Tracking lobbying giant PMA’s former clients

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To say that Washington is a town built on relationships is an understatement. A recent example: In the wake of the embattled lobbying firm PMA’s demise this April, many of its former clients are sticking with their former PMA lobbyists.

Until it was raided by federal law enforcement agents last November who are reportedly examining the firm’s influence in obtaining earmarks, PMA was a key player in obtaining access to powerful congressional appropriations panels and the federal spending they control. PMA’s clients received about $100 billion, or 20 percent of all federal government contracts, in 2007, CQ reported earlier this year.

Earlier this month, the Center for Responsive Politics published an accounting of where PMA’s lobbyists have gone. PaperTrail took the next step and tracked how many former PMA clients made the jump to firms where PMA lobbyists had landed.

In the first months of the year, at least 42 organizations that used PMA in the past have hired one of six lobbying firms that are employing former PMA lobbyists, according to lobbying disclosures posted on the Senate Office of Public Records website.

Take the Federal Business Group — the firm has twelve clients, all of whom formerly used PMA. Five former PMA lobbyists recently made the move to the Federal Business Group: Mark Hamilton, Rich Kaelin, Brian Morgan, Joseph Spata and Thomas Veltri. According to a National Journal story in February, “Two sources say that some clients have received communications from [PMA founder Paul] Magliocchetti suggesting he prefers existing clients go with Federal Business Group.”

The Federal Business Group did not return several phone calls and an e-mail request for comment. However, Patrick Dorton, a spokesperson for PMA, told the National Journal, "It seems like clients are making their transition decisions based on their relationships with their individual staff lobbyists."

Of the 81 organizations that used PMA for lobbying until it closed its doors (some terminated their contracts earlier), about half only used PMA and have not hired a lobbying firm to replace them… yet.

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