Politics Manafort-linked lobbying firm registers as foreign agent

02:31  29 april  2017
02:31  29 april  2017 Source:   ap.org

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Link copied! WASHINGTON (AP) — A Washington lobbying firm that worked under the direction of Paul Manafort 's firm registered Friday with the Justice Department as a foreign agent — the same day a spokesman for Manafort backed off his previous statement that Manafort had decided to

Two lobbying firms said they were registering as agents of a foreign government in connection with lobbying that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort helped organize five years ago for the then-Ukrainian government.

FILE - In this July 17, 2016, file photo, then Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The registration by Mercury LLC comes as the Justice Department waits for Paul Manafort, to file as a foreign agent and disclose his role in influencing U.S. policy and public opinion on behalf of the pro-Russian Ukrainian Party of Regions. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this July 17, 2016, file photo, then Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The registration by Mercury LLC comes as the Justice Department waits for Paul Manafort, to file as a foreign agent and disclose his role in influencing U.S. policy and public opinion on behalf of the pro-Russian Ukrainian Party of Regions. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

WASHINGTON — A Washington lobbying firm that worked under the direction of Paul Manafort and another former campaign aide to President Donald Trump registered Friday with the Justice Department as a foreign agent — the same day a spokesman for Manafort backed off his previous statement that Manafort would also register.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A Washington lobbying firm that worked under the direction of Paul Manafort 's firm registered Friday with the Justice Department as a foreign agent — the same day a spokesman for Manafort backed off his previous statement that Manafort had decided to register .

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said he was wrong when he told The Associated Press earlier this month that Manafort would register with the Justice Department. Maloni said Manafort is still considering his options after receiving guidance from the Justice Department about formally disclosing his efforts to influence U.S. policy and public opinion on behalf of a foreign client.

As of Friday, both of the lobbying firms involved in the influence campaign on behalf of Ukrainian interests have acknowledged that their work should have been disclosed to the Justice Department. The AP reported in August that Manafort's consulting firm covertly orchestrated the lobbying and public opinion operation on behalf of a pro-Russian political party, the Ukrainian Party of Regions, and its leader, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A Washington lobbying firm that worked under the direction of Paul Manafort 's firm registered Friday with the Justice Department as a foreign agent — the same day a spokesman for Manafort backed off his previous Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink.

WASHINGTON >> A Washington lobbying firm that worked under the direction of Paul Manafort and another former campaign aide to President Donald Trump registered Friday with the Justice Department as a foreign agent

The latest registration came Friday from Mercury LLC, which disclosed that Manafort was involved in its lobbying work, attending meetings with Mercury managing partner Vin Weber.

In a statement to The AP, Maloni downplayed Manafort's involvement as it was detailed in Mercury's filing. "One meeting with one lawmaker connected to this topic in a two-year period looks like incidental contact to fair-minded Americans," Maloni said, referring to a meeting Manafort had with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. That was one of four meetings detailed in the filing. Emails obtained by The AP show that Manafort's firm and his deputy Rick Gates, also a Trump campaign aide, directed Mercury's efforts. Those emails are not disclosed in Mercury's filing.

Mercury had announced earlier this month that it would register for the work after another lobbying firm, The Podesta Group, had registered. The Podesta Group acknowledged its work could have benefited the Ukrainian government and should have been disclosed to the government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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