Corruption has sprung up like mushrooms after a storm in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election. Here is a man who has defrauded, lied, exploited, and raped his way to where he is today without ever showing so much as a pang of regret. It should come as no surprise then, that when he entered the White House he brought with him a coterie of opportunists and crooks.
Today, we got another glimpse at the kind criminality infesting this administration and those connected to it. Bloomberg reports that an associate of former Trump campaign manager turned convicted felon Paul Manafort has admitted to funneling foreign money to President Trump’s Inaugural Committee.
The admission came as the associate, Sam Patten, during his plea agreement with prosecutors. The details of that agreement were revealed today. The case was originally referred to Washington D.C. prosecutors by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
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Court documents reveal that a Ukrainian client of Patten’s wanted tickets to the inauguration but was barred from purchasing them because the Inauguration Committee wasn’t allowed to accept money from foreign nationals as per FEC regulations.
It’s suspected that the Ukrainian in question is Sergei Lyovochkin, who leads Opposition Bloc, a Ukrainian political party that Manafort consulted. Opposition Bloc is known for its pro-Russia sentiments and is considered the successor to Russia’s Ukrainian puppet party, the Party of Regions. According to its website, Lyovochkin was in D.C. at the time of the inauguration.
To facilitate Lyovochkin’s attendance, Patten devised a way to circumvent the FEC foreign money restriction by hiring a U.S. citizen to serve as a cutout. The citizen purchased the tickets for $50,000 after Patten’s consulting firm cut them a check for the exact same amount.
Bloomberg points out that the firm is also co-run by Konstantin Kilimnik, another associate of Manafort said to have connections with Russian intelligence services. Kilimnik reimbursed the firm for the $50,000.
It’s still not clear whether the Trump Inauguration Committee itself was aware of the illegal scheme, but even if they were not it’s still a sharp reminder of the kind of crooked men and women who gravitate towards and support this disastrous president.