US

Clinton-Connected Lobbying Firm Admits Failure To Disclose Work For Indian Government

(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

A Beltway lobbying firm with close connections to Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that it failed to disclose work it did for the Indian government in 2014 and 2015.

The Podesta Group disclosed the lobbying activities in an amended filing submitted to the Justice Department earlier this month, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday.

The documents lists five separate contacts that Podesta Group chairman Tony Podesta, a prolific Hillary Clinton campaign donor, made with his brother and former business partner, John Podesta, to discuss U.S.-India relations in 2014 and 2015. During that period, John Podesta, who co-founded the Podesta Group with Tony in 1988, served as White House counselor and then as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

The Podesta Group’s failure to disclose the lobbying was an apparent violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Under the law, which was enacted in the 1930s to prevent Nazis from planting propaganda in the U.S., lobbyists are required to disclose all lobbying activities carried out on behalf of foreign governments to the Justice Department.

The Indian government hired the Podesta Group in 2010 to lobby on its behalf. As part of the contract, which brought the Podesta Group $350,000 every six months, the lobbying firm made contact with hundreds of government officials, members of Congress, congressional staffers and members of the media to discuss India issues.

But as the Free Beacon reported in October, several email exchanges between Tony and John discussing India were not disclosed in those initial filings. Nor was an Aug. 4, 2014 meeting held at John Podesta’s White House office with Tony and India’s ambassador.

In addition to disclosing the contacts with John Podesta, the Podesta Group’s amended filing lists contacts with Eryn Sepp, an assistant to John Podesta, and Jeremy Bernard, the White House’s social secretary at the time.

This is not the first time this year that the Podesta Group has come under fire for lobbying disclosures. The firm reportedly retained outside counsel in August after it was reported that it may have failed to disclose lobbying work it did on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a non-profit group connected to Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych. Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was also ensnared in that controversy. He is reportedly being investigated by the Justice Department for failing to disclose lobbying he carried out for the Ukranian non-profit.

The Podesta Group has a stable of clients that have been at the center of numerous other controversies. The firm represents the governments of Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. It has also represented Uranium One, a uranium company that is controlled by the Russian government, and Islami Bank Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi bank that the U.S. Congress has accused of having ties to terrorism. (RELATED: Firm With Clinton Ties Lobbies For Bengali Bank Accused Of Terrorist Ties)

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