FBI Probes Firm Belonging To Brother Of Clinton Campaign Chair For Ukraine Corruption Ties

Tyler Durden's picture

The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine's then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country's pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014).

As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine's then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department.

The 1938 U.S. foreign agents law is intended to track efforts of foreign government's unofficial operatives in the United States. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The issue is that neither Paul Manafort, nor his deputy, Rick Gates, disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law. "There is no question that Gates and Manafort should have registered along with the lobbying firms," said Joseph Sandler of Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, a Democratic-leaning Washington law firm that advises Republican and Democratic lobbyists.

Now if this was the extent of the violations, it would be an open and shut case of potential non-disclosure of lobbying on behalf of a foreign (soon to be overthrown) government, one which could result in felony charges and potential prison time for employees of DMP International, up to and including Manafort. Which is why it is clear why Trump had to quickly get rid of Manafort as his ongoing presence was a major risk factor overhanging the entire Trump campaign, one which could even lead to incarceration and ongoing accusations of pro-Russian influence.

It also explains why as CNN reported yesterday, the FBI and DOJ prosecutors have started a probe into possible US ties to alleged corruption of the former pro-Russian president of Ukraine, including the work of Paul Manafort's firm, according to multiple US law enforcement officials. "The investigation is broad and is looking into whether US companies and the financial system were used to aid alleged corruption by the party of former president Viktor Yanukovych."

* * *

However, where things get trickier is that in addition to Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, other, far more prominent firms are also implicated, chief among them the Podesta Group, headed by Tony Podesta - the brother of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Tony Podesta, the Podesta Group

As reported yesterday, emails obtained by the Associated Press showed that Gates personally directed two Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group, between 2012 and 2014 to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official and senators and congressmen on influential committees involving Ukrainian interests. Gates noted in the emails that the official, Ukraine's foreign minister, did not want to use his own embassy in the United States to help coordinate the visits.

The emails further illustrate how Gates worked with Mercury and the Podesta Group on behalf of Ukrainian political leaders. None of the firms, nor Manafort or Gates, disclosed their work to the Justice Department counterespionage division responsible for tracking the lobbying of foreign governments.

And this is where the plot thickens, because while the bulk of the press has so far spun the entire Ukraine lobbying scandal, which led to Manafort's resignation, as the latest "proof" that pro-Moscow powers were influencing not only Manafort but the Trump campaign in general (who some democrats have even painted of being a Putin agent), the reality is that a firm closely tied with the Democratic party, the Podesta Group, is just as implicated.

As AP further adds, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, a Brussels-linked nonprofit entity which allegely ran the lobbying project, paid Mercury and the Podesta Group a combined $2.2 million over roughly two years. In papers filed in the U.S. Senate, Mercury and the Podesta Group listed the European nonprofit as an independent, nonpolitical client. The firms said the center stated in writing that it was not aligned with any foreign political entity.

Sure enough, the chairman of the Podesta Group, Tony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, repeated the excuse and said his firm believed Gates was working for the nonprofit. Podesta said he was unaware of the firm's work for the Ukraine's Party of Regions, led by Yanukovych. On Thursday, his firm said it had nothing new to add. As BuzzFeed added yesterday, Podesta Group CEO Kimberly Fritts also said in a statement on Thursday that “we were not aware that Rick Gates was a Party of Regions consultant at the time he introduced us to the Centre. We believed he was working for the Centre, as we were hired to do.”

Now political consultants are generally leery of registering under the FARA, and disclosing foreign government clients, because their reputations tends to suffer once they are on record as accepting money to advocate the interests of foreign governments - especially if those interests conflict with America's. Moreover, registering under the law would have required Gates, Manafort or the lobbying firms to disclose the specifics of their lobbying work and their efforts to sway public opinion through media outreach.

However, now that the FBI is involved, Podesta Group has quickly lawyered up and as a statement by CEO Fritts reveals, the firm has hired an outside legal counsel in anticipatory defense for what may be a significant legal battle for the pro-democratic think tank:

The firm has retained Caplin & Drysdale as independent, outside legal counsel to determine if we were misled by the Centre for a Modern Ukraine or any other individuals with regard to the Centre’s potential ties to foreign governments or political parties. When the Centre became a client, it certified in writing that ‘none of the activities of the Centre are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party.’ We relied on that certification and advice from counsel in registering and reporting under the Lobbying Disclosure Act rather than the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We will take whatever measures are necessary to address this situation based on Caplin & Drysdale’s review, including possible legal action against the Centre.”

