Flying a bit under the radar given the indictments of Trump campaign staffers, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly been closing in on Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. The brother of former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Tony is now reportedly under scrutiny for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) relating to his group’s business with the Ukrainian government. Amid Mueller’s investigation, Podesta announced Monday that he was leaving The Podesta Group, the lobbying firm he co-founded.
The investigation into Podesta is tied to the Special Counsel’s investigation into Paul Manafort, as Politico explains:
Manafort organized a PR campaign on behalf of a nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Podesta Group was one of several firms that were paid to do work on the PR campaign to promote Ukraine in the U.S.
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. Podesta Group said at the time it believed its client was a European think tank untethered to a political party.
While announcing the decision to step down, Podesta handed the reins of the company fully to CEO Kimberley Fritts, who is expected to launch a new lobbying and PR firm with other high-ranking Podesta Group staffers soon. It’s a transition that has reportedly been in the works for months.