July 21, 2021 •
Chairman of the 2016 Presidential Inaugural Committee Indicted for Allegedly Acting as an Agent of Foreign Government
On July 20, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced indictments against three individuals alleged to have illegally lobbied for a foreign government, including billionaire Thomas Joseph Barrack, one-time Chairman of the 2016 Presidential Inaugural Committee and informal advisor for Donald J. Trump.
Prosecutors assert Barrack and two associates allegedly used “unlawful efforts to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the United States at the direction of senior UAE officials by influencing the foreign policy positions of the campaign of a candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and, subsequently, the foreign policy positions of the U.S. government in the incoming administration, as well as seeking to influence public opinion in favor of UAE interests,” according to the DOJ’s press release.
When acting, in the United States, as agents operating under the control of foreign governments or foreign officials, other than diplomats, individuals are required to notify the U.S. Attorney General’s office of such activities under 18 U.S.C. §951(a), a law related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Among the other accusations in the seven-count indictment, prosecutors allege that when the lobbying behavior was discovered and Barrack was interviewed about it, he made numerous false statements to the FBI special agents.
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