By Kevin Bogardus and Roxana Tiron - 02/17/09 07:40 PM EST
The embattled defense lobbyist who led the FBI-raided PMA Group has entered into a Florida-based business with two associates whose political donations have come into question.
According to corporate records filed with Florida’s Department of State, Paul Magliocchetti is listed as an executive for Firenze Partners with John Pugliese and Jon Walker, two Floridians who since 2005 were listed as PMA associates and were part of the PMA board of directors. The two men, however, had nothing to do with lobbying and politics.
The registered agent on the business is Rebecca Kingery, who according to Federal Election Commission records, worked for PMA and donated more than $70,000 to lawmakers over several years. She also goes by Rebecca Kingery DeRosa, according to campaign finance records. She is now listed as an employee with defense contractor DRS Technologies on the company's website. DRS has been a PMA client since 1999. Kingery reportedly is married to Magliocchetti.
Magliocchetti often spoke of retiring in Florida, several sources say. Pugliese and Walker live and work in the Florida resort community of Amelia Island and where the lobbyist has a beachfront condominium, according to several reports. Fernandina Beach is a town on Ameila Island.
In campaign finance records, Pugliese and Walker are listed as employees of PMA. But they have never registered as lobbyists and their donations are reportedly being probed by the Justice Department.
“Those two individuals were on the PMA board of directors,” said Patrick Dorton, a spokesman for the PMA Group. He declined to answer further questions about their status with the lobbying firm.
Messages and calls to numbers listed for Walker and Pugliese were not returned immediately.
Several prominent lawmakers are returning donations linked to the men and the lobbying firm.
A spokesman for Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) said Tuesday that the senior House appropriator was returning about $16,000 in contributions he has received from Pugliese and Walker.
In addition, a spokesman for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said he would return any donations that are identified by federal authorities as “improper.” Nelson has received more than $6,000 in contributions from the two men, according to campaign finance reports.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who is chairwoman of the House Ethics committee, earlier said she would return the $7,000 she has received from the PMA Group’s political action committee. The PMA investigation could come before the Ethics committee so it could be necessary that the top-ranking Democrat on the panel clear herself of any potential conflict of interest.
PMA, one of the top defense lobbying firms in Washington, has disintegrated in recent weeks as it has come under a federal investigation probing its campaign contributions. Magliocchetti, PMA’s founder, was a long-time aide on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee who worked closely with several key appropriators, including Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the defense panel chairman, and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).
Murtha has not indicated whether he will return any PMA money. He has received $105,000 from PMA employees from 2001 through 2008.
Visclosky’s chief of staff, Rich Kaelin, went to work for PMA and was one of the firm’s high-profile lobbyists. PMA has been Visclosky's biggest single source of campaign dollars since 2003.