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Paul Magliocchetti, a former lobbyist and key figure in the Center for Public Integrity’s The Murtha Method investigation, pled guilty on Friday to federal campaign finance violations.

Magliocchetti once worked for the House defense appropriations subcommittee. Later, as head of the PMA Group lobbying firm, he represented seven defense contractors which received more than $30.2 million in earmarks from the now-deceased subcommittee chairman Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.

In his plea, Magliocchetti admitted that he made hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and made false statements to a federal agency. From 2005 to 2008, he used members of his family, friends, and PMA lobbyists to make unlawful campaign contributions.

As The Murtha Method detailed, Murtha and fellow Democrats Peter Visclosky of Indiana and Jim Moran of Virginia steered a host of earmarks to PMA clients, and those clients and PMA staffers gave campaign contributions to the lawmakers. Aspects of those relationships are the subject of a still-ongoing Justice Department probe, which is thought to be looking at whether there were explicit quid pro quo exchanges of favors for cash, which would make crimes out of relationships that are otherwise legal.

As the Center also reported in its A ‘Murtha Method’ Encore, Reps. Moran, Murtha, and the subcommittee’s top Republican, C.W. “Bill” Young of Florida, continued to give earmarks in the 2010 appropriations process to companies that had at one time been represented by ex-congressional office or committee staffers working for the PMA Group. When asked about the four former staffers who have registered as lobbyists for firms receiving earmarks from Young, his spokesman told the Center that two of them had never directly lobbied his office.

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