Podesta Group CEO Unexpectedly Quits Just Days After Tony's Departure

Less than two weeks after John Podesta's brother, Tony, quit as head of the prominent Democratic lobbying group, the Podesta Group just days after it was revealed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller was investigating Podesta for potentially violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his work involving Ukraine clients, Politico reported overnight that Podesta Group longtime CEO, Kimberley Fritts, is leaving the firm to start her own lobbying shop, according to three Podesta Group staffers.

Tony Podesta

Tony Podesta tapped Fritts as his successor when he announced he'd step down as chairman last week, hours after an indictment charging Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, with violating foreign lobbying law, was unsealed. As a reminder, the widely leaked indictment accused Manafort of hiring the Podesta Group to lobby for an ostensibly independent nonprofit that “was under the ultimate direction” of the Ukrainian president, his party and the Ukrainian government.

And while Fritts had been expected to relaunch the Podesta Group - under a new name of course - in the days after Podesta stepped down, after just a week of trying to hammer out the details of what the new firm would look like, Fritts announced at a staff meeting late on Thursday that she would resign and start a new firm, "exacerbating questions about the future of the Podesta Group and its dozens of employees" as Politico politely puts it. Which, of course, is a less polite way of saying that the Podesta group is almost certain to be formally charged for the same violations that dragged down Manafort.

Fitts' was just the latest exodus from the sinking ship: last week Paul Brathwaite, a Podesta Group principal, said that he was leaving to start his own shop, Federal Street Strategies.

Politico quoted one Podesta Group staffer who described Fritts’ decision as as the next step in rebuilding the firm without Tony Podesta: “Tony Podesta’s name had become a scarlet letter,” the staffer said, speaking on condition of anonymity."

Wells Fargo and Oracle, two of the firm's highest-paying clients, cut ties with the firm, although others said last week they would stick with the Podesta Group for now.

But it's not clear how many staffers — and how many of the firm's clients — will follow Fritts to her new firm.

 

"I just don't know," said another Podesta Group staffer. "This is a really painful process, trying to navigate who can go with and who can be let go."

 

Fritts declined to comment.

While neither Tony Podesta, nor the Podesta Group has been charged publicly with crimes in the Manafort investigation, that is likely to change in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, rival lobbying firms see the implosion of the Podesta Group as a prime moment to poach the Podesta Group’s top lobbyists. At least six other firms have reached out to Podesta

Comments

TheDude1224 tmosley Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:44 Permalink

Bob Mueller is hired to find connections between Russia and the election, aka Russia and Trump collusion because, let's be fair, we all know Hillary didn't have any Russian ties (/sarc). Bob Mueller rolls out indictments nearly a year later involving lobbyists and Ukraine? What the actual hell!?! Can this "special counsel" be ended already? This ridiculous distraction is completely worthless and will accomplish nothing.

In reply to by tmosley

E5 ghengis86 Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:34 Permalink

Ukraine is NOT Russia.The government is a coup of Nazi's who Obama illegally recognized without the 1 year cooling off period.  Any way you slice this you get Democrats.  Why any surprise?  These are the party of the USSR... central planning, social programs... wake up people.  If you are a member of a political party you have sworn allegience to a group whose sole purpose is the complete overthrow of the government of the citizens loyal to their United States.  Republican or Democrat: you are by definition anti-american.

In reply to by ghengis86

bladrnr_2019 E5 Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:48 Permalink

As much as I am trying to believe it, Mueller seems to be going after the holy cabal of the Democrat party. I think from what I have been reading from many sources is that the dam is about ready to blow and everyone is going down. PizzaGate, Uranium One, Russuan Collusion, money laundering, running a child sex trafficking ring from countries where they have had hurricanes and other devastations. The house of cards is falling. Trump sourrounded himself with generals for a reason. I think Mueller took a plea. Maybe he changed his tune. Many, many unsealed indictments in numerical order are awaiting to be opened. Follow Q.

In reply to by E5

Lumberjack The Wizard Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:15 Permalink

What bothers me is the Ukraine thingy. Penny Pritzker, then Commerce Secretary (now head of the Obama Foundation) did quite a lot in Ukraine.

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timeinc.net/fortune/2014/10/06/secretary…

She also used a private email account to discuss things with John Podesta.

Her name also appears in the Paradise papers.

Her brother who is running for Illinois Governor, has 3 entities listed in the Panama Papers.

In reply to by The Wizard

buzzsaw99 Miss Expectations Fri, 11/10/2017 - 10:03 Permalink

i think it has more to do with them keeping us fighting amongst ourselves.  "they" are organized, we aren't.  congress is nothing but cheap whores.  $50K here, a steak dinner there, give their daughter in law a job for a few years.  the people could easily afford that.  hell $10 per person could buy the whole legislative branch.  when the shtf things will change for the worse for everyone, even them.  the congressional whores are cheap, cheap, cheap, but they are also weak and easily extorted by the maggots.

In reply to by Miss Expectations