Austria contributors in bad company

Although it was not announced until recently, back in November the FBI raided the offices of PMA, a Washington lobbying firm. Just like Dave Hobson before him, Congressman Steve Austria received thousands from PMA associates, including Paul Magliochetti, who founded the firm in 1989. According to John Bresnahan, Politico, sources close to PMA said the firm has “disintegrated” in recent months and Magliochetti has hired criminal defense counsel.

For more than two years this reporter has been requesting an investigation into Hobson’s and Austria’s connections with PMA and the Dayton Development Coalition. I have been seeking public records from the Greene County Commission that could point to Hobson and Austria steering the no-bid BRAC Initiative contract to the Coalition in 2003. According to Bresnahan, Pentagon officials are also studying whether the military is “receiving value” for work done by small defense firms like Greentree Group and Qbase, two companies paid by the Coalition to work on the BRAC Initiative, a $1.9 million contract funded by Greene County taxpayers. Greentree and Qbase employees have also contributed thousands to Hobson and Austria. Furthermore, according to www.opensecrets.org, during the BRAC Initiative period of performance (October 2003 – September 2006), the Dayton Development Coalition paid PMA more than $500,000 to lobby on “real estate” matters. I have a hard time connecting the dots between “real estate” and protecting defense related jobs at Wright-Patterson.

In any case, it’s time Dave Hobson and Steve Austria return their PMA contributions or better yet, give them to charity as other legislators have pledged to do, unless of course Hobson and Austria expect they will need that money at some point for their own criminal defense counsel.

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