Why lobbyists like Manafort don't want to register as foreign agents
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 15, 2017,
Apr 15, 2017, 6:45
Paul Manafort, who served past year as U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign manager, is planning to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort had a big day Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, Manafort received $1.2 million in off-the-book payments from Yanukovych's party while the Russian-backed leader was still in power. Since returning to the US after advising the Ukrainian presidential campaigns of Viktor Yanukovych from 2004 to 2010, Manafort has used shell companies to invest millions of dollars in properties in New York, Florida, Virginia, and Los Angeles. But in a statement to the AP Manfort said that "any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work" and that these were paid "via wire transfer" rather than the cash payments suggested in the ledger.
Investigators examining Manafort's compliance with the foreign agents registration law have focused on a think tank in Brussels, The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which paid at least $2.2 million to two USA lobbying firms to burnish the image of Yanukovych's government in Washington, the sources said. Manafort is the second Trump aide to register as a foreign agent.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn might have kept his involvement with the government of Turkey under wraps while on the Trump team.
KIM: Manafort, who also once worked for a Kremlin-connected Russian tycoon, was the first Trump adviser forced to sever connections because of his links to Moscow. It was not clear Wednesday whether Manafort was considering filing reports based on foreign work he did outside of Ukraine.
Aside from questions about his already Murky financial dealings, Manafort is also dealing with probes into his potential ties to Russian Federation.
"Since before the 2016 election, Mr. Manafort has been in discussions with federal authorities about the advisability of registering under FARA for some of his past political work". Until the FBI finishes its investigation, however, exactly what Manafort's work as a foreign agent meant in relation to his campaign position will remain unclear.
In an August interview, Mercury partner Vin Weber told the AP that his firm had never taken guidance from or coordinated with Manafort or Gates about the work.
It was also revealed today that after stepping down from the campaign, Manafort received millions in loans from Trump-tied companies, including one allied with a Ukrainian billionaire.
KIM: "I absolutely don't agree with the way Manafort is characterized now", Yermolayev says, "because he had his principles and supported Ukraine joining the West". Manafort closed the accounts after questions from bank officials, the sources said.
Initially, Podesta officials said they were advised that the Brussels group was a nonprofit that was not financed directly by Yanukovych or his political party.