Alleged Illegal Influence Campaign Conducted by Trump Advisers

Paul Manafort, the chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign and Rick Gates, his deputy, have in the past directly stage managed a hidden Washington lobbying operation. This was done to favor Ukraine’s then ruling political party. Efforts were made to influence the public opinion of Americans in support of the then pro-Russian government. Both Manafort and Gates never disclosed that they worked as foreign agents as needed under federal law.

Orienting positive news

The objective of the lobbying was to get positive press coverage of the associated Ukrainian officials. Positive coverage was scheduled for US newspapers like The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Another aim was to leach away any American public sympathy that was reserved for imprisioned rival to Victor Yanukovych, the then president. President Yanukovych had earlier imprisioned Yulia Tymoshenko. The former ultimately fled Ukraine in February 2014 followong a popular revolt after Yanukovych cracked down on protesters and tried to strengthen the already close ties with his regime to Russia.

As per US Foreaign Agents Registration Act, individuals who lobby as a representative of any foreign political leader or even political partoes should provide exhaustive reports concerning their actions. These reports should be sent to Justice Department. Any violation is regarded as a felony and the perpetrator could land up in jail. Maximum punishment is up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Trump influence

Gates had personally directed all works of two important lobbying firms situated in Washington. He worked for the Manafort owned political consulting during that time.  In the present day context, the work of the two is of extreme importance as they are responsible for guiding Trump’s campaign from April. The two also had a formative role in crafting the campaign operation of the Republican presidential candidate. Although Trump refurbished his campaign recently, both Gates and Manafort managed to retain their influence and their titles too. The workings of the two came into the spotlight as Trump faced criticism from a number of quarters for his friendly attitude towards Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.

Trump has said that if elected to the presidency, he will order his administration’s senior officials to decline speaking fees, for a period of five years post leaving office. They are not to provide services to corporations which lobby or which are linked to any entity associated in any form with any foreign government.

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