Top Clinton Lobbyist Bundlers Tied to Foreign Banks, Governments

Firms represent Saudi Arabian, Russian, Turkish, Mexican, and Japanese interests

Hillary Clinton
July 21, 2016

A number of Hillary Clinton’s top lobbyist bundlers, who have raised millions for her presidential campaign, either directly represent foreign entities or work at firms that represent foreign entities, according to documents from the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Unit.

Hillary for America, Clinton’s campaign committee, has hauled in more than $7 million in bundled lobbyist contributions since its inception. The committee finished 2015 with $4.1 million in bundled lobbyist contributions. It has since added more than $2.9 million to its coffers from lobbyists, with $1.2 million of that amount pouring in during the second quarter of 2016, from April 1 to June 30.

Tony Podesta, owner of the Podesta Group and brother of John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s campaign, is a top bundler for Hillary for America. Podesta has bundled $267,835 in contributions to date. Podesta was hired to work on behalf of Saudi interests.

Saudi Arabia has built an extensive lobbying and public relations presence in the United States, the Washington Post reported in April. It has also supplied the Clinton Foundation with millions. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has given between $10 and $25 million to the foundation while Friends of Saudi Arabia has contributed between $1 and $5 million.

A Saudi government entity, called the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, hired the Podesta Group to push its interests. Podesta personally lobbies on the group’s behalf, and his firm collects $140,000 a month for its services.

Hogan Lovells LLP, another U.S. firm hired by the Saudis, is registered to work for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia through 2016, disclosures show. Robert Kyle, a lobbyist from the firm, has bundled $50,850 for Clinton’s campaign.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, Podesta is registered to lobby on behalf of Sberbank CIB USA Inc., a subsidiary of Russia’s largest bank, which is majority owned by the government.

The Security Services of Ukraine accused Sberbank of transferring money to pro-Russia "terrorists" fighting for Soviet occupation in April 2014, a charge denied by the bank.

Podesta’s job according to the disclosure forms is to assist the bank in clarifying the scope of sanctions from Executive Order 13660, which President Obama signed in March 2014 to block "property of certain persons contributing to the situation in Ukraine." Podeseta is also tasked with exploring possible avenues for sanctions relief.

Emanuel A. "Mike" Manatos, the senior vice president at the D.C.-based government relations firm Manatos & Manatos, was hired by the VTB Group, a Russian financial group that includes VTB Bank—another large financial institution that is majority owned by the government—, according to a foreign agents registration disclosure.

Manatos was tapped to provide counsel to VTB and to lobby the United States Congress and the Obama administration on sanctions imposed on Russian-affiliated banks. He has bundled $40,300 for Hillary for America.

Bundlers to Clinton’s campaign also lobby on behalf of Turkish interests.

Capitol Counsel LLC, a D.C.-based firm, provides government relations services to the Republic of Turkey, disclosures show. David Jones and Richard Sullivan, both partners at Capitol Counsel, combined to bundle $1.3 million for Clinton’s campaign; Jones has bundled $762,666 while Sullivan has bundled $546,030.

The Alliance for Shared Values, a New York-based nonprofit that is part of the Islamic Gülen movement—a religious and social movement led by Fethullah Gülen, who now resides in the United States—has also hired the Podesta Group, the Daily Caller reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a crackdown on supporters of the movement.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, a Denver-based lobbying shop, represents the Embassy of Mexico and was paid $52,000 for its services last year. Alfred Mottur, who works in D.C. for the firm, has bundled $32,355 for Clinton’s campaign.

McGuirewoods Consulting LLC lobbies on behalf of the Embassy of Japan. The firm employs Clinton campaign bundler Andrew Smith, who has pulled together $29,700 for Hillary for America.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, which fields three Clinton campaign bundlers, also works with the Japanese embassy. Hogan Lovells, who lobbies for the Saudi Embassy, is also registered to represent the government of Japan.

The Clinton campaign did not return a request for comment about the foreign clients of its lobbyist bundlers.

Published under: Hillary Clinton