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Tony Podesta Resignation Follows String of Foreign Lobbying Disclosure Violations
01 November 2017, 12:38 | Floyd Cook
Lobbyist Tony Podesta Reportedly Leaves The Podesta Group After Coming Under Scrutiny By Robert Mueller
Podesta announced his decision to leave The Podesta Group during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning and is alerting clients of his impending departure, Politico reported.
The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources.
According to Manafort's indictment, he and Gates created a think tank in Brussels, Belgium called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which then solicited lobbying services from two companies that were only identified in the indictment documents as companies "A" and "B".
The Podesta Group and another firm, Mercury Public Affairs, were referenced in the indictments, though not by name.
Da Cruz says what will be important in the coming months is if this alleged collusion with Russian Federation somehow affected the 2016 election - and was President Trump involved?
Flying a bit under the radar given the indictments of Trump campaign staffers, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly been closing in on Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. The claims made Monday are not specifically related to the 2016 election; rather, they largely focus on Manafort's and Gates' activities before joining the Trump campaign. Carlson also reported that Manafort's company, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, was a major client of the Podesta group. Podesta's company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine's image in the West.
But in the wake of the Mueller investigation the Podesta Group has struggled. She added: "The Podesta Group has fully cooperated with the Special Counsel's office and taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms compliance with the law".
The Mueller investigation had initially only delved into the Podesta Group's activities to gather facts on Manafort, whose indictment was announced yesterday, but then began to investigate the Podesta Group itself after it became apparent that it had failed to disclose that it was lobbying in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign actor, a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Between 2012 and 2014, the lobbying firms were paid more than $2 million from the accounts, prosecutors said.
The legal problems for Gates and Manafort lie in their failure to declare the work in filings with the Justice Department required under FARA.
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