Today, Senator Charles Grassley released his Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal. The main focus of the Op-Ed was the lack of enforcement of FARA violations since it’s inception. Grassley points out how since 1966, there have only been 15 FARA violations that have been prosecuted and almost half of those stemmed from the Mueller Special Counsel.
FARA was originally passed into law in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda. Why it stopped being prosecuted in 1966 is anyone’s guess. In 1966 Lyndon B. Johnson was president and America was fighting in the Vietnam War. This lack of enforcement continued through a slew of Republican and Democratic presidents making this a bipartisan issue. With the bombardment of foreign propaganda influencing American politics nowadays, it is no wonder why a bill passed in 1938 is currently in a renaissance of sorts.
Let’s start with the basics, when you get paid, you are providing a service for the payer. As the world has become more interconnected through modern transportation methods and the rise of the internet, the dissemination of propaganda has become increasingly easier and cheaper to accomplish. With the apparent Russian Influence on the 2016 presidential campaign, just a few troll bots here and there were able to push their influence to millions of Americans. Whether it influenced anyone’s votes or not is anyone’s guess, but if the main goal was to sow discord into the heart of America, it was a wild success.
In Grassley’s Op-Ed, he mentions three instances where if FARA was enforced, the outcome of today could have changed. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and lobbyist Tony Podesta were named for their lobbying in Ukraine. This eventually led to the Maiden Coup, which could have possibly been prevented. The Manafort case has also led to a wide range of FARA enforcement. If you were part of the Opposition Bloc with Manafort, chances are you were recently hit with a FARA violation. Greg Craig, Cliff Sloan, Skadden Arps, and Vin Weber were all victims of the Special Counsel once it was directed by Rod Rosenstein to look into Manafort’s payments from the Ukrainian Government in his August 2, 2017 memo. If anything, this was the only successful operation that we have seen from the Special Counsel as the rest of it, barring the redacted indictments, has resulted in both sides being unsatisfied.
The next order of business for Grassley was calling out Fusion GPS for failing to register as a foreign agent from their work stemming from the Prevezon Holdings case. They were looking to repeal the Magnitsky Act which was passed into US law by Obama. After the Magnitsky Act was passed, sanctions were imposed on Russians who were assumed to be involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia. I have written about how the Russian dirt against Hillary Clinton was written by Fusion GPS in the past. They were paid with Russian money and should have registered. You’re going to see a lot of these seemingly independent scandals start to fold into themselves so it is important to note that how the State Department’s Jonathan Winer was an architect of the Magnitsky Act. The Daily Caller just wrote a story today about how Winer was setting up meetings for Christopher Steele, the person hired by Fusion GPS to write the now infamous Steele Dossier. It is just the same people following the same formula over and over.
The final order of business for Grassley was, “a former Clinton White House staffer and a lawyer for a Georgian political party failed to register as foreign agents.” Who could this be? None other than Clinton staffer/fixer, Sydney Blumenthal. After the email server was revealed by Guccifer in 2013, there were two memos that could count as a FARA violation. The first one had to do with Libya in 2011/2012. Unsurprisingly, Jonathan Winer was the Special Envoy to Libya. The second case was in 2012 when he acted as a middleman between a pro-Russian party in Georgia which urged Hillary Clinton to support Putin to avoid embarrassment for the Obama Administration. Sydney has his ties to Spygate as well. Both Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, the twin brother of Brooke Shearer, had passed their own dossier to Jonathan Winer who handed it back to Steele. He was also a main subject of the recently released report about the Clinton Email Investigation by Judicial Watch. The report was featured in the latest Clinton Vault drop by the FBI. Blumenthal was apparently playing Dora the Explorer trying to find Gaddafi’s fortune. This led to countries breaching the email server and having real time views of whatever was on the server.
Another area where I believe FARA enforcement would have went a long way to prevent this mess would be the Brookings Institute, which I have written about extensively. I mentioned Cody Shearer being the twin sister of Brooke Shearer earlier because Brooke is married to Strobe Talbott, college roommate and friend of Bill Clinton and the former president of Brookings. The New York Times agrees with me.
If you picked up on the sarcastic undertones in this post, it is because I shouldn’t even have to write about how foreign influence negatively effects the United States. This law was put in place to prevent propaganda, but the lack of enforcement has led to the sedition that is tearing this country apart. Grassley’s bill proposes to get rid of a large loophole that exempts people who are already lobbying for congress. He also grants more tools for prosecutors to enforce potential FARA violations.
As the number one country in the world, the United States will always have a target on it’s back. It is good to see that at least one member of Congress is ready to fight back.