The New York Times editors are getting nervous. It seems Nancy Pelosi is giving moderate and conservative Democrats — that would be those most likely at risk in 2010 — the cold shoulder on investigating the growing controversy over PMA Group. The editors declare:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi should listen to the wise Democrats who are pushing for an ethics inquiry into the far-too-cozy relationship between lawmakers and the PMA Group of superlobbyists.
The Justice Department is investigating whether PMA used illegal straw donors to lard the campaign kitties of cooperative lawmakers. The firm — which shut itself down after being raided by federal agents — fed and fed richly off the defense appropriations subcommittee led by Representative John Murtha, the House baron of Pentagon spending.
Dryly noting that there are “plenty of questions” to answer, they point to some troublesome facts:
PMA funneled more than $40 million in donations to members of Congress since 1998, including $2.4 million to Mr. Murtha and $7.8 million to members of his committee. Congress, in turn, rewarded PMA clients with rarely debated earmarks. Last year, the firm was able to marshal more than 100 lawmakers to earmark $300 million in contracts for the lobbyist’s clients.
The similarities to 1994 and 2006 are plain. The majority party has grown fat and corrupt, its leaders reluctant to take on the Old Bulls, and the legal and political vultures swirl above their heads. Pelosi is not known for her concern for the opinions of Republicans or good-government groups. But perhaps the in-house paper for liberal Democrats will shake her into action. Hey, it worked for Tom Daschle.