The D.C. lobbying shop’s retroactive paperwork appeared Wednesday on the website of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) office. From 2012-2014, the Podesta Group lobbied for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which was created to support former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. He has since fled to Russia after the Ukrainian people rose up against his autocratic rule. Yanukovych was essentially Putin’s puppet, pushing for policies that would alienate Ukraine from Europe and bring it under the umbrella of Russian influence.
The U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, passed in 1938, requires individuals and organizations hired by non-U.S. organizations and foreign nations for the purpose of disseminating propaganda to publicly disclose their activities.
The Podesta Group is run by John Podesta’s brother, Anthony Podesta, who was a major Clinton campaign bundler. Because of his prominent political connections, Anthony Podesta is considered one of the most influential lobbyists in the world. The Podesta Group is consistently ranked as one of the top five most influential lobbying organizations. The firm reportedly earns close to $30 million a year for its efforts.
Disclosures in the foreign agent document reports reveal that the pro-Russia lobbying endeavor involved dozens of meetings with prominent reporters, congressional leaders, and government officials.
Over a three year time period, the Podesta Group was paid over $1 million dollars to lobby for the pro-Russian outfit, according to an accounting of the disclosures from 2012-2014.
The news comes as former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort also reportedly intends on retroactively registering as a foreign agent for work he did for Yanuokovych-tied entities. Manafort also worked as a lobbyist for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, according to reports.
The mainstream media has largely ignored the lobbying efforts of the Podesta Group, even though its co-founder is intimately tied to the past two Democratic presidents as well as the most recent Democratic nominee for president. In its story on the disclosures, the Associated Press did not highlight the Podesta Group’s ties to top Democrats, instead focusing on allegations against Manafort.