Tony Podesta Weighs Return to Lobbying and Democratic Politics


Although Mr Podesta’s law firm had disclosed to clients under less detailed lobbying rules of Congress and retrospectively registered with the Justice Department, this did not prevent the special investigator’s office from accessing the records and staff of his law firm and others who had worked with Mr Manafort, summons Mr. Gates.

Mr Podesta questioned the motives and methods behind the special investigator’s investigation. He referred to one of the lead prosecutors in the investigation, Andrew Weismann, as “Inspector Javert,” the police figure at Les Misérables obsessed with ensuring the arrest and punishment of a probation officer convicted of stealing bread to feed his family.

“I didn’t even steal a loaf of bread,” said Podesta, claiming that it was at least partially targeted because the special investigator “clearly thought it was a good idea to have a Democrat”.

Mr Podesta said his firm’s finances were few and far between, partly because it paid up to $ 5 million in legal fees for employees summoned by prosecutors and partly because the investigation frightened customers who were leaving the company.

Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates were charged in October 2017 with unregistered foreign lobbying, tax fraud and other crimes. The indictment identified the Podesta Group and a company it worked with on the Ukraine effort, Mercury Public Affairs, but not by name. worked as part of a “scheme” with Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates to gain support for Mr. Yanukovych while circumventing disclosure requirements for foreign lobbyists.

Within one day, the Podesta Group’s bank terminated its line of credit, citing the special investigator’s investigation and the emptying of the company’s accounts to pay employees’ legal fees, rendering the company illiquid, Podesta said.

He told employees at a staff meeting that he was stepping down from the company and cited attacks by Mr. Trump and his allies in the conservative media who, according to those in attendance, “made it impossible to run a public affairs store.”