Monday, September 20, 2010

Ethics, Ethics, Ethics

Today marks the official starts of the Fall TV season.  I am reading in the newspaper about shows like “No Ordinary Family, about ordinary people who suddenly have super-powers, then there is “Lonestar” about a con-man living in two parts of Texas with two different women, Finally over on HBO comes “Boardwalk” a show of crime and corruption during the early days of prohibition in Atlantic City.

8th District Congressman, Jim Moran, caught in story that feels like it belongs in the movies not in real life! 

Have you ever read a story in the newspaper that as you were reading it you thought to yourself is this for real?  Some stories seem so fantastic that you wonder, “Am I still reading the entertainment section?”  These stories read like the synopsis of some Hollywood movie that has just came out rather than the columns of a legitimate newspaper.

This weekend I was not sure if I was reading the latest synopsis of Michael Douglas in the upcoming movie “Wall Street; Money Never Sleeps” or a true news article.  There before me were all the elements of a great movie:

Plot, Character, and twists and turns as the headline screamed “Ex-lobbyist to plead in earmarks probe”.  This latest tale of Washington Ethics that began bad has now taken a turn for the worse.  On August 20th, Paul Magliocchetti pleaded not guilty to an 11-count felony indictment. This weekend it was reported that this week he will change his plea from not-guilty to guilty in return for his cooperation in an ethics probe that could be far-reaching.  He is charged with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions to scores of campaigns dating back to 2003 to enrich himself and increase his firm's influence with public officials.

And contribute Magliocchetti did: A Center for Responsive Politics analysis indicates that he and his spouses together donated more than $792,000 to federal-level candidates and political committees since the 1990 election cycle.  The majority of that total -- $475,000 -- came recently, during the 2004, 2006 and 2008 election cycles, the Center's analysis finds.  Democrats on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, where Magliocchetti once worked as a staffer, became favored recipients of donations by lobbyists in Magliocchetti’s firm, PMA Group Inc.

Among the top recipients of Magliocchetti cash:
In 2007 and 2008 alone, three top Democrats on the House defense subcommittee directed $137 million to defense contractors who were paying Magliocchetti’s PMA Group to get them government business.  The three were subcommittee chairman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, James Moran of Virginia, and Visclosky.

The indictment says Magliocchetti directed his firm’s lobbyists to write donation checks from their personal accounts to specific candidates and reimbursed their donations either through personal checks or the company’s coffers.

Recently in a June report by two nonpartisan organizations generally critical of earmarks, Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) and the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), it was reported that Congressman Jim Moran of Northern Virginia was the House leader in campaign contributions received from earmark recipients.  The report showed Democrat Jim Moran got $89,700.

According to, "Moran received more than $80,000 from executives, political action committees and lobbyists of companies to whom he’s directed earmarks. In total, Moran has received $82,700 total from these committees and individuals, according to Federal Election Commission reports. MobilVox, Inc. tops the list of donors, contributing $8,300 to Moran and receiving a $2 million earmark.

(Further) Moran requested earmarks for donors totaling more than $50 million. The largest earmark requests were $3 million each, requested for EM Solutions, Inc., Argon ST and DDL Omni Engineering. All of the earmarks given to donors of Moran were defense appropriations. Finally, it’s true that more than 20 percent of Moran’s $396,952 in donations last year came from these committees and individuals."

My Dad use to always say, “If you want to truly know the heart of a man, follow the money”.  So, here we have Jim Moran receiving significant money from soon to be guilty felons and companies he has delivered earmarks for.  On the other hand, his opponent, Patrick Murray, has been running a “grass roots” campaign that even with some big name hosts, such as John McCain and George Allen showing up to host fund raisers, still is dwarfed by the war chest of Jim Moran.  It is tough to compete against someone who is the recipient of an allegedly illegal lobbying machine as Jim Moran has been.  While Jim Moran’s has avoided congressional ethics violations…. so far…. One has to wonder what revelations will result in this change.  Regardless, another saying of my dad is “Where there’s smoke there is fire.”

So, I again pose the question, Who do you want working for you?  A man who receives campaign money from soon to be guilty felons and recipients of earmarks or one who is being funded by people like you and me?  Which of these two candidates is more likely to act on the needs of the nation and will of the people? and which is more likely to be beholden to the greedy companies receiving our taxpayer money?

Join me in ending this run of unethical behavior from an unrepentant Jim Moran and let’s send a man of honor and a decorated veteran of the Iraqi Freedom campaign to congress instead.

Retire Jim Moran
Elect Patrick Murray

Let Freedom Ring

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