lobbyists

December 21, 2017 – Trump signs an EO that allows the freezing of US-housed assets belonging to foreigners or entities deemed “serious human rights abusers” or of those who “engage in corruption”

Trump signs an executive order on December 21, 2017, based on the 2016 Global Human Rights Accountability Act. (Credit: public domain)

“The Trump Administration quietly issued an Executive Order (EO) last Thursday which allows for the freezing of US-housed assets belonging to foreign individuals or entities deemed “serious human rights abusers,” along with government officials and executives of foreign corporations (current or former) found to have engaged in corruption – which includes the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, and corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources. 

Furthermore, anyone in the United States who aids or participates in said corruption or human rights abuses by foreign parties is subject to frozen assets – along with any U.S. corporation who employs foreigners deemed to have engaged in corruption on behalf of the company.

(…) Last Week’s Executive Order could have serious implications for D.C. lobbyists who provide “goods and services” (e.g. lobbying services) to despots, corrupt foreign politicians or foreign organizations engaging in the crimes described in the EO. “Virtually every lobbyist in DC has got to be in a cold sweat over the scope of this EO,” said an attorney consulted in the matter who wishes to remain anonymous.

Now consider that if reports from The Hill are accurate – an FBI mole deep within the Russian uranium industry uncovered evidence that “Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow (the Uranium One approval)” – a deal which would eventually grant the Kremlin control over 20 percent of America’s uranium supply right around the time Bill Clinton also collected $500,000 for a Moscow speech, as detailed by author Peter Schweitzer’s book Clinton Cash and the New York Times in 2015.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.”The Hill

Hypothetically, if the Uranium One deal is deemed corrupt by the Trump administration, and “Russian nuclear officials” indeed routed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and Tony Podesta lobbied on behalf of the deal for the Clinton Foundation – it stands to reason that this Executive Order could freeze the US-housed assets of quite a few individuals. Of note, assets can be frozen with no prior warning, as trump has declared a national emergency due to the “scope and gravity” of the threat posed by said individuals.

To simplify this complicated legal document a bit, keep in mind:

Section 1. (a)(iii) defines U.S. Citizens who have assisted foreigners in any of the crimes described above:

Note: The above section (iii)(A)(3) means any foreign person engaging in “serious human rights abuses” or listed forms of corruption on behalf of a U.S. entity. Also of note – Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back a series of Obama-era curbs on civil-asset forfeiture over the summer, strengthening the federal government’s ability to seize cash and property from Americans without criminal charges. That said, this Executive Order only freezes assets, it does not allow the government to take custody of them. ” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/28/2017)

March 30, 2017 – Senator Mark Warner contacts lobbyist for Russian oligarch, seeking access to dossier author, Christopher Steele

“Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been leading a congressional investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, had extensive contact last year with a lobbyist [Adam Waldman] for a Russian oligarch [Oleg V. Deripaska], who was offering Warner access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele, according to text messages obtained exclusively by Fox News.

“We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country,” Warner texted the lobbyist, Adam Waldman, on March 22, 2017.

“I’m in,” Waldman, whose firm has ties to Hillary Clinton, texted back to Warner.”

 

(…) Secrecy seemed very important to Warner as the conversation with Waldman heated up March 29, when the lobbyist revealed that Steele wanted a bipartisan letter from Warner and the committee’s chairman, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, inviting him to talk to the Senate intelligence panel.

Throughout the text exchanges, Warner seemed particularly intent on connecting directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop — at least initially. In one text to the lobbyist, Warner wrote that he would “rather not have a paper trail” of his messages.

(…) “Waldman noted repeatedly that Steele was concerned about leaks and was “spooked” by all of the attention he had received around the world. Steele, he said, was skittish about talking to Warner.

Warner texted back on March 30: “We want to do this right private in London don’t want to send letter yet cuz if we can’t get agreement wud rather not have paper trail.”

