Mueller has referred matters for investigation to the Southern District of New York. The matters involve Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and his work for the Podesta Group. Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, a former partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, is also part of the inquiry, according to the AP.
A Republican Rep. Vin Weber was also referred.
It doesn’t mean charges are coming and it’s not clear why all were referred to the New York District for investigation. Mercury and Skadden have offices in Manhattan, though Weber and Craig are based in Washington, DC, and performed the work in question while based in offices there.
It’s also not clear whether they are considered one case or separate matters. All involve inquiries into whether the men improperly performed work on behalf of groups associated with Ukraine without registering as foreign agents.
Federal law requires that an entity representing a foreign political party or government file public reports detailing the relationship.
It’s a law that hasn’t been prosecuted in the past and about half of D.C. is guilty of not registering. They should register, of course. Can’t say we like lobbying of Congress on behalf of foreign countries.
NO ONE’S TALKING BUT IT’S INTERESTING
An attorney for Weber, who led Mercury’s Ukraine-linked lobbying work, declined to comment.
“We welcome any inquiry, as we always have, since we acted appropriately at every step of the process, including hiring the best lawyer in Washington we could and following his advice,” said Michael McKeon, a partner at Mercury.
Craig declined to comment. Skadden declined to comment.
Mercury submitted FARA filings after the fact as did Podesta.
Another attorney for Skadden lied to the Special Counsel office about his dealings with the Ukraine. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison earlier this year. The senior partner he dealt with was Craig who left the firm in April.
Mueller had been scrutinizing all three firms as part of his inquiry into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates. Both were charged by the special counsel’s office with failing to file as foreign agents. They worked for a decade for a pro-Russia party in the Ukraine. The party actually wanted to be part of NATO.