Clinton ally worked with Paul Manafort on Ukrainian campaign.
Be careful for what you wish for because it may go your way, but it may also come back to bite you. The left has pressured for an investigation to find collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, but now that investigation has brought in one of their own.
Mueller’s investigation now includes the Podesta Group, headed by Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta…the brother of John Podesta, failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The inclusion came after Mueller looked into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s finances.
NBC News reported this morning:
Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta’s company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine’s image in the West.
The sources said the investigation into Podesta and his company began as more of a fact-finding mission about the ECMU and Manafort’s role in the campaign, but has now morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.
Under FARA, people who lobby on behalf of foreign governments, leaders or political parties must file detailed disclosures about their spending and activities with the Justice Department. Willful failure to file the forms is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison, though such prosecutions are rare.
The group said they are cooperating:
In a statement, a spokesman for the Podesta Group said the firm “is cooperating fully with the Special Counsel’s office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance. In all of our client engagements, the Podesta Group conducts due diligence and consults with appropriate legal experts to ensure compliance with disclosure regulations at all times — and we did so in this case.”
The Podesta Group eventually filed a FARA registration after reports came out about these payments. The Associated Press reported in August 2016:
After being introduced to the lobbying firms, the European nonprofit paid the Podesta Group $1.13 million between June 2012 and April 2014 to lobby Congress, the White House National Security Council, the State Department and other federal agencies, according to U.S. lobbying records.
The nonprofit also paid $1.07 million over roughly the same period to Mercury to lobby Congress. Among other issues, Mercury opposed congressional efforts to pressure Ukraine to release one of Yanukovych’s political rivals from prison.
One former Podesta employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a non-disclosure agreement, said Gates described the nonprofit’s role in an April, 2012 meeting as supplying a source of money that could not be traced to the Ukrainian politicians who were paying him and Manafort.
In separate interviews, three current and former Podesta employees said disagreements broke out within the firm over the arrangement, which at least one former employee considered obviously illegal. Podesta, who said the project was vetted by his firm’s counsel, said he was unaware of any such disagreements.
NBC News stated that the goal of the campaign “was to build support for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union.”
Yeah…that didn’t happen. Ukraine’s Party of Regions, led by former President Viktor Yanukovych, allegedly backed the ECMU. See, Yanukovych was never popular and his “election” has always been under question. Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin backed him and used him to pull Ukraine closer to Russia.
The breaking point came in 2013 when Yanukovych chose those closer ties to Russia rather than closer ties to the European Union. Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, broke out into a three-month protest that only ended on February 22, 2014, when Yanukovych fled to Russia.DONATE
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