WASHINGTON — Tony Podesta, a major Democratic Washington player, is stepping aside from his lobbying firm amid the special counsel’s investigation, he began telling people Monday.
Podesta was the chairman of Podesta Group — a namesake firm that he also founded.
On the day charges were unsealed against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates, Podesta announced at a staff meeting he would leave his firm and is alerting clients he is stepping aside.
A person familiar with the announcement said a new firm with a new name will be formed in the hope of salvaging clients.
A central figure in Democratic politics in Washington, Podesta is also the brother of John Podesta, a longtime adviser of Hillary Clinton, her former campaign chairman, and a former adviser to President Barack Obama.
The strategist and lobbyist has been a fixture in Washington for decades.
“If you want something done in Washington, D.C., you go to Tony Podesta,” his website advertises.
Podesta has represented a range of clients, both domestic and foreign.
It’s the latter that has caused issues for Podesta in relation to the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.
This year, it came to light the Podesta Group had not fully disclosed the extent of its work lobbying for a Ukrainian group also tied to Manafort.
It subsequently amended its required filings.
The firm makes an appearance in the Manafort indictment as “Company B.” When asked about Monday’s developments, the company referred to an earlier statement saying it “fully disclosed” its work with the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine and met its disclosure filing requirements.
“Any insinuation to the contrary is false,” the statement said. “The Podesta Group has fully cooperated with the special counsel’s office and taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms compliance with the law.
“Based on our due diligence and on the recommendation of definitive legal experts, the firm immediately filed the appropriate public disclosures of its representation of the ECFMU over five years ago, and in eight subsequent public filings.
“The Podesta Group’s work for ECFMU, a non profit think tank, was in support of Ukraine’s admission to the EU, a position supported by foreign policy experts at the time. The ECFMU provided formal certification that it was neither funded by nor directed by a government or political party.”AlertMe