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WashPost: Mueller's Work is 'Draining the Swamp' of Lobbyists

WashPost: Mueller's Work is 'Draining the Swamp' of Lobbyists
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 25 November 2017 11:11 AM

Robert Mueller's work investigating Russian collusion and interference in the 2016 election may be having an unintentional side effect that are meeting  President Donald Trump's often-repeated promise to "drain the swamp."

Mueller's work has already resulted in exposing the work lobbyists are doing in favor of foreign governments, reports The Washington Post, and has already claimed one victim — the powerful Podesta Group and its owner, Tony Podesta.

The company, which has wielded its influence for years, recently said it would be closing shop after Mueller's investigators revealed that it had been paid to work on a public relations campaign organized by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to promote Ukraine in the United States.

Podesta announced his decision to leave his firm on the same day Manafort and former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates were indicted in late October on multiple charges, including money laundering, operating as federal agents of the Ukrainian government, failing to disclose overseas bank accounts and making false statement to federal authorities.

The Washington Post notes that after Mueller's appointment, people and firms have been filing or amending registrations to make the work they do for foreign interests public.

“My colleagues are being contacted by waves of clients concerned about this,” Joe Sandler, an ethics and lobbying lawyer in Washington who specializes in Foreign Agents Registration Act issues, commented.

Podesta's company had long provided access to Washington's power elite by hosting events for domestic and international clients. Podesta, 74, is the brother of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign chairman John Podesta.

Even though Mueller was appointed to investigate the Russian influence matter, his work and other inquiries are far reaching, and the charges Manafort and Gates face are related to their alleged dealings with Ukraine, not to the few months they worked on the Trump campaign.

The indictments against Manafort and Gates include charges of not accurately reporting lobbying work they'd done for a Ukrainian political party, and referred to "Company A and Company B," later identified as the Podesta group and another lobbying firm, Mercury LLC, a lobbying dynamo that includes former Minnesota GOP Rep. Vin Weber.

Mercury and Podesta officials have said they have cooperated with investigators, but did not file, as required under federal law, on the advice of their attorneys.

Podesta, however, told employees when he resigned that it was "impossible to run a public affairs firm while you are under attack by Fox News and the right-wing media.”

Podesta Chief Executive Kimberley Fritts, meanwhile, told the company's staff the firm was to close, and that she was forming her own firm, Cogent Strategies, which includes many of the former Podesta Group employees, effectively keeping the company going under a different name and without its founder.

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Politics
Robert Mueller's work investigating Russian collusion and interference in the 2016 election may be having an unintentional side effect that are meeting  President Donald Trump's often-repeated promise to "drain the swamp."
mueller, draining, swamp, lobbyists
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2017-11-25
Saturday, 25 November 2017 11:11 AM
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