Podesta Pressured To Resign Amid Legal Investigation

Tony Podesta, founding father of the Democratic lobbying agency the Podesta Group, has been pressured to resign from the agency after coming beneath felony investigation by particular counsel Robert Mueller.

Podesta introduced his choice throughout a gathering Monday morning.

Politico.com experiences: Podesta is handing over full operational and monetary management to longtime agency CEO Kimberley Fritts, in response to a number of sources with data of the assembly. Fritts and a senior group of the Podesta crew shall be launching a brand new agency within the subsequent one or two days. Sources stated the transition has been within the works for the previous a number of months.

“[Tony] was very magnanimous and stated, “That is an incredible group of individuals,” a supply stated of Podesta’s remarks. Podesta additionally instructed workers he “doesn’t intend to go quietly, or learn to play golf.” He stated he “must struggle this as a person, however doesn’t need the agency to struggle it.”

Fritts additionally addressed the gathering, telling workers that she is “thrilled at this chance” and that, “This isn’t about me, that is about y’all.” A number of different senior workers spoke about their pleasure about the way forward for the agency. The assembly ended with a convincing ovation for Podesta.

Podesta Group didn’t reply to a request for remark for this story.

Podesta’s choice to depart the agency got here on the identical day that former Donald Trump marketing campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates had been indicted on a number of expenses, together with cash laundering, working as federal brokers of the Ukrainian authorities, failing to reveal abroad financial institution accounts and making false statements to federal authorities. Trump marketing campaign international coverage advisor George Papadopoulos pleaded responsible earlier this month for mendacity to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officers, in response to court docket data.

The investigation into Podesta and his agency grew out of investigators’ examination of Manafort’s funds. Manafort organized a PR marketing campaign on behalf of a nonprofit referred to as the European Centre for a Trendy Ukraine. Podesta Group was one in every of a number of companies that had been paid to do work on the PR marketing campaign to advertise Ukraine within the U.S.

Podesta Group filed paperwork with the Justice Division in April stating that it had achieved work for the European Centre for a Trendy Ukraine that additionally benefited the identical Ukrainian political social gathering that Manafort as soon as suggested. Podesta Group stated on the time it believed its consumer was a European assume tank untethered to a political social gathering.

Podesta has lengthy been a bigger than life determine on Ok Road, rising his enterprise from a boutique agency into a large lobbying and public relations operation. He’s well-known for his flashy dressing, huge artwork assortment, beneficiant marketing campaign donations throughout all ranges of Democratic politics and, after all, for his brother John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s marketing campaign chairman.

Podesta Group has struggled within the wake of the Mueller investigation. Greater than a dozen of its lobbying purchasers have lower ties with the agency this yr, in response to lobbying filings. Revenues have additionally declined: The agency introduced in an estimated $four.eight million within the third quarter of 2017, down from $5.2 million within the second quarter of 2017 and from $6.1 million within the third quarter of 2016.