 

(…) “Over the course of four months between February and May 2017, Warner and Waldman also exchanged dozens of texts about possible testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee from Deripaska, Waldman’s primary Russian billionaire client.” (Credit: Fox News, 2/28/2018) (Link to text messages)

Clinton’s official calendar omits dozens of meetings with donors and other outside interests.

A sample of a meeting with donors and loyalists that were omitted from Clinton’s official calendar. (Credit: The Associated Press)

In August 2013, the Associated Press (AP) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department. After years of delays and denials, AP recently got about one-third of Clinton’s planning schedules from when she was secretary of state, and will be getting more.

A comparison of the planning schedules with Clinton’s 1,500-page official calendar shows “at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded,” or for which the names of those she met were omitted. At least 114 outsiders attended these meetings. Only seven meetings were replaced on the calendar by other events, while more than sixty meetings were either omitted entirely or described briefly as “private meetings” without mention of who attended. The missing meetings involve “private dinners and meetings with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders, and ‘drop-bys’ with old Clinton campaign hands and advisers.”

For instance, meetings with controversial Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal are not mentioned, nor are meetings with billionaire Haim Saban, a major donor to Clinton’s political campaigns who also has given at least $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. A Clinton spokesperson says this merely shows that some records are more detailed than others. But AP points out that on the same days the names of donors Clinton meets with are omitted, the names of all the participants in other meetings are given.

Five former State Department logistics officials say that some previous secretaries of state omitted some details from their official calendars, but only for special occasions, such as medical appointments, and not meetings with donors or political interests. It is not known who edited Clinton’s official calendar. It also does not appear any federal laws were broken, although there are department rules against altering or deleting information.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog group the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), comments: “It’s clear that any outside influence needs to be clearly identified in some way to at least guarantee transparency. That didn’t happen. These discrepancies are striking because of her possible interest at the time in running for the presidency.” (The Associated Press, 6/24/2016)

September 21, 2009 – Clinton meets with major Wall Street and business leaders and it is omitted from her official calendar

Hillary Clinton, rings the New York Stock opening bell, accompanied by then-NYSE CEO Duncan L. Niederauer, in New York on September 21, 2009. (Credit: Richard Drew/The Associated Press)

“An Associated Press review of the official calendar Hillary Clinton kept as secretary of state identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded or omitted the names of those she met.

The missing entries raise new questions about how Clinton and her inner circle handled government records documenting her State Department tenure — in this case, why the official chronology of her four-year term does not closely mirror the other, more detailed records of her daily meetings.

At a time when Clinton’s private email system is under scrutiny by an FBI criminal investigation, the calendar omissions reinforce concerns that she sought to eliminate the “risk of the personal being accessible” — as she wrote in an email exchange that she failed to turn over to the government but was subsequently uncovered in a top aide’s inbox.

Clinton attends a meeting with New York Stock Exchange president Duncan Niederauer and various business leaders on September 21, 2009. (Credit: public domain)

The AP found the omissions by comparing the 1,500-page calendar with separate planning schedules supplied to Clinton by aides in advance of each day’s events. The names of at least 114 outsiders who met with Clinton were missing from her calendar, the records show.

In one key omission, Clinton’s State Department calendar dropped the identities of a dozen major Wall Street and business leaders who met with her during a private breakfast discussion at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2009, The meeting occurred minutes before Clinton appeared in public at the exchange to ring the market’s ceremonial opening bell.

Despite the omission, Clinton’s State Department planning schedules from the same day listed the names of all Clinton’s breakfast guests — most of whose firms had lobbied the government and donated to her family’s global charity. The event was closed to the press and merited only a brief mention in her calendar, which omitted all her guests’ names — among them Blackstone Group Chairman Steven Schwarzman, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and then-New York Bank of Mellon CEO Robert Kelly.

