aside Lobbyists In The White House Swamp, Flynn, Manafort And Icahn

Remember when our republican President Donald Trump promised at his numerous rallies during the campaign season to “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C., which was meant to end the influence by lobbyists and “special interests.

Note: According to the 3/10/17 McClatchy report by Anita Kumar, “The top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, (Elijah Cummings) told then Vice President-elect Mike Pence in a November (18) letter that the man Donald Trump had tapped to be his national security adviser was lobbying on behalf of a foreign government. The letter, a copy of which was shared with McClatchy, contradicts White House claims that neither Pence nor Trump knew of Michael Flynn’s lobbying until it was revealed in a Justice Department filing this week.”

Here is the rest of the story…

Lobbying by Mike Flynn

On 3/8/17, Stephan Braun and Chad Day of the Associated Press (AP) penned the report, Former Trump aide Flynn says lobbying may have helped Turkey.”

Excerpts:

“President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired from his prominent White House job last month, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying work before Election Day that may have aided the Turkish government.”

“Paperwork filed Tuesday 3/7/17 with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Unit said Flynn and his firm were voluntarily registering for lobbying from August through November that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”

“After his firm’s work on behalf of a Turkish company was done, Flynn agreed not to lobby for five years after leaving government service and never to represent foreign governments.”

“Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, U.S. citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign government or political entities must disclose their work to the Justice Department. Willfully failing to register is a felony, though the Justice Department rarely files criminal charges in such cases. It routinely works with lobbying firms to get back in compliance with the law by registering and disclosing their work.”Image result for photos Ekim Alptekin,

“A Turkish businessman who hired Flynn’s consulting firm told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the amended filings were made in response to pressure from Justice Department officials in recent weeks. The businessman, Ekim Alptekin, said in a phone call from Istanbul that the changes were a response to “political pressure” and he did not agree with Flynn’s decision to file the registration documents with the Justice Department.”

“I disagree with the filing,” he said. “It would be different if I was working for the government of Turkey, but I am not taking directions from anyone in the government.”Related image

“Flynn’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc., had previously disclosed to Congress that it worked for Inovo BV, a Dutch-based company owned by Alptekin. But neither Flynn nor his company had previously filed paperwork with the Justice Department, which requires more extensive transparency about work that benefits foreign governments and political interests.”

“In the filings with the Justice Department, Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, noted they served as a termination of the registration, saying the firm had ceased operations in November, the same month the lobbying contract ended.”

“According to the new paperwork, Flynn’s firm took on the Turkish-related lobbying work in August while he was a top Trump campaign surrogate. Flynn Intel disclosed in its filing that in mid-September, the company was invited by Alptekin to meet with Turkish officials in New York.”Image result for photo of turkish president

“Alptekin, who previously told The Associated Press he has no relationship with the Turkish government, is a member of a Turkish economic relations board run by an appointee of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president.”

“Erdogan’s power base is Turkey’s Islamic voters, and since a failed coup in July, he has accelerated a crackdown against the nation’s weakening secularist faction. Erdogan has accused cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the aborted coup and called for his extradition from the U.S., where he lives. The Obama administration did not comply, and Gulen still lives in a compound in Pennsylvania.”Image result for photo of Fethullah Gulen

“According to the filing, Flynn Intel’s work involved collecting information about Gulen and pressuring U.S. officials to take action against the cleric, including a meeting in October between Flynn’s firm and a representative of the House Homeland Security Committee.”

“Flynn Intel arranged the meeting to discuss a technology developed by another Flynn Intel client. But after discussing the technology, the firm changed the subject to Gulen, pressuring the committee to hold congressional hearings to investigate the cleric, said a U.S. official with direct knowledge of Flynn Intel’s work. That request was rebuffed.”

“The official said Flynn Intel never revealed whom it was representing during the meeting.”

“The October meeting came as Flynn was working on an op-ed promoting Turkey’s political and business affairs that was later published in The Hill, a Washington-based political newspaper. Flynn wrote that Turkey needed support and echoed Erdogan’s warnings about Gulen, whom he called a “shady” Turkish Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania. Flynn argued that Gulen should not be given safe harbor in the U.S.”

“In the new filing, Flynn disclosed that in writing the op-ed, he relied on research conducted as part of the Inovo BV contract. Flynn’s firm also admitted it conducted “open-source research,” directed by Inovo, focusing on Gulen.”

