So far, most of the cretins whose corruption has been unearthed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe have been of the Republican persuasion. But Washington is an equal opportunity town for criminals, and it seems that one of the Democrats’ own lobbyists could be the next in line for the Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort treatment.
Gregory Craig was a White House lawyer in both the Obama and Clinton White Houses. He resigned from the Obama administration in 2010 and went to work as a lobbyist, eventually working for Manafort’s firm. Now, Mueller and his team are stepping up their investigations into his activities there, according to the Washington Post.
Craig’s case was referred to federal prosecutors in New York in April, along with those of lobbyists Vin Weber and Tony Podesta, the paper reported. The investigation seems to center around whether Craig and the others failed to register their work on behalf of foreign agents under an obscure law that dates back to World War II.
Working as a lobbyist on behalf of foreign governments is all too common in Washington, and these investigations could set a new precedent for how the industry conducts business.
“There is a rising level of concern, particularly from law firms providing services to foreign governments,” Joshua Ian Rosenstein, an expert on foreign lobbying regulations, told the Post. “New and existing clients are asking very specific questions now.”
Craig is reportedly under investigation for his work with Manafort to influence public opinion in Washington around former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. One allegation pertains to a white paper written by Craig and his former law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, as a supposedly independent assessment of the Yanukovych administration’s imprisonment of rival Yulia Tymoshenko. The Ukrainian government reported paying Manafort $12,000 for the paper, according to the reporting, but $4 million in payments were also allegedly funneled to the law firm through an offshore account.
“Mr. Craig never disseminated Skadden’s report on the Tymoshenko trial to U.S. government officials, and he did not discuss Skadden’s findings with officials in the Executive Branch or the Congress or their staffs,” Craig’s lawyers, William Taylor and William Murphy, said in a statement to the Post. “Moreover, Mr. Craig’s few media contacts about the report were not part of an effort to promote the report on behalf of a foreign government. As a result, he was not required to register [as a foreign lobbyist].”
This February, another former Skadden lawyer, Alex Van der Zwaan, was the first to be sentenced in the Mueller probe after he pled guilty to lying about his work on behalf of the Ukrainian government.