A quick primer on Tony Podesta: born 1943, he is an American lobbyist best known for founding the Podesta Group. Podesta has lobbied for a variety of groups, including Bank of America, BP, and Egypt in addition to political campaigns such as Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, and Bill Clinton. More recently, he has worked for Pennsylvania Democratic representatives Joe Sestak, Chris Carney, and Patrick Murphy, and chaired former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's reelection campaign.  He is closely connected with the Barack Obama White House and has repeatedly been named one of Washington's most powerful lobbyists and fundraisers.

An interesting tangent on the power of the Podesta Group was revealed back in 2009 in a brief US News expose:

When the White House proved true to its promise of full disclosure by releasing a list of recent West Wing visitors, the headlines went to the big donors like George Soros, the big movie stars like George Clooney, and the mega-union bosses like Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union.


But to insiders, the list showed something else: The power of the Podesta family. Between them, Obama adviser and former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta; his brother, lobbyist Tony Podesta; and Tony's lobbying wife Heather made 25 visits. By comparison, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made one visit.


For John Podesta, the rise as one of Washington's influentials is richly deserved. He runs the Center for American Progress, which has become a very influential policy shop for the Democrats. He also was Obama's transition chief. According to the White House list, he met with the president twice and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel three times. As for the Podesta lobbying husband-and-wife team, their legendary influence has now been stamped with the White House seal of approval.

The Democratic White House's seal of approval that is. Some other examples of Podesta Group clients lientele over the years according to Open Secrets: BAE Systems, BP, Credit Suisse Group, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, General Electric, KKR & Co, Lockheed Martin, Monsanto Co, Wal-Mart Stores and Wells Fargo. Of course, this is just a small fraction and you can examine the entire list here.

Where things get even trickier is when looking at recent disclosures of who we know the Podesta Group has received substantial cash from. Namely Saudi Arabia. Recall from an April 2016 article in The Hill, discussing the fallout from the disclosure of Saudi ties in the Sept 11 terrorist attack, which as reported previously, was initially heavily frowned upon by the Saudis:

Five of the firms work for the Saudi Arabia Embassy, while another two — Podesta Group and BGR Group — have registered to represent the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, an arm of the government.

* * *

The dispute is causing a diplomatic storm for the Obama administration; Saudi Arabia has long been an ally of the U.S. despite the country’s history of abusing human rights.


The country has some top-flight representation in Washington — at a hefty price tag.


The Podesta Group is billing Saudi Arabia $140,000 a month for its public relations services. During the last few months of 2015, it sent 27 emails, had two phone calls and one meeting with lawmakers and staffers, journalists, and organizations including Human Rights Watch and the Center for American Progress, disclosure forms show.

Most recently, however, the Podesta Group made a curious appearance in early June, when the website Middle-East Eye caught a shocking statement by the Jordan News Agency (Petra), revealed that the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made various traditionally diplomatic statements about the US ahead of his visit to the US, which also included the stunning claim that Riyadh has provided 20% of the total funding to the prospective Democratic candidate's campaign, something which is considered illegal. This is what bin Salman was quoted as saying:

"Saudi Arabia always has sponsored both Republican and Democratic Party of America and in America current election also provide with full enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of Hillary Clinton’s election even though some events in the country don’t have a positive look to support the king of a woman (sic) for presidency."

Below is a screenshot of the English report published, and which then was quickly deleted, by the Petra News Agency

However, according to an update by MEE just the next day, a spokesperson for the Podesta Group contacted MEE to say that they work with the Saudi Royal Court and to request a correction to the earlier story that said the Jordanian news agency had deleted the quotes from Prince Mohammed.

Senior global communications specialist Will Bohlen - who, prior to joining Podesta, was chief researcher for a best-selling history of Bill Clinton's presidency - sent a link to a clarification issued by the Petra News Agency which said it was "totally false and untrue" that they had published then deleted the quotes from Prince Mohammed about funding the Clinton campaign.


"A technical failure on Petra ’s website occurred for a few minutes on Sunday evening, 12 June 2016," the Jordanian news agency said. "Protection systems at the agency as well as the technical department noticed that and therefore, they suspended the transmission system and the electronic site and moved to the alternative website.


