US Special Counsel Mr. Robert Mueller, who is heading the inquiries into possible Russian colluding, has opened a federal investigation into an ever wider front (after he had included US tech companies) to now also look into the possible illegal dwellings of the Podesta Group Lobbying firm, the Democratic-leaning company headed by Mr Tony Podesta, brother of Ms Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, John Podesta.
A Podesta Group spokesman reacted by saying that the company "is cooperating fully with the special counsel's office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance. In all of our client engagements, the Podesta Group conducts due diligence and consults with appropriate legal experts to ensure compliance with disclosure regulations at all times, and we did so in this case."
The opening of a new front of the investigation comes after Mr Mueller had looked into the Russian contacts of Mr Paul Manafort, who cooperated with Mr Podesta’s firm in a public relations campaign for the so-called ‘European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU)’, a non-profit meant to influence public opinion, which is believed to be backed by the pro-Russian and oligarch-funded Ukrainian political group, Party of Regions.
ECMU worked for officially for closer EU-Ukraine relations but has come into the spotlight after it was revealed that they secretly tried to promote the services of Mr. Victor Yanukovych, the former pro-Russian President of Ukraine who fled to the Kremlin after the 2014 revolution in Kiev.
Mr. Podesta’s firm should have therefore registered as being a company lobbying for a foreign government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), something it failed to do until the spring of this year.
Furthermore, it was shown that the lobbying group of Mr. Podesta received $90,000 from Uranium One, a company that controls U.S. uranium interests.
You will remember that name as it is repeatedly mentioned in the investigation into Russian interests donating to the Clinton Foundation.