2020 Election

Evelyn Farkas Came for the Free Beacon, Then She Came in Fourth

Obama alum bombs in congressional primary

Evelyn Farkas and the Atlantic Council's John Herbst wearing Burisma-branded clothing / Twitter
Evelyn Farkas and the Atlantic Council's John Herbst wearing Burisma-branded clothing / Twitter

Evelyn Farkas, the former Obama administration official and advocate for Burisma Holdings, lost her Democratic House primary for New York’s 17th district, coming in fourth place on Tuesday.

Although Farkas outraised most of her opponents, bringing in $1.2 million, her campaign platform that focused on combating Russian election influence did not appear to persuade many voters in the district.

While ballots are still coming in from district residents who voted by mail, as of Wednesday morning Farkas had received 9 percent of the vote.

Mondaire Jones, a 33-year-old former Justice Department official, holds a commanding lead in the primary with 44 percent of the vote. Adam Schleifer, a California prosecutor and son of a billionaire pharmaceutical mogul who largely self-funded his campaign, is in second place with 20 percent. State senator David Carlucci is in third place, with 13 percent.

Eight candidates competed in the hotly contested primary to replace outgoing Rep. Nita Lowey, who held the seat in the solidly Democratic district since 1989.

Since Farkas left the Department of Defense, where she served under President Obama, she has worked as a think tank analyst and media commentator.

While working as a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, Farkas traveled to Ukraine on a Burisma-funded trip, where she visited the company’s facilities while wearing a jacket and hat that featured the Burisma logo, the Washington Free Beacon reported in March. She also participated in a 2018 conference bankrolled by the company.

Farkas later attempted to fundraise off of the Free Beacon report, sending out an email blast to supporters asking for money to fight the "right-wing smears."

"We can't let them get away this [sic]. Will you chip in $5, $15, or anything you can to help us fight back against these right-wing smears?" the email said.

She frequently criticized President Trump for allegedly colluding with Russia and railed against his efforts to investigate Burisma Holdings, which was under scrutiny for appointing Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to a lucrative board position while Biden was overseeing U.S.-Ukraine policy.

"Hunter Biden sitting on the board of that company, that doesn't necessarily implicate him in any wrongdoing," Farkas said during an interview with WBUR last year.

She added that the Ukrainian government's dropping an investigation into Burisma's owner, Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, "leaves the impression that there's nothing to see there. Who knows."

Burisma Holdings and Zlochevsky have been the subjects of fraud and money-laundering investigations in the United Kingdom and Ukraine.

President Trump’s efforts to persuade the Ukrainian government to reopen investigations of Burisma led to his impeachment and ultimate acquittal late last year.