Clinton’s calendar also repeatedly omitted private dinners and meetings with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders and “drop-bys” with old Clinton campaign hands and advisers. Among those whose names were omitted from her calendar were longtime adviser Sidney Blumenthal, consultant and former Clinton White House chief of staff Thomas “Mack” McLarty, former energy lobbyist Joseph Wilson and entertainment magnate and Clinton campaign bundler Haim Saban.” (Read more: The Associated Press, 6/24/2016)

Clinton’s meeting with major business leaders on this day is just one of dozens of meetings later not listed on her official calendar.

Clinton attends a meeting with New York Stock Exchange president Duncan Niederauer and various business leaders on September 21, 2009. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton attends a meeting with New York Stock Exchange president Duncan Niederauer and various business leaders on September 21, 2009. (Credit: public domain)

In June 2016, the Associated Press will finally gain access to some planning schedules from when Clinton was secretary of state. A comparison of these planning schedules with Clinton’s official calendar from that time will show that at least 60 meetings with Clinton’s donors and other outside interests were omitted. The Associated Press will give one specific example of a meeting on this day that is omitted from the calendar, even though the names of attendees to other meetings on the same day are not. Clinton meets with 13 major business leaders for a private breakfast discussion at the New York Stock Exchange:

  • David M. Cote, CEO of Honeywell International Inc.;
  • Fabrizio Freda, CEO of the Estee Companies Inc.;
  • Lewis Frankfort, chair of Coach Inc.;
  • Robert Kelly, CEO of the New York Bank of Mellon;
  • Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont;
  • Harold McGraw III, chair of McGraw Hill Companies;
  • Duncan Niederauer, CEO of  the New York Stock Exchange;
  • Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo;
  • Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Corp;
  • Steven Schwarzman, chair of the Blackstone Group;
  • James Taiclet, chair of the American Tower Corp.;
  • James Tisch, president of Loews Corp.; and
  • John D. Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group.

All the companies represented except Coach Inc. lobby the US government in 2009. Four companies—Blackstone, Honeywell, Omnicom, and DuPont—lobby the State Department that year. All the companies except for American Tower and New York Bank of Mellon donate to the Clinton Foundation, and two attendees—Schwarzman and Frankfort—personally donate to the foundation. Four of the companies—PepsiCo, the Blackstone Group, DuPont, and Honeywell International Inc.—also donate to what the Associated Press calls “Clinton’s pet diplomatic project of that period,” the US pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. (The Associated Press, 6/24/2016)

A lobbyist uses his rare direct email access to Clinton to arrange more aid for the country of Palau.

06-2009JeffreyFarrow

Jeffrey Farrow (Credit: Mauricio Pascual)

Palau is a single island with a population of only 20,000. The lobbyist, Jeffrey Farrow, had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. But it’s not known how he got her new email address, which she started using after becoming secretary of state in January 2009.

Farrow begins emailing Clinton in June 2009, at a time when the US is deciding how much financial aid to give Palau, and while Palau becomes the first country to accept prisoners from the US military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba. Farrow talks about how Palau is going to take 17 Guantanamo prisoners and then suggests that US aid to the country is “far too low.” Clinton forwards the emails to her aide Jake Sullivan and asks him to “do some recon outreach and advise what, if anything, we should do.”

In an October 30, 2009 email, Farrow again asks for more US aid to Palau. Clinton forwards that email to Sullivan and other aides with the note, “As I have said repeatedly, I do not want to see Palau shortchanged.” In September 2010, the US announces a large multi-year aid package to Palau worth over $250 million. (Politico, 7/1/2015)

In a September 2010 email, Farrow praises Clinton and Sullivan for helping to get the aid package done, and jokingly promises Clinton a medal and a free vacation in Palau. (US Department of State, 9/30/2015) Farrow also forwards a thank you letter from Palau President Johnson Toribiong in April 2011, belying Clinton’s claim that she only ever had email contact with one foreign official, from Britain.  (US Department of State, 10/30/2015) (US Department of State, 10/30/2015)