Less than two weeks after John Podesta’s brother, Tony, quit as head of the prominent Democratic lobbying group, the Podesta Group just days after it was revealed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller was investigating Podesta for potentially violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his work involving Ukraine clients, Politico reported overnight that Podesta Group longtime CEO, Kimberley Fritts, is leaving the firm to start her own lobbying shop, according to three Podesta Group staffers.
Tony Podesta tapped Fritts as his successor when he announced he’d step down as chairman last week, hours after an indictment charging Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, with violating foreign lobbying law, was unsealed. As a reminder, the widely leaked indictment accused Manafort of hiring the Podesta Group to lobby for an ostensibly independent nonprofit that ‘was under the ultimate direction’ of the Ukrainian president, his party and the Ukrainian government.
And while Fritts had been expected to relaunch the Podesta Group – under a new name of course – in the days after Podesta stepped down, after just a week of trying to hammer out the details of what the new firm would look like, Fritts announced at a staff meeting late on Thursday that she would resign and start a new firm, “exacerbating questions about the future of the Podesta Group and its dozens of employees” as Politico politely puts it. Which, of course, is a less polite way of saying that the Podesta group is almost certain to be formally charged for the same violations that dragged down Manafort.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.