The U.S. Justice Department has served grand-jury subpoenas to the two
campaign committees, the Congressional office, and certain employees of U.S.
Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st.
Those subpoenas request documents related to The PMA Group, the Washington,
D.C. lobbying firm reportedly under investigation by the FBI and whose
associates and clients have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to
Visclosky’s campaign committees.
Visclosky declined, however, to comment on the exact nature of the documents
subpoenaed in an interview after deadline today. “I can’t be more specific
about the documents because it’s a grand-jury investigation and it would not
be appropriate to comment on it,” he told the Chesterton Tribune. “It
is my intent to fully comply with the request for information.”
Subpoenas were served in the first week of May to the Visclosky for Congress
Committee and the Calumet PAC, Visclosky said, while his Congressional
office in Washington, D.C., and in Merrillville was subpoenaed this week.
Although several staffers were also served, Visclosky said, he has not
personally been interviewed or contacted “in any way, shape, or form by
anyone in the Department of Justice.”
“I have always conducted myself with the highest degree of integrity,”
Visclosky said. “As we work through the process I will continue to work as I
always have for the people of Northwest Indiana. And I have every intention
of running for re-election in 2010.”
“It is my intention to fully cooperate with the investigation,” Visclosky
also said in a prepared statement released earlier this morning, “consistent
with my constitutional obligations to Congress and my duties and
responsibilities to my constituents. . . . I am confident that at the end of
this process, no one will conclude that I have done anything wrong or harmed
my constituents in any way.”
Visclosky did tell the Tribune that it will be the decision of his
counsel, Washington, D.C., law firm Steptoe & Johnson, as to which documents
“are appropriate to turn over” to the Department of Justice and which are
privileged under the Speech and Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution,
which, he said, “is protective of legislative activity and the
decision-making process” as part of the separation of powers.
“The documents in the Congressional office that are not subject” to the
Speech and Debate Clause “will obviously be forthcoming,” Visclosky said.
Since 1989 PMA has specialized in representing high-tech businesses and
obtaining for its clients lucrative federal contracts or “earmarks,” many of
them secured by Visclosky. PMA associates have also donated more than
$150,000 to Visclosky’s campaign committees since 2001, while associates of
PMA clients have donated tens of thousands of dollars more.
It was reported in February that PMA is under federal investigation. It was
also reported that month that three contributors to Visclosky’
Data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Center for Responsive
Politics show that in Fiscal Year 2008 Visclosky secured 16 earmarks
totaling $23,800,000 for PMA clients. Eight of those PMA clients, the
recipients of nine separate earmarks totaling $12.6 million, have
contributed a total of $343,599 to Visclosky’s campaign committees over the
last five election cycles.
Under current House Ethics Committee rules, members may accept campaign
contributions from donors for whom they have secured earmarks, on the ground
that members have no financial interest in those campaign contributions.
spring Visclosky announced that he would not seek to secure earmarks for any
private or for-profit entity in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget.