Murtha in trouble over campaign contributions?

Federal authorities are investigating a lobbying firm run by a former aide to the Pennsylvania Democrat; the company was one of his big donors.

Published February 12, 2009 12:05AM (EST)

It hasn't been a great few months for Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.).

During the election campaign last fall, the congressman got in trouble for saying his own district is in a "racist area." All of a sudden, he found himself in a real fight for re-election, and though he eventually pulled out a comfortable victory, he needed to bring in a lot of new funding for his campaign in order to do so. Now, one of the sources he turned to for that money could land him in some hot water.

Federal prosecutors are currently looking at PMA Group, a lobbying shop founded by Paul Magliocchetti, a former top aide of Murtha's. And, the New York Times reports, they're investigating the possibility that Magliocchetti may havc directed "bogus" contributions to Murtha and two other Democratic congressmen, Virginia's Jim Moran and Indiana's Pete Visclosky.

"In the first half of 2007, the PMA Group and its clients contributed more than $500,000" to the three men, the Times says. "The lawmakers, meanwhile, earmarked more than $100 million in defense spending for PMA clients in the appropriations bills for 2008."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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John Murtha D-pa.