Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the investigation into Russian meddling, has now set his sights on Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group. Despite the mainstream media’s obsession with Russia, this juicy scoop was largely ignored by CNN, Washington Post, and the New York Times.
According to a report from NBC News, the criminal inquiry into the brother of Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager John Podesta and his lobbying firm came from information found while investigating Paul Manafort and the ECMU.
“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,” NBC News reported.
According to multiple sources who spoke to NBC News, the investigation was initially a fact-finding mission, but has morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Under FARA, people who lobby on behalf of foreign governments or interests must register with the Justice Department and disclose their spending. Failure to do so is a felony that can result in up to five years in prison. The Podesta Group complied with FARA only after media reports documented their work with Ukraine.
Though CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times have been frothing at the mouth over any links to Russia from the right — this juicy criminal inquiry of a Democratic donor did not make it to the front page of any of their websites by Monday afternoon.
“The report said the ECMU campaign was designed to sway public opinion and included attempts to solicit favorable press coverage in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal,” NBC said of the ECMU’s pro-Ukraine lobbying campaign.
In a statement to NBC, the Podesta Group said that it “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.”
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