It is now official that the firm of Tony Podesta (the lobbying group that ran Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign) is preparing for the end.
Less than two weeks after Mr. Podesta stepped down, a 30-year old company comes to an end and staff is unsure whether they’ll still receive future payments.
The long-time chief executive, Ms. Kimberley Fritts, resigned earlier this week and will start her own lobbying firm (to be named cogent Strategies according to the New York Times).
According to many Podesta staffers who wished to remain anonymous, Ms. Fritts will bring many of the top lobbyists with her: “The firm as it existed is essentially over. The vast majority of people are going their own way.”
They also didn’t know what Tony Podesta would be doing now: “I kind of feel like the ball’s in his court after last night. His name is on the door. It’s his firm.”
Of course, the staff is furious and can’t understand why a firm that pronounced to tax authorities revenues of $24 million last year all of a sudden can’t pay their salaries anymore.
As Ms. Fritts told them on her last day in a tearful meeting, their next salary was unsure: “We will try to compensate you on the 30th, but we can’t make any promises.”
Neither Tony Podesta nor anyone at the Podesta Group for that matter has so far been publicly charged in the Russia investigation of Special counsel Robert Mueller.
But Mr. Mueller did subpoena the firm and its employees for documents and testimonies related to their work and has interviewed roughly half a dozen people about Tony Podesta’s involvement, so the logical outcome is quite clear.
One anonymous staffer described the farewell meeting as being in very poor taste: “We walk into the room and there’s Champagne bottles and glasses in the room as if it’s a celebration. It wasn’t happy clanking. It was an Irish funeral.”