"Later, it became clear that the technical failure that occurred was an attempt to hack the agency’s transmission system and its website. The agency was surprised to see some media outlets as well as the social media publishing false news that were attributed to Petra. They said that Petra transmitted a news item related to the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and later deleted this news item. This is totally false and untrue."

As we said at the time, "one can see why Podesta would be worried: it is illegal in the United States for foreign countries to try and influence the outcome of elections by funding candidates. Naturally, Bohlen said he could confirm that Saudi Arabia has provided no funding to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The question is now that the cat is out of the bag, can others?"

For the record, we find the story that someone would hack the Jordanian News Agency to insert a boring interview with a Saudi crown prince, hard to believe and if anything, the involvement of the Podesta Group dramatically increases the odds that what the Saudi prince revealed may have been the unvarnished truth.

We concluded by saying that "we leave it up to readers to decide how credible the Podesta-inspired explanation by Petra is that someone would hack the Jordanian news agency just to insert an interview with the Saudi deputy crown prince, which said nothing inflamatory, or defamatory, but merely made reference to just how much money the Saudis had spent on getting Hillary elected. In many other nations, merely these revelations should have been sufficient for the mainstream media to probe and inquire further to find out just how much of the Podesta statement is a lie, how deep are the inherent, and allegedly illegal, conflicts of interest if indeed Saudi Arabia has been funding a potential future US president, both directly and indirectly,  and how much money the Saudis have spent on Hillary's presidential campaign: an easy check by the authorities who monitor every wire transfer out of the Kingdom and its agents."

* * *

For now, the Clinton campaign has avoided any outside focus whether the Saudis have indeed ilegally funded it by millions of dollars, meaning the Podesta Group has done its job. However, the ironic twist is that with Manafort having become the fall guy for the Ukraine lobbying and corruption scandal, the very Podesta Group which is the stalwart defender of Hillary's presidential campaign, run incidentally by the brother of the firm's founder, is now being investigated in a totally separate matter.

Alas, if the recent interaction between the FBI and Hillary Clinton is any indication, we doubt much more will be revealed, and this latest scandal will quickly quiet down, even if it appears that Democrats were as involved in Ukraine illegal lobbying as Paul Manafort himself.

Finally, we wonder if now that the media is so clearly focused on Ukrainian money flows into the US, if it will just as ardently pursue a story first reported last March by the WSJ which revealed that the Clinton Foundation had received millions of dollars from a Ukrainian oligarch who between 2009 and 2013 had been pushing for closer ties to the European Union:

Between 2009 and 2013, including when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, according to that foundation, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine. It was created by Mr. Pinchuk, whose fortune stems from a pipe-making company. He served two terms as an elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament and is a proponent of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union.


In 2008, Mr. Pinchuk made a five-year, $29 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the foundation that coordinates charitable projects and funding for them but doesn’t handle the money. The pledge was to fund a program to train future Ukrainian leaders and professionals “to modernize Ukraine,” according to the Clinton Foundation. Several alumni are current members of the Ukrainian Parliament. Actual donations so far amount to only $1.8 million, a Pinchuk foundation spokesman said, citing the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.


The Pinchuk foundation said its donations were intended to help to make Ukraine “a successful, free, modern country based on European values.” It said that if Mr. Pinchuk was lobbying the State Department about Ukraine, “this cannot be seen as anything but a good thing.”

In 2014, the well-funded wishes of the Pinchuk Foundation were ultimately realized when Ukraine, with the help of the US State Department (recall from February 2014: ""F**k The EU" - US State Department Blasts Europe; Revealed As Alleged Mastermind Behind Ukraine Unrest"), underwent a violent presidential coup, which led to the exile of then-president Viktor Yanukovich, a far "closer" relationship between Ukraine and Europe, the appointment of Joe Biden's son, Hunter, on the board of Ukraine energy giant Burisma Holdings, and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Alas, we doubt that anyone in the media will pursue allegations that a Ukraine billionaire was funding the Clinton Campaign - with a very specific goal in mind - with the same effort as it did to show how Paul Manafort had been in bed with Pinchuk's number one opponent.

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Looney's picture


From Hillary’s upcoming book The Cankles’ Memoirs:

Bill breastfed Chelsea from the day she was born up until her High School graduation.

Even when Monica Lewinski was non-sexually fellating my husband in the Oval Office, the then 16-year-old Chelsea wouldn’t let his nipple go.

She was suckling while Bill was giving the order to bomb Yugoslavia.

