Bill Nelson Caught up in PMA Mess

Categories: Politicks
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Last week, ABC News broke news that the FBI had raided PMA Group, a lobbying firm, this past November. PMA, which specialized in lobbying for earmarks for defense contracts, had close ties to Democratic Rep. John Murtha, but also donated heavily to other politicians -- many of them Democrats, but some Republicans as well.

The Washington Post uncovered campaign donations given in the names of people listed as PMA employees, but many turned up to have never heard of the group nor of the candidates to whom they supposedly donated. Sen. Bill Nelson received $4,000 from two such donors, but promised today to return the money.

PMA's political action committee (PAC) and PMA employees were found to be among the biggest donors to Bill Nelson's coffers. He has received $51,213 from them, according to the Center for Reponsive Politics. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, a Republican representing North Florida, received $37,350 since 1989 from the group. While John Mica, a Republican representing Jacksonville, received more than $30,000. Reps. Allen Boyd and Bill Young received $14,250 each. Young, Boyd, and Nelson all serve on defense-related committees.

Even as ABC has dubbed it as the potential "Next Abramoff Scandal?" the only evidence to emerge so far is that PMA likely donated money in the names of unwitting individuals as a way to elude limits on how much they could donate. It's unlikely the politicians were aware.

Several House members from Florida -- including Ron Klein, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Connie Mack, and Adam Putnam -- have also received donations from the firm, but in amounts of $2,000 or less.

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