Senate Democrats Ask the Justice Department to Investigate Rudy Giuliani’s Foreign Lobbying

His work for a member of a pro-Russian political party is drawing scrutiny.

Rudy Giuliani greets Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitschko at the funeral service for late United States Senator John McCain on September 1, 2018.Alex Edelman/CNP via ZUMA Wire

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Senate Democrats have asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, is violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by lobbying for foreign interests without registering with the agency. 

Seven Democrats wrote Thursday to John Demers, assistant attorney general for the department’s national security division, following news that Giuliani sent a letter in August to Romania’s president attacking an anti-corruption campaign there. Giuliani has acknowledged he was paid to send the letter by a firm run by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who represents one or more wealthy Romanians investigated under the campaign. (Freeh is not registered as a foreign agent.) The former New York mayor’s letter, which contradicts official US policy and drew a rebuke from the State Department, drew attention to what the Democratic senators describe as Giuliani’s “numerous foreign clients and ongoing communications with senior U.S. government officials,” including President Trump. Giuliani has not ended his work for foreign governments, nor has he fully disclosed his client list, even as he advises the president.

The senators note that Giuliani also lobbied to help the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian opposition group, win removal from a State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, and has advocated for regime change in Iran, one of the group’s top goals. His recent clients include the government of Qatar, which is aggressively working to influence Trump, and he has referenced unnamed clients in Colombia and Brazil. Giuliani’s firm, Giuliani Security & Safety, has touted work for governments in Serbia, Ukraine, Chile, Dominica, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador. Neither the firm nor any of its employees has registered under with the Justice Department. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.

The senators’ letter says Giuliani’s work for the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, whose mayor is a member of Ukraine’s Party of Regions, is especially concerning. That party, known for a pro-Russia stance, is the organization that employed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as an advisor and lobbyist between 2006 and 2014. Manafort, convicted last month of tax fraud in connection with that work, and for bank fraud, faces another trial later this month for charges that include failing to register as a lobbyist for the party.

“Mr. Giuliani’s financial connection to the organization, the organization’s close ties with the Russian government, and Mr. Giuliani’s ongoing public advocacy against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election raises further questions that warrant review,” the senators write.

Giuliani has said he does not believe he is required to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent because he does not directly lobby Trump or the US government. But the FARA law generally requires anyone attempting to influence US policy on behalf of a foreign entity to register with the Justice Department regardless of whether they lobby directly. The senators urged Demers to scrutinize Giuliani’s claims that he does not advocate for clients in private communications with Trump and top White House aides. “Without further review, it is impossible to know whether Mr. Giuliani is lobbying U.S. government officials on behalf of his foreign clients,” they write.

The senators who signed onto the letter are Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

Read the letter here:



IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate