BY Benjamin Lesser
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy got thousands of dollars in campaign checks from a lobbyist and his son who've since been charged with funneling illegal cash to politicians.
At the same time the money was pouring in, McCarthy sponsored millions of taxpayer dollars in congressional "earmarks" for some of the lobbyist's clients, records show. [See who donates the most money to McCarthy.]
Since 2007, the Long Island Democrat has steered $4.3 million to two clients of the now-defunct PMA Group, a lobbying firm that employed the recently indicted Paul Magliocchetti and his son, Mark.
The Magliocchettis were charged Aug. 4 for what federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., say were illegal campaign contributions made from at least 2003 through 2008.
Paul Magliocchetti has pleaded not guilty. Mark Magliochetti has pleaded guilty to one count of making illegal donations. He admitted that he routinely acted as a conduit for donations made by others to Congress members - an illegal tactic aimed at hiding the true source of the money.
In his plea, Mark Magliocchetti admitted making as much as $200,000 in illegal donations from 2002 through 2008. Records show that since 2006, McCarthy has been the recipient of $11,200 from Mark Magliocchetti, his wife and two others implicated in the scheme.
At the same time, McCarthy also received at least $50,000 in campaign checks from PMA group employees, associates and clients.
The Daily News has reported on a $1 million earmark McCarthy sponsored for a PMA client in 2007 - Premier Micronutrient Corp. of Nashville.
That money funded the company's research into "therapeutic countermeasures for chemical agents" like mustard gas. A Long Island firm, Tishcon, also was involved in the project.
Executives with Premier did not respond to questions about the earmarks or the status of the project.
In the weeks before the initial March 2007 request and after it was ultimately approved, McCarthy received $23,000 from company executives and PMA lobbyists. She told The News at the time that PMA held a fund-raiser for her.
She obtained another $800,000 for the same project the next year. Just as in 2007, McCarthy received substantial campaign contributions, this time $19,000, from PMA employees and others associated with the firm in the weeks leading up to the request. Last year, her request for $3.2 million more for Tishcon and the countermeasure research was denied.
McCarthy also secured a $2.5million earmark for a second PMA client, ITT Defense Systems, in 2008 for work on a new rocket launcher. ITT did not respond to a request for comment.
PMA Group was the top contributor to McCarthy in the 2006 ($19,700) and 2008 ($28,600) elections, according to an analysis of campaign finance reports by the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.
McCarthy, a Democrat, failed to respond to repeated requests for comment.
Federal prosecutors claim Mark Magliocchetti would ask family members, employees and others to make campaign donations and then reimburse them for those donations. The feds say the candidates who received the donations were unaware of the supposed illegal activity.