The Russian government funneled millions of dollars to the United States, expecting the monetary donations would benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable initiative while his wife, then-Secretary of State under the Obama administration, attempted a reset in relations between the U.S. and Russia.
On Wednesday The Hill reported FBI informant Douglas Campbell had stated to three congressional committees that Russian nuclear executives told him the Kremlin hired the American political lobbying firm APCO Worldwide in an effort to influence Hillary Clinton and other individuals working within the Obama administration.
According to Campbell, Russian nuclear officials expected APCO Worldwide to forward its $3 million annual lobbying fee towards the Clinton Global Initiative via four $750,000 payments throughout the course of year.
Campbell stated during the congressional testimony that Russian nuclear officials “told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clintons’ Global Initiative.”
“The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months,” Campbell said. “APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement.”
APCO Worldwide officials claim their support for the Clinton Global Initiative and its work with the Russian government were not connected in any way, and involved different divisions of the lobbying firm.
According to APCO, the lobbying work conducted for the Russians did not involve Uranium One, instead focusing on “regulatory issues aimed at helping Russia better compete for nuclear fuel contracts inside the United States,” The Hill reported.
“APCO Worldwide’s activities involving client work on behalf of Tenex and The Clinton Global Initiative were totally separate and unconnected in any way,” APCO told The Hill in a statement. “All actions on these two unconnected activities were appropriate, publicly documented from the outset and consistent with regulations and the law. Any assertion otherwise is false and unfounded.”
Clinton spokesman, Nick Merrill, said the claims being made by Campbell are simply being used to distract from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign.
“Just yesterday the committee made clear that this secret informant charade was just that, a charade,” Merrill said, The Hill reports. “Along with the widely debunked text-message-gate and Nunes’ embarrassing memo episode, we have a trifecta of GOP-manufactured scandals designed to distract from their own President’s problems and the threat to democracy he poses.”
On Wednesday Campbell was reportedly interviewed for hours during a closed door session by staff members form both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and the House Oversight Committee.
(Written & Edited by Bart Charles Begley)