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Probe of House members publicized through security breach

By Laurie Bennett

October 30, 2009 at 10:52am

Half of the members of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense are being investigated by congressional ethics panels, the Washington Post reports.

A document inadvertently made public and obtained by the Post indicates that subcommittee chair John P. Murtha and six other members are under scrutiny because of ties to the PMA Group.

The legislators received campaign contributions from the now-defunct lobby firm, where former Murtha aide Paul Magliocchetti was a principal. Ethics investigators are looking into efforts to steer federal money to PMA clients.

John P. Murtha
John P. Murtha

In addition to Murtha, the panel members under investigation are Peter J. Visclosky, James P. Moran, Norm Dicks, Marcy Kaptur, Todd Tiahrt and C.W. Bill Young.

The 22-page document delineating the investigation was made available on a public computer network by a low-level House ethics committee staffer working from home, according to the Post. The employee has since been fired.

The report indicates that two ethics panels in the House have been investigating more than 30 members of Congress and several aides.

Ethics committee Chair Zoe Lofgren released a statement about the breach, emphasizing that the panel handles many investigations and inquiries.

“No inference to any misconduct can be made from the fact that a matter is simply before the Committee,” she said.

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