The Special Counsel investigation into the attempted overthrow of American democracy could probably be described as the most wide-ranging probe Washington has ever been subject to, with countless informants, targets, cooperating witnesses, indicted conspirators, and chief actors. Every time the circle widens, Robert Mueller seems to add someone else to the list of those who should be worried about anything improper they’ve done since becoming a public servant.
Now he’s got a new target, and it’s a top Republican Senator.
Sen. Jim Risch (R–ID) is being investigated by Mueller for allegedly accepting illegal straw donations from lobbyists working for Paul Manafort — Trump’s indicted former campaign manager — hired to influence policies of Ukraine’s government and the Party of Regions.
You’ll remember Sen. Risch for making headlines last year when he told CNN that Russia should get a free pass for interfering in the election.
U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, is now reportedly among numerous American politicians who were pursued by a Ukrainian lobbying effort, which is now being scrutinized by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The push “engaged … every member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Paul Manafort wrote in a 2013 memo to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Risch has served on the committee since 2009. Mueller’s team included the memo in court documents filed Tuesday in the case against Manafort.
That long-running investigation helped inspire a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission last August. A Massachusetts attorney believes Risch received illegal foreign campaign contributions via a scheme concocted by Manafort and a former business partner, Rick Gates, in which a foreign national group backed by Yanukovych’s political party used “straw men” to donate to U.S. candidates running for federal office […]
A Massachusetts attorney believes Risch received illegal foreign campaign contributions via a scheme concocted by Manafort and a former business partner, Rick Gates, in which a foreign national group backed by Yanukovych’s political party used “straw men” to donate to U.S. candidates running for federal office.
Massachusetts ethics attorney J. Whitfield Larrabee weighed in:
Risch accepted the contributions, knowing that they were paid through a straw and that the funds came from the ECFMU or other foreign nationals of Ukrainian or Russian origin who were laundering money through the ECFMU.”
Risch spokeswoman Kaylin Minton said his office already responded to the FEC, “stating Sen. Risch knew nothing about this — he has heard nothing since then.”
The report linked above also names several other members of Congress that are allegedly connected to Vladimir Putin and Paul Manafort, leading many to wonder if their own ties to Russia are why they appear to have been trying to discredit Mueller’s investigation.
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