Grassley Statement on Indictments Filed by Special Counsel’s Office
Oct 30, 2017
WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley today made the following statement regarding federal criminal charges filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller:
“As always, it’s important to let our legal system run its course. While we don’t have any more information regarding the current status of the special counsel’s investigation other than what has already been made public, it’s good to see the Justice Department taking seriously its responsibility to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act. I’ve been raising concerns about lackluster enforcement of this foreign influence disclosure law for years now, regardless of administration or political party. It should be enforced fairly and consistently, regardless of politics or any other factor. The dirty little secret is that lots of people across the political spectrum in Washington have skirted their FARA registration obligations for years with little to no accountability. I’ve been working on legislation to improve the Justice Department’s enforcement of FARA, and expect to introduce it very soon.
“The Judiciary Committee is continuing its work to ensure that the Justice Department and FBI are functioning free from inappropriate influence, consistent with our constitutional oversight responsibility,” Grassley said.
Foreign Agents Registration Act
Several charges in the Special Counsel’s indictment stem from the alleged failures of Paul Manafort and Richard Gates to register as agents of a foreign principle working to influence U.S. government activities. Such registration is required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Grassley first raised concerns about FARA enforcement in 2015 and held an oversight hearing on FARA enforcement in July. In April, Grassley questioned the Justice Department about potential FARA violations by Manafort and Gates as well as by Mercury L.L.C. and the Podesta Group, which lobbied on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, the organization referenced in the special counsel indictment. The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was essentially a front for the Ukrainian government as well as the Ukrainian Party of Regions.
Grassley has also questioned the Justice Department about possible FARA violations by Clinton confidantes Sidney Blumenthal and John Kornblum for their reported work on behalf of a political party in the nation of Georgia, Fusion GPS and various individuals working to undermine the Magnitsky Act, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s retroactive registration under FARA and Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa’s reported work with Ukrainian officials to undermine the Trump Campaign.