Things that make you go hmmm
President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, apparently failed to disclose more than just his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak when he accepted the White House position. On Tuesday, Flynn filed paperwork with the Justice Department to retroactively register as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying that might have helped the Turkish government prior to Election Day, The Associated Press reports.
U.S. citizens who lobby on the behalf of foreign governments or political entities are required under the Foreign Agent Registration Act to disclose their work with the Justice Department; not doing so is a felony. The Justice Department does not often pursue criminal charges in such cases, though.
The paperwork filed with the Justice Department said Flynn and his firm did work in August through November of last year that "could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey." The Turkish businessman who hired Flynn's firm disputed the filing, claiming "it would be different if I was working for the government of Turkey, but I am not taking directions from anyone in the government." But Flynn disclosed that he met with two officials at the businessman's direction who, "to the best of Flynn Intel Group's current understanding," worked for the Turkish government. The officials were reportedly Turkey's ministers of foreign affairs and energy. At the time of the meeting, in August, Flynn was also a top Trump surrogate.
Flynn also published an op-ed in The Hill in November that stressed the importance of backing Turkey's political affairs. Flynn's filings say that the op-ed relied on research he did for his contract.
Following his work with the Turkish company, Flynn agreed to honor President Trump's lifetime ban on representing foreign governments after leaving the government. Flynn ultimately resigned last month from his White House position after he allegedly lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak in December.