Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants a Justice Department investigation into whether Richard Grenell, acting intelligence director, failed to notify the department about work he did for foreign entities before joining the administration, CBS News is reporting.
Schumer’s request came on Tuesday in a letter to the Justice Department. Failure to reveal that work as a foreign agent could be in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the network news noted.
ProPublica had reported last week that Grenell did consulting work on behalf of an Eastern European oligarch named Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is now a fugitive and was recently barred from entering the U.S. under anti-corruption sanctions.
Grenell wrote several articles in 2016 defending Plahotniuc, according to ProPublica.
And The Washington Post reported that in 2016, Grenell’s public relations firm was paid for working for a U.S. nonprofit funded almost entirely by the Hungarian government.
"If the reports regarding the nature of Mr. Grenell's undisclosed work with foreign entities are accurate, he may be subject to potential civil and criminal liability as well as vulnerable to blackmail in his new position in the Intelligence Community," Schumer wrote in his letter.
But Craig Engle, a lawyer representing Grenell, said that in instances involving the oligarch and the nonprofit linked to the Hungarian government, Grenell was not required to register.
Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Grenell lacks the experience to be director of national intelligence.
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