Tony Podesta Steps Down from Lobbying Firm Amid Mueller Probe

The indictment charges Manafort purchased a $3 million Brooklyn property using an entity in Cyprus then took out a construction loan to service other debt and buy another property

Cue the spotlight and point it at Democratic mega-lobbyist Tony Podesta, founder of the Podesta Group and brother of Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager, John Podesta.

Podesta is handing over full operational and financial control to longtime firm CEO Kimberley Fritts, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting. Podesta Group was one of several firms that were paid to do work on the PR campaign to promote Ukraine in the U.S.

The Podesta Group said in a statement that it complied with disclosure requirements based on in-house and external legal advice and that it has cooperated with the special counsel's office.

Earlier this year, NBC News reported that the Podesta Group was in the cross-hairs of Mueller's investigation-apparently by virtue of the lobbying firm's relationship with recently-indicted Paul Manafort. The meeting ended with a "resounding ovation for Podesta", the report said.

The charges included violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which regulates lobbying for foreign powers.

Podesta Group filed paperwork with the Justice Department in April stating that it had done work for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine that also benefited the same Ukrainian political party that Manafort once advised. FARA requires representatives of foreign governments, political parties and foreign-government controlled organizations to disclose detailed information about their activities, including each contact they make with a government official.

After being introduced to the lobbying firms, the European nonprofit paid the Podesta Group $1.13 million between June 2012 and April 2014 to lobby Congress, the White House National Security Council, the State Department and other federal agencies, according to USA lobbying records.

"It is impossible to run a public affairs firm while you are under attack by Fox News and the right wing media", he told his former employees, according to a person familiar with his remarks. Revenues have also declined: The firm brought in an estimated $4.8 million in the third quarter of 2017, down from $5.2 million in the second quarter of 2017 and from $6.1 million in the third quarter of 2016.

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