Federal investigators have subpoenaed the offices of Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Ind., as part of a continuing probe of the PMA Group, a defense lobbying firm that was disbanded early this year after its Virginia headquarters was raided by the FBI in November.
Law enforcement officials are seeking documents from Visclosky's campaign committees and congressional offices. They have also subpoenaed some members of the Indiana lawmaker's staff, according to a statement issued by Visclosky today.
Visclosky pledged in his statement to cooperate with federal investigators.
"I am confident that, at the end of this process, no one will conclude that I have done anything wrong or harmed my constituents in any way," he said.
The lawmaker has retained lawyers to review his compliance with federal campaign finance laws. FEC records show he received during the last election cycle more than $350,000 from PMA lobbyists, one of whom once served as his chief of staff.
At least part of the federal probe of PMA is said to be examining the use of phony "associates" of PMA as contributors to the campaigns of several House lawmakers, many of them members of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
As a member of that subcommittee, Visclosky succeeded in adding significant amounts in earmarks to Defense spending bills that benefited PMA clients.
Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania defense contractor to whom House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., has directed millions of dollars in congressional earmarks has been blocked from doing business with the Navy amid allegations of fraud, the Associated Press reported today.
Word of the suspension of Kuchera Defense Systems Inc., which has given Murtha's campaigns more than $60,000 since 2002, came during an annual defense contractor show in Johnstown, Pa., in the heart of his district.
During a brief news conference, Murtha turned aside questions about Kuchera's suspension, which has benefited from $14.7 million in Murtha earmarks over the past two years.
"What's that got to do with me? What do you think, I'm supposed to oversee these companies? That's not my job. That's the Defense Department's job," said Murtha.
At the Pentagon, a Navy spokesman said Kuchera was suspended in late April for "alleged fraud, including multiple incidents of cost mischarging, defective pricing and ethical violations." An attorney representing Kuchera said the firm would appeal.
This article appears in the May 30, 2009, edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.