She was chewing Bill’s nipple when he walked in on me and Huma in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Some people may find it unusual, but nobody told us that a child should be weaned.

Although, it may have left Chelsea with a badly misshapen mouth and Bill with a 5-inch-long left nipple, it kept them both fucking quiet for 18 years!

Looney   ;-)

Manthong's picture

..but don’t you know, she looks a lot like Web

Manthong's picture

and so where is coke head hunter biden nowadays?

Manthong's picture

..and the u f’n  us did not get Sevastopol and the rooskies still have their warm water port….

Thousands of people have been murdered…

Monsanto might not want to plant its GMO’s in the shelled breadbasket…

But Hunter Biden likely still has a pretty good gig in Kiev.

ACES FULL's picture

Who in the hell would want to "probe" a Clinton? All that money and surgery and Chelsea is still fkn ugly.

Is it just me or did she look like she wanted to run off stage during her DNC speech on how great and loving her Mom is. That is one dysfunctional family,just goes to show that money isn't everything. All that "power" Bill and Hillary have amassed and they will be worm bait soon,such a shame. I think Chelsea will take her riches and fade from public eye,she knows what "behind the scenes" really looks like and its not pretty.

falconer's picture
falconer (not verified) ACES FULL Aug 20, 2016 9:51 AM

the Clintons are hillbillies w/ $

Manthong's picture

OK.. cool

It’s time to pile on.

..at least she married a jewish failed hedge fund manager.

..and she had a spawn.

gargoylian's picture
gargoylian (not verified) Manthong Aug 20, 2016 9:57 AM

The truth about the conflict with Russia in Ukraine. https://goo.gl/nKJndT

Stackers's picture

Everyone should read Washinton's farewell address. The man was a walking prophet.



Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption,

bamawatson's picture

clinton is a walking profit

Manthong's picture

“The truth about the conflict with Russia in Ukraine”

Here is all you need to know…

Vicky F’n Nuland, Chevron, Monsanto, Cargill

.. and they all fell on their evil f’n faces.

johngaltfla's picture

Of anyone needs to know about how there will be no prosecution, the answer is easy:

His name is "Podesta."

There is no way they go after anyone with that last name as his brother knows WHERE ALL THE BODIES ARE BURIED in the DNC.

Citxmech's picture

WTF are the chances that high-ups in BOTH party candidates have direct ties to foreign corruption in Ukraine?

JFC. . . 

Killdo's picture

my Montenegrian friend's wife's twin sister is married into that family. She tod me when he walks into his house in Greece - all women stand up like in military

HowdyDoody's picture

Somehow or other, Biden's son Hunter gained a high position in a Ukraine company Burisma Holdings, with rights to exploit shale oil/gas deposits in east Ukraine, hence the ethnic cleansing there. Kolomoisky, the Jewish-Ukrainian oligarch reportedly behind the worst of the neo-nazi ethnc cleansers was also involved.


As to who runs the Ukraine government at ground level





falconer's picture
falconer (not verified) Manthong Aug 20, 2016 9:57 AM

are we sure that kid isn't Bill's- that's how they roll down in Arky.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) falconer Aug 20, 2016 11:25 AM

John Podesta Jan 8, 1949

Pluto closes in on Podesta, conjunct this Sun/Jupiter in Capricorn and square to Neptune Libra (hidden partnerships)

His moon is in Aries, maybe Uranus conjunct it now plus Pluto square.

He won't survive this, he must have known. Don't any of these idiots use this ancient art?

ACES FULL's picture

So possibly his Uranus sphincter will conjunct with someones pitchfork?

ACES FULL's picture

I'm starting to see a pattern that lot's of super successful,super rich goy marry their kids into the tribe. Have they stumbled across something by the time they have achieved their success in whatever form? Are they simply marrying into Jewish tribe or is it Zionist tribe?

Manthong's picture


Live it, learn it, love it.........


..unles you are a west viginia whiskey drinking patriot.

Harlequin001's picture

What's the point?

Oh yeah, poor people. There's still the poor people...

Need to keep the FBI for them eh...

Manthong's picture

good morning, Canada

I do not want to defend Comey's crooked Federal Bullshit Investigations, but

getting back to the Zionists, you know how small a segment of the population they are…

but the part of them that come from a certain region have hugely disproportionate IQ’s.

..and they become the bankers.


Killdo's picture

I disagree - they are not at all more cleaver than average peopel - I studied with them. It's a myth they perpetuate. 

