Michael Flynn Will Cut Ties With His Consulting Firm If Picked For Spot In Trump Admin

REUTERS/Gary Cameron.

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will sever ties with his consulting firm if he is chosen for a spot in the Donald Trump administration, he said Thursday.

The move comes as Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, faces heavy criticism over his company’s lobbying contract with a Dutch firm owned by a Turkish businessman who has links to the Turkish government.

“If I return to government service, my relationship with my company will be severed in accordance with the policy announced by President-elect Trump,” Flynn told The Wall Street Journal.

Flynn is said to be in the running for Trump’s National Security Advisor or secretary of defense.

Last week, The Daily Caller reported that Flynn’s intelligence consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, was recently hired by Inovo BV, a Dutch company owned by the chairman of Turkey’s Foreign Economics Advisory Board, a Turkish-Dutch businessman named Ekim Alptekin. (RELATED: Trump’s Top Adviser Is Lobbying For Obscure Dutch Company With Ties To Turkish Government)

Flynn failed to disclose the lobbying relationship in an op-ed he published at The Hill last Tuesday, on Election Day, in which he expressed strong support for Turkey’s Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Flynn also staked out a controversial policy position in the article. He called on the U.S. government to extradite one of Erdogan’s mortal enemies, a Muslim cleric named Fethullah Gulen who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.

Erdogan blames Gulen, his former ally, for masterminding a coup attempt on July 15. Though no proof supporting that claim has been made public, Flynn wrote his op-ed as if Gulen was guilty of the charges against him. Adding to the oddity of the piece was the fact that Flynn has not publicly commented on Gulen in the past. He has also previously criticized Erdogan and Turkey for not doing enough to fight ISIS.

Alptekin told The Wall Street Journal that he hired Flynn’s firm on behalf of a non-Turkish energy company interested in exporting to the NATO nation. He did not name the company, citing privacy agreements.

The relationship with Inovo BV is the only lobbying contract that Flynn Intel Group has ever disclosed to Congress. A former House aide named Robert Kelley is listed as the lobbyist on the disclosure report. Flynn, who founded the intelligence firm in 2014, after leaving the Defense Intelligence Agency, is not listed by name.

Earlier this week, the Trump transition team announced that the Trump administration will enact a five-year ban on administration officials working as lobbyists after leaving office.

Potential hires who are currently lobbying for companies will have to officially terminate the relationship and provide proof to the Trump White House.

Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s communications director, said during a conference call on Thursday that the administration is also enacting a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign governments. It is unclear how that prohibition will be enforced after Trump leaves office.

Alptekin did not immediately return a request for comment. The Flynn Intel Group has not returned several requests for comment.

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