(NBC News) Federal prosecutors have ended an investigation into Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and former Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn., in a case connected to lobbying for Ukraine and Paul Manafort without filing criminal charges, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News.
The investigation by the Southern District of New York, which focused on whether several prominent Washington lobbyists violated foreign lobbying rules, grew out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into the finances of Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman who is now serving a 7.5 year sentence in federal prison.
Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which promoted Ukraine’s image in the West from 2012 to 2014. Podesta’s Democratic-leaning lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, including Weber’s firm, Mercury Public Affairs.
Paul Manafort was a business associate who worked with Tony Podesta lobbying on behalf of Ukraine. While Manafort violated FARA rules by failing to properly register as a lobbyist for a foreign government neither did Tony or John Podesta properly register.
That made Manafort and the Podesta brothers guilty of the same crime.
Two years ago, Tucker Carlson revealed the fact that Manafort worked for John and Tony Podesta, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and assisted in gaining Russian benefits via influence over State Department policy.