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Manafort Under Fire for Undisclosed Lobbying for Pro-Russian Party in Ukraine

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly paid at least $2.2 million to two Washington lobbying firms in 2012 with the help of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports

Manafort’s actions, which effectively obscured the party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy, are coming to light as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of attorneys are investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Federal law makes it a crime punishable by up to five years in prison for lobbyists to fail to declare their representation of foreign leaders or their political parties.

The AP wrote:

Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump’s campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.

People with direct knowledge of Gates’ work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president’s political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

The nonprofit, the newly created European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, was governed by a board that initially included parliament members from Yanukovych’s party. The nonprofit subsequently paid at least $2.2 million to the lobbying firms to advocate positions generally in line with those of Yanukovych’s government.

That lobbying included downplaying the necessity of a congressional resolution meant to pressure the Ukrainian leader to release an imprisoned political rival.

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