Pondering the PMA Group ethics matter

The Times ponders the PMA Group ethics matter here.

Although investigators found indications that at least two of the members had at least implicitly rewarded donors with earmarks, the committee said that the appearance of a financial reward for donors does not amount to an ethical breach in itself.

“Simply because a member sponsors an earmark for an entity that also happens to be a campaign contributor does not, on these two facts alone, support a claim that a member’s actions are being influenced by campaign contributions,” the committee, which is made up of five Democrats and five Republicans, concluded in its report.

The House Ethics Committee report (305 page PDF) is here.

I’m sure the report has sparked a blizzard of law firm memoranda to clients discussing the issues raised in the report, including the use of committee assignments on fundraising invitations, the importance of criteria independent of contributions for earmark requests, separating campaign and official functions, the practice of corporate officials or lobbyists referring to contributions in the same communications in which they discuss policy matters, apparent corporate planning efforts for contributions (corporate facilitation issues, anyone?), and the practice of holding fundraisers during mark-ups.  These are just a few of the issues.

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