PMA’s Magliocchetti takes the fall
Political class wealth redistribution (Part 4)
Earlier in this series OCGJ addressed Dave Hobson’s and Barb Schenck’s passage through the revolving door from Congress and congressional staffer to CBD Advisors, a Beavercreek lobbying firm they formed in 2010. We cited T.W. Farnam’s January 2012 article where Farnam connected the dots between Congressman Dave Hobson’s $1.6 million earmark to Woolpert LLP and $30,000 a month payments from Woolpert to lobbyist Dave Hobson after he retired from congress. The redistribution of taxpayer wealth to Woolpert and apparent quid pro quo back to Hobson looks like a walk in the park compared to the illegal contributions Hobson and Steve Austria received from The PMA Group.
Paul Magliocchetti, a former House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee staffer formed The PMA Group in 1989 after he passed through the revolving door from congressional staffer to K Street lobbyist. For nearly 20 years Magliocchetti ran “a stable of lobbyists who had gone through the revolving door, some 33 in all, including seven who worked for the congressional appropriations committees or their members.” (Source: Bill Allison, “As earmark lobbyist gets out of jail, former colleagues still on the trail”, March 14, 2013) Although 28 of those 33 were still registered lobbyists as of March 2013, it all came to an end for Magliocchetti in November, 2008 when FBI agents raided PMA’s offices, starting a chain of events that ended in a 27-month prison sentence for Magliocchetti. Both Dave Hobson and Steve Austria received illegal contributions from PMA directors or lobbyists, but unlike most of the congressmen who returned those illegal contributions or gave them to charity, OCGJ could find no evidence that Hobson and Austria did so. If course we would consider correcting the record if Austria and Hobson would present the evidence, but that’s not going to happen, and here’s why.
The truth is Dave Hobson and Steve Austria have a well-documented history of showing their disrespect for campaign finance laws enacted after Watergate. With a “fictitious name filing” Hobson concealed his financial relationship with Midland Properties and Tom Loftis who were direct benefactors of a Hobson earmark to TPI Composites which leased a Springfield Ohio manufacturing facility from Midland Properties. For years Hobson and Austria took credit for jobs promised by TPI Composites, but then went silent six months after TPI closed their Springfield facility. If those jobs existed at all, they went to other states or worse yet to Mexico and China. Hobson’s $4 million plus earmark to TPI Composites was a total waste of taxpayer wealth, except that it provided a talking point for Hobson’s and Austria’s election campaigns.
Steve Austria appears to have followed in Hobson’s malfeasant footsteps as he never disclosed Mrs. Austria’s employment with Nextedge Development Corporation, recipient of another Hobson earmark and grants from the State of Ohio sponsored by Steve Austria when he was State Senator. Post-Watergate personal financial disclosure statutes require first-time congressional candidates like Steve Austria in 2008 to disclose their spouse’s employer and representation on boards or committees that could pose a conflict of interest. OCGJ has irrefutable evidence that Austria did not disclose his membership on the Dayton Development Coalition’s Wright Patt 2010 Committee or Mrs. Austria’s employment with Nextedge.
Except for Magliocchetti and John Pugliese, one of PMA’s illegal “straw man” contributors who committed suicide after losing his job when the PMA investigation went public, no one suffered negative consequences from perhaps the most significant campaign finance abuse case since Watergate. Hobson and Austria simply walked away thinking we would forget. For nearly five years now Dave Hobson has been basking in the glory of his immense wealth and post-congressional career as lobbyist/GOP elder statesman. Steve Austria has sold his soul in exchange for the remote possibility he will pass through the revolving door again that leads back to Congress or some other job as a government bureaucrat. The reality is both Hobson and Austria are now irrelevant after they trashed Ohio’s 7th Congressional District that gave them so much. All we have to do is look at a map of the 7th District when Dave Hobson went to Congress in 1991 and what was left when Steve Austria was run out of Congress in disgrace in 2012. Every county in the District when Hobson left in 2009 was absorbed by other districts after the 2010 census. That is the true Hobson/Austria legacy, and one they would prefer remains in the shadows.