Politics

Trump’s Former Campaign Chairman Registers As A Foreign Agent

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort registered as a foreign agent of a Ukrainian political party on Tuesday, making him the second Trump adviser to register as a foreign agent in recent months.

Manafort disclosed that he was paid $17.1 million between 2012 and 2014 by the Ukraine Party of Regions, a political party allied with the Russian government.

In the filings, first published by The Washington Post, Manafort states that his firm, DMP International, worked at “electing Party of Regions candidates at the national and regional levels in the Ukraine.” The effort was done in coordination with the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a Brussels-based non-profit group that has ties to the Party of Regions.

The party held power until the Ukrainian revolution in Feb. 2014. Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president at the time and a party member, fled to Russia during the revolution.

Manafort, who joined the Trump campaign last March, is reportedly under investigation in the U.S. for his lobbying work and other business dealings. The Republican operative has a lengthy history of working for controversial foreign clients, including Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, in the 2000s.

In addition to the $17.1 million in revenue, Manafort’s filings list his firms expenses for the Party of Regions contract. The highest payouts listed in the documents are to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Kiev-based political operative who has been called Manafort’s protege.

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Manafort’s firm paid him $531,000 for “professional services” from July 2013 to Jan. 2014.

Politico reported in March that Kilimnik has come under the scrutiny of the FBI and State Department because of his work.

He also met Manafort multiple times last year, during the presidential campaign, according to Politico.

Manafort’s work for the Party of Regions was revealed last August by the Associated Press. Manafort left the Trump campaign soon after, as pressure mounted over his links to Russia.

The AP reported then that emails showed Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, instructed Mercury Public Affairs, a U.S. lobbying firm, to facilitate meetings with members of Congress to advance the Party of Regions’ interests.

Manafort’s firm also worked with the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm founded by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. (RELATED: Clinton-Connected Lobbying Firm Discloses Lobbying For Pro-Putin Group)

Both Mercury and Podesta Group registered as foreign agents of the Party of Regions earlier this year.

Manafort indicated in April that he would be doing the same, but he backed off of the plan soon after.

With the foreign agent disclosure, Manafort becomes the second Trump campaign alum to register with the Justice Department.

In March, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn registered as a foreign agent of Turkey. His firm, Flynn Intel Group, received $530,000 during the presidential campaign from a Turkish businessman who works for a government-controlled trade group.

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