Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s list of targets in him investigation keeps growing by the day, it seems. After dozens of indictments and the recent arrest of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, it appears the latest target of the investigation is a top Republican Senator.
Sen. Jim Risch (R. ID) is being investigated by Robert Mueller for allegedly accepting illegal straw donations from the lobbyists who Paul Manafort hired to influence policies of Ukraine’s government and the Party of Regions.
You may remember Sen. Risch for making headlines earlier this 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 Idaho Statesman reports:
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 says “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 where laundering money though 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.