Come clean Congressman Moran

Tonight the House Ethics Committee announced that it was conducting a preliminary inquiry into the now defunct PMA lobbying firm and its relationships with House lawmakers. The firm, which was founded by former Democratic staffers on the House Armed Services Committee was shuttered after the FBI raided its offices last year. Basically its employees stand accused of making PAC contributions to members of the Armed Services Committee in exchange for earmarked appropriations which benefited PMA’s clients in the defense industry.

In an editorial, the San Francisco Examiner says the scheme PMA stands accused of, “appears to be a Chicago-style “pay to play” network that trades earmarks for campaign dough that could potentially involve at least 100 congressmen.” These Congressmen earmarked $300 million in defense earmarks for PMA’s clients.

Among this group of Congressmen is Virginia Democrat Jim Moran. According to the Associated Press, Moran has received $997,348 since 1989. Some Republicans have called on Congressman Moran to give the money back. As for earmarks, Moran has been prolific. (Critics also pointed out that many defense contractors with business before Rep. Moran’s subcommittee made a significant amount of campaign contributions to the gubernatorial campaign of his brother, former Del. Brian Moran.)

I think that’s the right thing to do.  While Congressman Moran hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, I believe he should give this money back until the investigation is completed. He certainly should say more about what he knows and what his ties are to PMA. (After all, his colleague, Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) has temporarily given up his subcommittee chairmanship after Federal investigators subpoenaed him.)

As the New York Times writes:

It is a sordid and far-too-common tale: PMA’s top lobbyists began as House appropriations staffers and then capitalized on their connections and savvy to strike it rich in the private sector. Still the full story needs to be laid out before the public of how this money roundelay worked — from contractor to lawmaker, with the American taxpayer always footing the bill.

Of all the members of our Virginia Congressional delegation, I probably have the most in common with Jim Moran when it comes to policy issues. If I were a member of Congress, I would vote with Moran almost all the time. In that sense, he has been a perfect representative for me. (And I am a constituent.)

But in recent years, Congressman Moran’s personal behavior has troubled me. I didn’t like the punching of a fellow Congressman on the House floor, I didn’t like the bullying of a kid in Old Town and I hated the way he handled his divorce, his personal finances and I certainly don’t like the sniff of anti-Semitism which came out in the 2004 campaign. Now he stands accused of participating in a pay for play political scheme.

As much as I admire his policy stances, I wish my Congressman would clean up his act. If there was a credible Democrat to run against him in the 2010 primary on ethics and integrity, I would give them a serious look. And if the GOP would nominate a moderate Republican in the mold of Tom Davis, I would vote for them against Rep. Moran.

Congressman Moran, please don’t give the GOP an opening. I don’t want to return to the days of Stan Parris. Maybe you should retire before this happens.

I think there is no shortage of Democrats who could represent me in Congress without the ethical baggage that comes with you in office.



Filed under Congressional campaigns, corruption

6 responses to “Come clean Congressman Moran

  1. PhilON

    I totally agree with your sentiments … Moran is an embarrasment … if a credible Dem challenges him for the seat, I will vote for him or her.

  2. RichardWard

    Thank you for speaking up. I linked to your article, and created a related poll at:

  3. Anti-government corruption is the key to balance. My blog is dedicated to this very issue. Excellent post.

  4. Danny

    If you seriously think that the GOP have a remote shot at beating Moran, or contending against any democratic opponent for that matter, in the 8th congressional district, you have a distorted sense of the reality on the ground. The GOP will never win in the eighth district, even with all the AIPAC aid in the world. Let’s try to be a little more practical please.

    • For me it’s about right and wrong, not right and left.

      I would much prefer a Democrat to challenge Rep. Moran in a primary. If Mr. Moran is able to scare off primary opposition, I would vote for a pro-choice Republican were one to be nominated. (See. Congressman Joe Cao of Louisiana.)

      But frankly, I don’t care if I vote for a loser. With his silence and his history in recent years, Jim Moran is leaving me with the impression that he’s a crook. If he’s innocent, he should say so and he should talk to his constituents about it.

      As for me, I’m sorry that it’s come to this, but I’ve cast my last vote for Jim Moran.

  5. Michael

    If you believe what you read on the internet, well, Moran + PMA could be inferred to have conspired to allocate taxpayer funds to third parties, funds which wound up eventually coming back to Moran and PMA.

    Well, the government is spending trillions on healthcare, auto and bank bailouts, I would prefer to let a few hundred million in corruption slide than endorse the obvious theft that is taking place on a national scale! At those rates we could simply afford to pay millions to congressmen and senators – I would be happy to give them all bonuses if they stopped spending billions and trillions we don’t have!

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