Paul Manafort

As per an 8/17/16  Associated Press article report, AP Sources: Manafort tied to undisclosed foreign lobbying, by Jeff Horwitz and Desmond Butler, showed that Mr. Manafort’s firm had orchestrated a pro-Ukrainian lobbying campaign in Washington without registering as a foreign agent. This article was the impetus which caused him to resign from being Mr. Trump’s campaign manager.

“Under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.”

 “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 (a pro-Russian Putin ally).”

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.”

“The lobbying firms continued the work until shortly after Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014, during a popular revolt prompted in part by his government’s crackdown on protesters and close ties to Russia.”

Viktor Yanukovych in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, 28 February
Yanukovych

Gates told the AP that he and Manafort introduced the lobbying firms to the European Centre nonprofit and occasionally consulted with the firms on Ukrainian politics. He called the actions lawful, and said there was no attempt to circumvent the reporting requirements of the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act.”

“During all this time Paul Manafort along with President Donald Trump continued to declare their lack of knowledge as to how the republican platform’s wording came to be changed regarding the US plan to arm Ukrainians for their defense against Russian aggression, to just providing assistance, before the republican convention.”

“But his state of denial ended on the 3/2/17 Wolf Blitzer CNN TV show, when Jim Acosta, the White House’s senior correspondent reported that J.D. Gordon, another campaign national security advisor for Donald Trump, admitted that he was acting on Mr. Trump’s behalf to have the language in the GOP platform altered regarding arming Ukrainians if they had to protect themselves from pro-Russian separatists.”

Image result for photo of carl Carl Icahn

Carl Icahn

As per a 3/8/17 Politico report by Eric Wolff , President Trump’s adviser Carl Icahn has been accused of breaching lobbying rules.

Excerpts:

“A consumer advocacy group is filing a complaint to Congress on Wednesday (3/8/17) accusing President Donald Trump’s friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn of violating lobbying rules by pushing the White House to change the federal ethanol regulations.”

Image result for photo of carl icahn on forbes“Public Citizen contends that Icahn, his company Icahn Enterprises and the CVR oil refining company he owns failed to register as lobbyists, yet pushed the White House to change the EPA’s decade-old rules on ethanol — a move that would save Icahn’s company hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“Trump named Icahn, whose net worth is pegged by Forbes at nearly $22 billion, as the White House’s special adviser for regulatory reform in December, but said he would “not be serving as a federal employee or a special government employee and will not have any specific duties.”

“Icahn has aggressively advocated for the change in the ethanol rules under the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard since last year, and according to the Public Citizen complaint, he submitted a proposal to the White House on Feb. 27 to overhaul the program and shift the burden for complying with the ethanol rules to fuel wholesalers. The RFS, which was created by Congress, gives EPA authority to operate the nation’s biofuels program.”Image result for photo of scott pruitt

The letter Senate secretary and the clerk of the House calls for an investigation into whether Icahn and CVR’s activities constitute lobbying of the White House for changes to the program. The complaint also cites Icahn’s work in helping select EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and the proposed language he and fellow oil refiner Valero Energy submitted to the White House for a memo that would direct EPA to make the change.

“All of this has occurred with no record of any (Lobbying Disclosure Act) filings by or on behalf of Mr. Icahn, Icahn Enterprises or CVR Energy,” the complaint reads. “It is unlikely that all these activities occurred without some individual or entity being obligated to report lobbying activity under the LDA.”

The letter is latest controversy around the ethical complications that Trump, the wealthy members of his Cabinet and his advisers have faced.”

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4 comments

  1. We must give King tRump credit for draining the swamp, however did anyone except for a few of us, realize that he would refill it as a sewer? Can anyone actually keep a straight face when they attempt to deny the connection of King tRump to Putin and the Russian government? This connection is not new, nor should it be a surprise as many of us have for a very long time known of his connections going back into the 1990″s to the Russian Mob. As time passes and more dung floats to the surface of the sewer, it seems the more his fanz feel the need to defend and deny.

  2. Dear Crustyolemothman,

    Denial is a powerful psychological fall back for peoples who do not want to think poorly with news v somebody they believe in. They will make excuses, rationalize and would rather believe every source with negative information is just politically motivated and biased.

    It will take time for these folks to face reality.

    Ciao, Gronda

  3. According to Trump, draining the swamp means firing all the positions held by liberals, but he fails to mention refilling it with Republican billionaires… hmmm.

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