President Biden and his allies raised campaign funds from a major Russian lobbyist in 2020, just months before his administration’s decision to remove sanctions against a controversial company building a Russian pipeline to Germany.
Richard Burt, managing partner at McLarty Associates and former US ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, awarded Joe Biden $ 4,000 in October 2020 and lost an additional $ 10,000 in left-aligned political action committee Unite The County in March 2020, FEC records show.
In addition to violating Biden’s own campaign promise not to take lobbyists’ money, Burt’s money is particularly noteworthy as he is currently directly engaged in lobbying activities for Nord Stream 2 AG.
“When Richard Burt donated to the Biden Victory Fund, he did not acknowledge that he was a registered foreign agent and therefore ineligible to contribute,” a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee told the Post . “Because Burt also listed a different employer than the one [Foreign Agents Registration Act] registration, it was not reported during our verification process. “
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The DNC said it returned the money Thursday after the Post’s investigation.
The Switzerland-based Nord Stream 2 – controlled by a former East German Stasi officer and close ally of Vladimir Putin – is currently engaged in sanctionable activity, according to the State Department. The Biden team, however, raised eyebrows after refusing to apply sanctions, citing US national interests, Axios reported.
Critics fear that the project will allow Russia a dangerous influence over European energy supplies and increase its overall political influence on the continent.
To build the pipeline, Nord Stream 2 partnered with five European energy companies, ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall Dea. Lobbying disclosure forms show Burt is currently an advocate on behalf of the Five.
“To protect and promote the interests of society in the natural gas debate as part of European energy security and to advise on sanctions issues against Russia,” Burt’s disclosure read for OMV under the heading “specific lobbying issues”. The other four offer similar language.
“Reading between the lines, you can clearly see what this lobbying looks like,” Anna Massoglia, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, told The Post. “While this isn’t proof of anything illegal, it’s just something that shows how influence works in Washington.”
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Burt, a longtime GOP donor before switching sides in 2019, has long been a fixture in DC foreign policy circles. “He carries an air of great knowledge, wisdom and experience, and he is impressive when you meet him,” a former Trump official who has dealt with Burt told The Post.
Burt played an early role advising the Trump campaign’s foreign policy positions, and even helped the billionaire candidate draft his first foreign policy speech – something critics immediately picked up as evidence of unfortunate relations with Russia.
“The revelation of Burt’s lobbying activity raises new questions about Russian influence in Trump’s campaign,” shouted Politico, who has extensively cited Burt’s work on Nord Stream 2 – a project Trump is embracing. is then opposed as president.
“The sum total of Trump’s words and actions only encouraged Russian interference in our election,” California Representative Adam Schiff said in August 2020. “Insecure, unscrupulous and transactional, Trump is Putin’s ideal American president. “
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In March 2019, Burt donated up to $ 2,800 to Schiff shortly after the congressman took the reins of the powerful House Intelligence Committee.
Schiff has not publicly commented on the Biden Nord Stream 2 decision.
Burt and representatives for Schiff did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.