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Seven members of House defense subcommittee scrutinized by ethics investigators

The OCE has interviewed some of the lawmakers, including Kaptur last week and Moran a few weeks ago. It has invited others in for interviews, such as Visclosky, and posed numerous questions to the members' staff.

Moran, a senior member of the defense panel whose former top aide went to work for the PMA Group, said he recently sat for a lengthy interview with two aides from the OCE. He said he asked the new ethics office to interview all of his current and former staff members, including his former chief of staff who became a PMA lobbyist, Melissa Koloszar.

"I said they should be interviewed separately, privately and completely," he said. "We wanted them to investigate."

Two investigations

Several Hill staffers said they are confused by what appears to be a dual track, with the OCE and the ethics committee simultaneously pursuing similar questions.

Kaptur's spokesman said her office does not understand the duplication but is happy to answer all questions. "The congresswoman has always emphasized openness and transparency, and it almost goes without saying she will continue to cooperate with the OCE and, if it goes to the [ethics committee], with that committee as well," said Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought. "She has nothing to hide."

Murtha's office declined to comment. The offices and representatives of Dicks, Visclosky, Young and Tiahart did not respond to questions about the scrutiny.

As the ethics committee began gathering evidence this summer about PMA's operating methods on Capitol Hill, it contacted the office of Nunes, who had earlier complained to the committee about a lobbyist's aggressiveness in seeking an earmark. Nunes agreed to comment on the incident when The Post asked him about detailed information it had obtained about his complaint.

"I didn't appreciate being threatened," Nunes said. "To me, it was a symptom of the disease we have in Congress, where a lot of members have simply gotten addicted to contributions from companies that are getting their earmarks."

Don Fleming, the PMA lobbyist who allegedly threatened Nunes, is now at Flagship Government Relations, a firm started by several departed PMA lobbyists. Fleming did not confirm the encounter, but he said in a statement Thursday that "an important responsibility of any government relations professional is to communicate to policymakers the impact that their decisions have on our clients." He added that he has "always adhered to the strictest code of professional ethics."

Moran said he continued to believe that Magliocchetti was a good lobbyist who knew that he had to get Defense Department backing for the earmarks he was seeking from Capitol Hill. Describing him as "the only Democratic defense [lobbyist] for the most part," Moran said Magliocchetti also was someone Democrats naturally turned to for fundraising help from the military contractor community.

"When you needed to raise money for the Democratic campaign committee, he was always the first one you went to," Moran said, adding, "I don't know how he raised his money."

Moran hosted an event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in his Alexandria home last year, the lawmaker said, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the guest of honor. Magliocchetti and some of his clients were in attendance, writing checks for $28,500 each, Moran said.

Staff writers Paul Kane and Ellen Nakashima and research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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