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Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Registers As A Foreign Agent

Jun 28, 2017
Originally published on June 29, 2017 10:13 am

A firm headed by Paul Manafort, who served as President Trump's campaign manager last year, made more than $17 million in two years working for the pro-Russia political party that controlled Ukraine's government, according to documents filed late Tuesday.

Manafort, who resigned from Trump's campaign last August after his work for Ukrainian interests came under scrutiny, has registered as a foreign agent with the U.S. Justice Department, as did his deputy, Rick Gates.

Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said Manafort had started the registration process under the Foreign Agents Registration Act in September of last year, before the November 2016 election.

"Paul's primary focus was always directed at domestic Ukrainian political campaign work and that is reflected in yesterday's filing. Paul has appreciated the professionalism and guidance of the FARA unit throughout this process," Maloni said.

Manafort did domestic political consulting for the Party of Regions, headed by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after an uprising in 2014. Much of Manafort's work was aimed at "advancing the goal of greater political and economic integration between Ukraine and the West," the documents say.

"Manafort was representing a political party, a very strong pro-Russian political party in ... Ukraine from 2012 to 2014, pulling in a whopping $17 million by the way," says Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, a progressive public interest group.

Holman says Manafort should have filed the disclosure forms right after he began working for Ukraine's government.

Manafort's work in Ukraine ended in 2014, after Yanukovych stepped down and well before Manafort worked for Trump's campaign.

Manafort is one of several current and former Trump associates whose ties to the former Soviet Union have attracted attention. He is said to be a focus of interest in the investigation headed by Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election.

Manafort is the second Trump associate to register retroactively as a foreign agent. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has acknowledged lobbying for the government of Turkey in the months leading up to last year's election.

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Paul Manafort served as Donald Trump's campaign manager last year, and a firm that he led made more than $17 million working for the pro-Russian political party that used to control Ukraine's government. Those disclosures were filed late yesterday with the Justice Department. They provide new information about Manafort's work in Ukraine. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Manafort is one of several Trump associates whose ties to the former Soviet Union have come under scrutiny in recent months. He served as Trump's campaign chairman until last August. Then reports were published about his work on behalf of Ukrainian interests, and Manafort resigned. One of the knocks against Manafort was that he had failed to register as a foreign agent as required by law. Craig Holman and his government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen.

CRAIG HOLMAN: Paul Manafort should have filed these disclosure forms back in 2012 10 days after he began doing influence peddling on behalf of the foreign political party.

ZARROLI: Yesterday Manafort finally answered the critics by registering with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, or FARA. His deputy, Rick Gates, did the same thing. Manafort's spokesman, Jason Maloni, says Manafort has cooperated with the Justice Department.

JASON MALONI: He started this process with FARA's unit back in September. And he appreciates the guidance and professionalism they've shown. And this is just an extension of his cooperation.

ZARROLI: The documents shed light on the work that Manafort and his firm did in Ukraine. Much of it was domestic political consulting aimed at, quote, "advancing the goal of greater political and economic integration between Ukraine and the West." They worked for Ukraine's Party of Regions, which was controlled by President Viktor Yanukovych, who is widely thought to have had strong ties to Russia. Again, Public Citizen's Craig Holman...

HOLMAN: Paul Manafort was representing a political party, a very strong pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine from 2012 to 2014, pulling in a whopping $17 million, by the way.

ZARROLI: Yanukovych was forced out of office in 2014, and Manafort's work for his party apparently ended at the time well before he worked for Trump. But since Trump's election, Manafort's work has attracted extra attention. And along with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, he is now the second Trump associate to have to register retroactively as a foreign agent. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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