Tony Podesta Steps Down From Lobbying Firm After Becoming Subject of Mueller Probe

Decision comes same day Manafort indicted in Mueller's Russia investigation

Tony Podesta / Wikimedia Commons
Tony Podesta / Wikimedia Commons
October 30, 2017

High-powered Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta is stepping down from the lobbying firm he founded after coming under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Podesta made the announcement at a meeting with the entire Podesta Group lobbying firm on Monday morning, according to Politico. Multiple sources told Politico that Podesta is passing "full operational and financial control" to CEO Kimberley Fritts.

"[Tony] was very magnanimous and said, 'This is an amazing group of people,'" a source said of Podesta's remarks.

The source added that Podesta said he "doesn't intend to go quietly, or learn how to play golf," and instead he wants "to fight this as an individual, but doesn't want the firm to fight it."

Fritts told the firm members that she is "thrilled at the opportunity," adding, "This is not about me, this is about y'all."

It emerged last week that Podesta is the subject of a criminal investigation led by Mueller's team for potentially violating a federal disclosure law. That law, known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, pertains to working on behalf of foreign governments.

An NBC report found that the Podesta Group was one of several firms working on Paul Manafort's public relations campaign for European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which the Podesta Group claims it thought was a nonpartisan think tank.

Manafort on Monday became the first person to be charged in the Mueller probe. Before he was Donald Trump's campaign manager, Manafort worked on the public relations campaign for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, and Trump maintains that the charges do not implicate him in any way.

Podesta's brother, John, is another major figure in Democratic politics, having served as chief of staff in the Bill Clinton White House and also as the chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.