Is Murtha Trying to Distance Himself From Magliocchetti?

Murtha photoLast night, we received this email under the subject line “Innaccurate (sic) Statement in Story Post” from Matt Mazonkey, Communications Director for Rep. John Murtha:

In a 06/29/09 post (PMA Client Sues Because it Didn’t Get Earmark; More Evidence of Pay-to-Play?), John Carlisle inaccurately stated that “Magliochetti (sic) served as an aide to Murtha.”

Magliochetti (sic) served as a staff analyst for the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Murtha was never Chairman or Ranking Member while Magliochetti (sic) worked for the subcommittee. In fact, Magliochetti (sic) worked for Chairman Bill Chappel and full committee chairman Jamie Whitten.

Please correct this mistake.

Since Murtha’s office seized on such a tiny and debatable “mistake,” I thought it would be fun to call Mazonkey to see how far he would go in trying to distance his boss from Paul Magliocchetti, the former principal of the PMA Group lobbying firm that collapsed shortly after being raided by the FBI.

I asked Mazonkey if Murtha and Magliocchetti were “personal friends.” He responded, “I don’t know how you define personal friends.” He did concede that “they have known each other for twenty years.”

I asked him if he “took issue” with the March 30 New York Times characterization of Magliocchetti as Murtha’s “protégé.” Mazonkey replied, “I do take issue with it.”

Finally, I asked him if “it’s fair to say that Magliocchetti has made a lot of money because he knows Murtha.” Mazonkey said, “I can’t say that, obviously.”

Obviously.

photo: AP/Wide World