Longtime Podesta Group CEO and former Jeb Bush staffer, Kimberly Fritts, is leaving the firm to start her own lobbying operation, three Podesta Group staffers told Politico.
Tony Podesta, who co-founded the Podesta Group with brother John Podesta, announced his resignation last Monday – hours after Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, surrendered to the FBI in connection to Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“Tony Podesta’s name had become a scarlet letter,” a Podesta Group staffer toldPolitico, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding “I expect a lot of the top talent will go with her.”
The Podesta Group had originally planned to reorganize under a different name under the direction of Fritts, however she announced her resignation during a Thursday staff meeting. Paul Brathwaite, a Podesta Group principal, said last week that he was leaving to start his own shop, Federal Street Strategies.
As Politicoreported last week, the Podesta Group was “hustling to hang on to as many clients as possible,” amid two of the firm’s highest-paying clients, Oracle and Wells Fargo, jumping ship.
On the Fritts
Despite Fritts’s departure, her Podesta Group past may follow – as she is directly involved in the Russian influence scandal. Between 2012-2014, Frittssigned off onfive FARA bi-annual supplemental statements which failed to disclose Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group’s use of a Ukrainian shell corporation to peddle Russian influence throughout Washington DC.
Fritts then retroactively filed asupplemental disclosureon April 12, 2017 that amended three years of omissions, which include the Podesta Group’s work with Paul Manafort and the Ukrainian shell corporation. (h/t MaryLander1109)
Podesta and his now-disbanded firm are said to be a major focus in the Mueller investigation – with the DC lobbying shop identified as “Company B” in Manafort’s indictment.
As we reportedtwo weeks ago, a former longtime Podesta Group executive who was extensively interviewed by Mueller’s Special Counsel, told Fox’s Tucker Carlson that Paul Manafort and the Podesta Group had worked together since at least 2011 to peddle a “parade” of Russian oligarchs throughout DC.
Manafort, who was reportedly at the Podesta Group’s DC office “all the time, at least once a month,” worked with Tony Podesta through a shell group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU).
The executive also reported that Russia’s “central effort” was the Obama Administration.In order to get closer to the Clinton State Department – John Podesta reportedly recommended Clinton’s chief adviser at State, David Adams, for a job with the Podesta Group – giving the lobbying firm a “direct liaison”between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
The David Adams hire fits hand-in-glove with with the timing of the notorious Uranium One deal – which ultimately saw 20 percent of American uranium sold over a period of several years to the Kremlin, after over $140 million was donated by Uranium One interests to the Clinton Foundation.
As part of the approval process for the transaction, the nine-member Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) – largely considered a joke – had to sign off. Curiously, internet researcher Katicauncovered documentsobtained through a FOIA requiest which revealed FBI records retention requests to each member of the CFIUS who signed off on the Uranium One deal – weeks after the Clinton email investigation began.
“The committee almost never met, and when it deliberated it was usually at a fairly low bureaucratic level,” Richard Perle said. Perle, who has worked for the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations added, “I think it’s a bit of a joke.” –CBS
Notably,the Podesta Group lobbied for Uranium Onewhile failing to file as a foreign agent, with Tucker Carlson’s source revealing that Tony Podesta coordinated with a Clinton Foundation employee to discuss how to help the Russian-owned mining company.
“Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation.” –Former PG Exec
Bribes, Kickbacks and Art
In addition to hiding behind shady accounting, the Podesta Group had no board oversight, and all financial decisions were reportedly made by Tony Podesta, said Tucker Carlson’s source, who added that “payments and kickbacks could be hard for investigators to trace,” describing a “highly secret treasure trove”which could be used to conceal financial transactions – including Tony Podesta’s vastart collection.
All of this, according to Carlson’s source, while Kimberly Fritts filed bogus FARA reports on behalf of the Podesta Group. It will be interesting to see if she emerges from Mueller’s probe unscathed.