They are not even wise, just greedy and they all tell stories about their control-freak mothers

Not happy peopel at all - I have never met a happy jew (apart from maybe 2 old ones)

paranoid, self-hating 'culture'

HowdyDoody's picture

The Holocaust took out 6 million out of 12 million or so Jews. Want to place any bets on where the victims fell in the IQ scale and what that 50% cull meant for subsequent 'average' Jewish IQ?

ACES FULL's picture

I know I obsess on the distinction or lack thereof on Jewish vs Zionist. It means a great deal to me cause I'm keeping a mental list see,in case events unfold in a certain way.

And,I thought Harlequin was from Britain,not Canada?

Manthong's picture


one does not need to be a hoser to get that right.

maybe canadians really want to be british, except for the Frogs in Quebeck.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) ACES FULL Aug 20, 2016 11:09 AM

Yes they do marry the tribe.

All money goes to Jewish pockets in the end.

Manthong's picture


there is some sanity on this site.

bob_bichen's picture
bob_bichen (not verified) Manthong Aug 20, 2016 11:46 AM

"..at least she married a jewish failed hedge fund manager**."

** whose father (Chelsea's father in law) is  a convicted felon (for defrauding investors)!


Manthong's picture


at least you know.

the fat F criminal whose Chelsea's lips resemble.

ACES FULL's picture

I resemble that remark sir:) and I have complete contempt for the Clintons. BTW,Hillary is not from Arkansas. She carefully studied her options,watched Bill closely and correctly guessed that he could go really far in politics. They have a business partnership,nothing more,got married and had one child(possibly by mistake cause its Web's kid)to complete the illusion of a happy,conventional American family. Anyone who watches them all together and interacting at something like the DNC convention should see this. Clear as day to me.

RAT005's picture

I'm curious about the story of Killary's abortions.  Does anyone have some leads for a good starting point?

ACES FULL's picture

Don't have any info but don't doubt it one bit. One kid completed the illusion of the All-American family,more than one kid would interfere with their considerable ambitions. Will lay a blind bet here though,if Hillary ever did get an abortion,I will bet a considerable sum of fiat that said doctor has been Arkancided to silence him/her forever. Start your investigation there,maybe?

Manthong's picture

um... how do you abort a barren womb ????


..and the other thought I had is

"How do you spell MENA airfield  ??????".

ZD1's picture

"I'm curious about the story of Killary's abortions."




Killary is a lesbo man-dyke and only other lesbos like Huma have seen her dried up vagina.

bh2's picture

That's an undeserved insult to hillbillies.

Killdo's picture

she knows what "behind the scenes" really looks like and its not pretty.

in fact it's as ugly as she is

Infocat's picture

This type of corruption is nothing extraordinary for our so called elites, which is why we need to replace them with new ones: http://www.truthjustice.net

LasVegasDave's picture

First thing we do, lets kill all the lobbyists.

Lobbying for taxpayer funds after serving in govt. should be punishable by a televised execution on PBS.

falconer's picture
falconer (not verified) LasVegasDave Aug 20, 2016 9:53 AM

even AIPAC, Dave? I don't think the (((Marxists))) that run PBS would go for that

Manthong's picture

Wow.. you guys are in industrial nazi territory now

Do you realize how high the body mound from >30K lobbyists would be?

Oops, my bad…

That’s what Cats excaviting a hole are for.


ACES FULL's picture

Caterpillar really needs sales too. Lets get started. Bullish for the economy.

LasVegasDave's picture

Yes, Falconer, even AIPAC.

ack's picture

Kill aipac. It's the hydra head. Rest don't matter.  

ACES FULL's picture

Agreed Dave,can we cut ALL foreign aid also?

Father ¢hristmas's picture

But if you kill all the lobbyists, who would write legislation?*chuckle*

It should be fairly evident by now that most of Congress is incapable of tying their own goddamn shoes.

Shit, half these nimrods can't pay a prostitute without without the NYT publishing a think piece on it.

Nah, ZH'ers need to pool a small percentage of their stacks to lobby for government contracts.

markar's picture

This" excerpt" should be preceded by a beverage warning

scm's picture

"Outsider" is a fucking joke.
Thump works for Hillary. He IS their insurance policy in case she was either arrested or dropped dead.

It's amazing that the hate his supporters have for one person is so much greater than for the love of Liberty.

Seek_Truth's picture

scm = soros-commie-muslim?

scm = soros-clinton-masturbator?