Top Trump donor and former RNC finance chair charged in foreign lobbying scheme

Top Trump donor and former RNC finance chair charged in foreign lobbying scheme
President Donald J. Trump participates in a Christmas Day video teleconference from the Oval Office Tuesday, December 25, 2018, speaking with military service members stationed at remote sites worldwide to thank them for their service to our Nation. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

At top donor to Donald Trump became the third National Republican Committee finance chair since 2017 to run into legal trouble.

Federal prosecutors charged Elliott Broidy Thursday with an elaborate money-making scheme to pocket millions by illegally lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of a wide array of foreign entities, according to TPM. Washington, D.C. prosecutors charged that Broidy had used his direct access to Trump "to orchestrate back-channel, unregistered campaigns to lobby the Administration and DOJ." The disclosure by federal prosecutors suggests Broidy is preparing to plead guilty to the charges soon.

Broidy's lobbying included an effort to get the Justice Department to drop an investigation into a Malaysian scheme to bilk billions from a state-run fund named 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. TPM reports that Trump also "pushed the Trump administration to extradite an exiled Chinese billionaire living in Manhattan who had become bothersome to Beijing."

Frankly, Broidy had an array of questionable endeavors in the works when federal authorities raided his offices last year. In 2018, Broidy had resigned his post as an Republican National Convention (RNC) deputy finance chair after it was revealed he was making payments in a $1.6 million hush-money deal with a former Playboy model.

In 2017, the RNC rolled out four auspicious members of its finance committee under Trump's leadership: Steve Wynn, Michael Cohen, Louis DeJoy, and Broidy.

Wynn, a wealthy hotelier, resigned his RNC finance post in early 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct. He became the subject of multiple lawsuits, some of which settled while others were dismissed. The Washington Post reports that Wynn has cooperated with investigators in Broidy's case. Cohen, of course, pleaded guilty to multiple criminal counts and served prison time. He also played a role in securing the $1.6 million hush-money deal for Broidy. And DeJoy—now the embattled U.S. postmaster general—while not facing immediate legal trouble, is under investigation by Congress for potentially violating campaign finance laws.

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