The Podesta Group is one of the two unnamed lobbying firms mentioned in the grand jury indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates that was unsealed on Monday, sources told NBC News.
The indictment, issued by the special counsel probing Russian interference and any collusion in the presidential election, listed 12 counts of money laundering, tax evasion, violation of lobbying regulations, and making false statements related to their work on behalf of the Ukrainian interests from 2006 through 2016.
The indictment referred to two companies that Manafort and Gates hired on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian organization — “Company A” and “Company B.” NBC News confirmed that “Company A” is Mercury Public Affairs, and “Company B” is the Podesta Group.
Hours after the indictment was unsealed Monday morning, Tony Podesta, co-founder and chairman of the Podesta Group resigned from his position, as first reported by Politico. Podesta founded the firm with his brother John Podesta, who served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
The report noted that Monday’s indictment also “provides a glimpse into the material special prosecutor Robert Mueller has corroborated on” Mercury and the Podesta Group, and “the potential legal repercussions both groups could face.”
NBC News reported last week that Podesta and the Podesta Group became a subject of Mueller’s probe into Russian interference and possible collusion in the election.
The Podesta Group had not disclosed its work pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registrant Act (FARA), claiming that they did not believe the group they represented was affiliated with the Ukrainian government.
According to the indictment, Mercury Public Affairs and the Podesta Group were paid $2 million from offshore accounts controlled by Manafort, and their work included lobbying “multiple members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections,” and the reasons for imprisoning Yulia Tymoshenko, the political rival of Russian-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.