Incredibly, the FEC issued a ruling on a request by Pete Visclosky (D – IND 1) to be able to tap into his $909,000 campaign fund in order to pay his legal bills, allowing him to do just that.
What legal bills, you might ask.
Well it seems that the Justice Department investigated some fundraising habits by and for Visclosky by a now-defunct group called PMA.
“The Justice Department is investigating PMA over allegations that the firm and its founder, former House Appropriations Committee aide Paul Maggliocchetti, used ‘straw man’ donors to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to lawmakers, including Visclosky.”
“PMA’s offices were raided by FBI agents in November, and the once highly successful firm has now gone out of.”
Shades of TRMPAC and ARMPAC, huh?
And now, thanks to the FEC ruling, Visclosky can make use of that filthy lucre to pay his lawyers that are defending him against the Justice Department.
Here is the gist of their ruling (also from Politico):
“The allegations concern Representative Visclosky's campaign and duties as a Federal officeholder because Representative Visclosky allegedly received the contributions in question as part of his campaign, and his alleged actions regarding the congressional appropriations process are directly related to his duties as a Federal officeholder,” FEC lawyers wrote in a draft “advisory opinion” released today.”
“Therefore, based on the representations made in the advisory opinion request and accompanying news articles, the Commission concludes that the legal fees and expenses associated with the Federal investigation would not exist irrespective of Representative Visclosky's campaign or duties as a Federal officeholder.”
Get it? Now if Visclosky was hauled into court for, say, beating his wife, those funds would be off limits to him. However, because the allegations have to do with his ethical compass as a federal legislator, and he got the funds because he campaigned to be a federal legislator, then it’s OK to use them.
Last November we were all looking for Change, but I don’t think anyone had this kind of change in mind.