Thursday, May 28, 2015

ICMYI: Longtime Clinton Confidante Likely Violated Lobbying Registration Act

We have written previously here and here about how top Hillary Clinton aides while at the State Department were involved in activities with the Clinton Foundation and a business they worked for at the same time.  At a minimum it appears both these groups gained a financial benefit from this relationship.  While these were both domestic groups, we now have another serious allegation involving a foreign government and longtime Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal.

Clinton consigliere Sidney Blumenthal’s now-notorious e-mails to Hillary Clinton on Libya could constitute a criminal violation of U.S. foreign lobbying laws. According to several experts, if his business and intelligence ties with Libyan interim government officials were as extensive as evidence suggests, Blumenthal’s repeated communications to America’s top diplomat broke a federal criminal statute requiring the registration and reporting of foreign agents engaged in lobbying foreign officials.

RNLA First Vice President Elliot Berke commented in the same article about the seriousness of Blumenthal’s failure to register.

“I think there is both smell and smoke,” says Elliot Berke, a Washington D.C. lawyer who works regularly on cases involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Designed to prevent U.S. officials from being unwittingly influenced by representatives of foreign governments, the law requires individuals to do more than simply identify themselves as foreign lobbyists. “FARA doesn’t just require registration,” says Berke. “It requires ongoing reporting of specific contacts and the labeling and filing of information like memos with the Justice Department within 48 hours of dissemination.”

“FARA requires the lobbyist to identify himself as a foreign agent on behalf of his foreign principal, and to label all informational material he disseminates accordingly,” says Berke.

Where are the campaign finance groups and those on the left that have concerns about money in politics?  What will take for them to engage?  More importantly did Hillary know what her aides and confidantes were doing and did she condone it?   Even if she did not, this calls into question her judgement in employee such staffers with such, at a minimum ethically questionable connections.  

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