Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta grossed more than $500,000 to represent a Chinese company criminally convicted in March of sending illegal shipments of telecom equipment to Iran, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.
The seriousness of the illegal sales to Iran were so extreme and continued for so long — from 2010 to last year — the Department of Justice (DOJ) imposed a record $1.19 billion fine on the ZTE Telecommunications company, making it the largest penalty ever imposed in a U.S. sanctions case.
The Chinese firm hired the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s biggest and best-connected lobbying companies in the nation’s capital, in January 2016. ZTE retained Podesta’s personal help as negotiations intensified for a final resolution with DOJ during the final year of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House.
The Shenzhen-based company pleaded guilty on March 7 to violating a 22-year-old ban on shipments to Iran, including “conspiring by illegally shipping … U.S.-origin items to Iran, obstructing justice and making a material false statement,” according to the DOJ.
The Department of Commerce also released other documents showing ZTE executives had “ongoing projects in all five major embargoed countries — Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Syria and Cuba.”
“We are putting the world on notice: The games are over,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross when the guilty plea settlement was announced. “Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished — they will suffer the harshest of consequences.”
The ZTE equipment included network servers, optical devices and other telecommunication equipment, but also shipped surveillance software that could be used to spy on Iranian dissidents, DOJ said.
While Podesta was lobbying the Obama administration, his brother, John Podesta, was campaign chairman of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run. The brothers’ relationship meant Tony had special clout within the Obama administration as ZTE’s negotiations with DOJ progressed.
Podesta also had personal connections throughout the Democratic Party. He was former President Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign director and worked for four prior Democratic candidates, including former Sens. George McGovern, Edward Kennedy and Walter Mondale, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.
ZTE paid Podesta $35,000 per month as negotiations peaked in 2016, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. The payments to the Podesta Group began in January 2016 and continue to this day, according to his company’s lobbying disclosure forms.
Podesta’s lobbying firm grossed $530,000 from ZTE through the first quarter of 2017.
The firm reported its activities to the clerk of the U.S. Senate, including actively lobbying officials at the departments of Justice, Commerce, Treasury and State, as well as the White House National Security Council (NSC).
Podesta did not report his representation of ZTE to DOJ under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and reports to the Senate clerk are much less detailed than those required under FARA.
Domt expect any big headline in the New York and LA. Slimes,Washington Compost,Chicago Trash-bin or Atlanta Urinal/Constipation becuase the crook is a Demac-RAT
the traitor has a history of slime, so why is he not in jail-follow the money trail and slut hillary and the radical muslin terrorist ex-pres will be follow.