The FBI and Justice Department have launched an investigation into whether the Podesta Group, the lobbying and public relations firm co-founded by Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta, has any connections to alleged corruption that occurred in the administration of former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.
The federal probe is, CNN reports, “examining the work of other firms linked to the former Ukrainian government, including that of the Podesta Group.”
The Podesta Group, run by John Podest’s brother Tony Podesta, was retained by the Russia-controlled firm UraniumOne in 2012, 2014, and 2015, to lobby Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The lobbying firm was paid a total of $180,000 according to public records.
Yanukovych took office in February 2010. He was forced to flee to Russian after a political uprising in Ukraine. Federal prosecutors are probing the work Yanukovych’s regime paid the Podesta Group to do while he was the head of the Ukrainian government.
As it was first detailed in the New York Times bestselling book Clinton Cash, Uranium One — which hired the Podesta Group — is the firm that funneled millions to the Clinton Foundation as the Russian government gained ownership of the company.
According to the New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.”
The Times reported last April:
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
“And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock,” the Times report said.
According to the Daily Caller, Uranium One “paid the Podesta Group $40,000 to lobby the State Department, the Senate, the National Park Service, and the National Security Council for ‘international mining projects,’ according to a July 20, 2012 filing.”
Distancing itself from the work it did for an organization with ties to Yanukovych’s pro-Russian regime, the Podesta group said it hired lawyers to examine its relationship with the organization linked to the ousted Ukrainian president.
“The firm has retained Caplin & Drysdale as independent, outside legal counsel to determine if we were misled by the Centre for a Modern Ukraine or any other individuals with regard to the Centre’s potential ties to foreign governments or political parties,” a Podesta Group statement said, according to CNN. The statement continued:
When the Centre became a client, it certified in writing that ‘none of the activities of the Centre are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party.’ We relied on that certification and advice from counsel in registering and reporting under the Lobbying Disclosure Act rather than the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We will take whatever measures are necessary to address this situation based on Caplin & Drysdale’s review, including possible legal action against the Centre.
The FBI and DOJ investigation is also examining former Donald Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort’s firm, according to CNN.
Spokesman from the federal agencies as well as Manafort’s firm have not commented on the ongoing investigation.
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