Lobbyist Indicted for Allegedly Orchestrating Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme
WASHINGTON – Paul Magliocchetti, the founder and president of PMA Group Inc., a lobbying firm in Arlington, Va., was arrested today on charges of making illegal campaign contributions and making false statements to a federal agency, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director Shawn Henry of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
A federal grand jury returned the indictment on Aug. 4, 2010, which was unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., following Magliocchetti’s arrest by FBI agents. He will make an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones Jr., in federal court in Alexandria.
According to the indictment, Magliocchetti orchestrated a scheme to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal conduit and corporate federal campaign contributions in an effort to enrich himself and PMA by increasing the firm’s influence, power and prestige among the firm’s current and potential clients, as well as among the elected public officials to whom PMA and its lobbyists sought access. The federal campaigns that received these funds were unaware of Magliocchetti’s alleged scheme.
According to the indictment, the Federal Election Campaign Act limits the amounts individuals can contribute to election campaigns and political campaign committees (PACs), and prohibits corporations from making contributions, either directly or through officers of the corporation. In order to evade the legal limits on individual contributions and the outright ban on corporate contributions, the indictment alleges that Magliocchetti caused straw donors to make contributions to scores of federal campaign committees, which in fact were actually paid for by Magliocchetti or PMA, rather than the named donor.
As alleged in the indictment, Magliocchetti concealed from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the public the fact that he and PMA were the true source of the funds for these illegal federal campaign contributions. At the same time, Magliocchetti allegedly ensured that he and PMA received credit for these contributions from the campaigns and candidates by, among other things, using family members, PMA employees and others associated with Magliocchetti as the conduits, and by hosting fund-raising events in which he or his associates delivered the contributions.
According to the indictment, from 2003 through 2008, Magliocchetti allegedly used personal and corporate money to advance funds to or reimburse these individuals for the contributions they made on his behalf. The funding of the conduits’ contributions took several forms, including Magliocchetti issuing personal checks and authorizing PMA to issue business checks, and to make salary and bonus payments to cover the costs of the contributions. In one instance, Magliocchetti allegedly used two acquaintances that lived near his Florida vacation home to make contributions by, among other things, designating them as members of PMA’s board of directors and paying them with PMA funds even though they lived in Florida, never worked as lobbyists and never attended PMA board meetings.
Through this scheme, Magliocchetti caused various federal campaign committees to unknowingly create and file false reports with the FEC regarding the contributions they had received. As alleged in the indictment, these reports, which the FEC made available to the public, falsely stated that the conduits had made contributions, when in fact the contributions were made by Magliocchetti or PMA.
The 11-count indictment charges Magliocchetti with four counts of making illegal campaign contributions in the name of another; four counts of making illegal campaign contributions from a corporation; and three counts of causing federal campaigns to unwittingly make false statements.
An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In connection with this investigation, Mark Magliocchetti pleaded guilty today before Judge Jones in U.S. District in Alexandria to making illegal corporate campaign contributions. According to court documents, Mark Magliocchetti admitted to receiving payments from an individual and a company with the understanding that those monies were to be used for federal campaign contributions. According to court documents, the amount of contributions made by Mark Magliocchetti and his wife, and funded by the individual and the company, exceeded $120,000 but was less than $200,000. Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 16, 2010.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys M. Kendall Day, Justin V. Shur and Kevin O. Driscoll of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark D. Lytle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. The case is being investigated by the FBI.