of money in earmarks he is allowed to allocute to his or her home district, hence, receving political support from his home district necessary for reelection.
Because of Local Rules of the Northern District of Florida’s Federal Court I cannot comment directly on the pending case at the present time due to the case not being entirely resolved at the local level. One defendant was convicted August 1, 2009 after a week long jury trial; the other two primary co-defendants have cooperated with the Justice Department and testified at trial involving the third individual. However, veteran Associated Press journalist Pete Yost, who has written on such widely publicized topics as the Jimmy Hoffa dissappearance and investigation, the White Water investigation and the mystery surrounding the death of White House Counsel Vince Foster during the Clinton Administration, the fall of Freddie May and Freddie Mac, to name a few, is writing a fascinating piece that “connects the dots” from the Penscola federal prosecution to the investigation of long term Congressmen. When the piece is released I will reference it in this column and you too can see how Congressional funding works “behind closed doors” when it comes to earmarks for Congressman to direct funding to their home districts.