Joe Schoffstall


Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., continues to dish out six-figure payments to her husband’s firm, which has now received more than $1 million from her campaign this cycle.

Federal Election Commission records released Tuesday afternoon show that Omar’s campaign funneled $228,384.93 last quarter to the E Street Group, a D.C.-based consulting firm run by the congresswoman’s husband, Tim Mynett. The payments, predominantly for digital and fundraising services, bring the total that Omar’s campaign has sent to Mynett’s firm to just over $1 million for the 2020 cycle.

Omar, a freshmen congresswoman, has faced scrutiny over numerous financial and personal issues since she was elected in 2018. She has drawn criticism for a lack of transparency about her previous marriages, over campaign finance violations, and for a potential violation of House ethics rules pertaining to the advance she received on a recently published memoir. Pressed for answers, she has routinely dismissed the inquiries as “smears” and “conspiracy theories.”

Mynett’s firm is the top vendor for Omar’s campaign, which doled out $521,000 between April 1 and June 30 with Mynett’s share accounting for 44 percent of that total.

The financial relationship between Mynett and Omar began before the two announced they were married this March, but it is unclear how long the two were romantically linked before they tied the knot.

Author: Joe Schoffstall

Source: Fox News: Ilhan Omar’s payments to husband’s firm hit $1 million in 2020 cycle

An advocacy group funded by liberal billionaire George Soros spent a record amount on lobbying in 2019, filings show.

The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), a D.C.-based nonprofit that has pushed funds toward advocacy that includes making gun companies liable for crimes committed with firearms, fighting Trump judicial nominations, and on issues related to immigration enforcement, dropped $24 million into lobbying efforts during the fourth quarter of 2019, disclosures filed Monday show. The money is the most the group has ever spent in a three-month span and propelled the group to its highest annual lobbying totals to date.

Soros’s lobbying shop has now poured nearly $100 million into advocacy efforts since President Donald Trump took office—$40 million more than it spent over the previous 14 years combined. OSPC ranked as a top-three spender, ahead of corporate giants Amazon, Facebook, Boeing, and Alphabet in recent years. The explosion in lobbying cash shows the extent the financier’s group is devoted to pushing back against the administration and bolstering the efforts of other progressive advocacy groups that are resisting the president’s agenda.

The OSPC, which acts as the advocacy arm to the Open Society Foundations network, uses two in-house lobbyists. The group also gives grants to like-minded groups for their own lobbying activities.

The group pushed nearly $24.5 million into such activities between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2019. Some of that money went toward an effort to repeal an act protecting firearm manufacturers from liability for gun crimes. During the fourth quarter, which runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, the group lobbied the House of Representatives and Senate on the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, and issues related to national security powers, its new form shows. Lobbying reports only list the issue being advocated and do not disclose exactly what the groups are pushing.

More than $20 million was passed to dozens of liberal groups for their own lobbying efforts and organizational support throughout the year. The groups that receive the grants are active in pushing back against policies such as the repeal of Obamacare and President Trump’s tax cuts.

During the third quarter, for example, grants of at least $1 million were made to the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Community Change Action, Emgage Action, Indivisible Project, Tides Advocacy, and Virginia New Majority, according to the group’s website. Money was also passed to liberal activist groups to support policy efforts on immigration, sexual health and rights, government accountability, and environmental policy, among other initiatives. Its fourth-quarter grants are not yet publicly posted.

The OSPC spent a total of $48.42 million on its lobbying activities in 2019.

“Too often, powerful corporate interests have a seat at the table in Washington, while workers, consumers, and patients are excluded from the political process,” said Tom Perriello, executive director of the OSPC. “OSPC’s grantees help give voice to those who need to be heard at this unprecedented moment in America. We are proud to do our part, along with our grantees, to stand against hate, bigotry, and anti-Semitism; corporate greed; presidential overreach and more.”

Soros’s group has now pushed $96 million into advocacy efforts since Trump was sworn into office. The OSPC reported spending a combined total of $56.65 million from 2002 to 2016, nearly $40 million less than it spent in the three years since the start of the Trump presidency.

Author: Joe Schoffstall

Source: Free Beacon: Soros Group Spends Record $48 Million on Lobbying in 2019

Andrew Bakaj also tied to whistleblower group whose cofounder worked for liberal orgs, donated to Clinton

The lead counsel representing the Ukraine whistleblower donated to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign earlier this year, records show.

Andrew Bakaj, founder and managing partner of D.C.-based law firm Compass Rose Legal Group, is the lead counsel working on behalf of the Ukraine whistleblower. Bakaj earmarked a $100 donation on April 26 through ActBlue, a fundraising nonprofit that helps facilitate contributions for Democrats, to Biden’s presidential campaign, the Federal Election Commission’s website shows. Biden appears to be the only recipient of campaign cash from Bakaj this year.

The whistleblower, whose identity remains unknown, approached the intelligence community’s inspector general about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. The IG in turn approached House Democrats, who announced an impeachment inquiry. Trump acknowledged discussing Biden’s potential links to corruption in Ukraine during the conversation, but denied pressuring Zelensky.

Attorney Mark Zaid is acting as co-counsel for the whistleblower. Zaid and Bakaj are both involved with Whistleblower Aid, a nonpartisan legal nonprofit launched in 2017 to help federal employees coming forward with information about wrongdoing navigate legal avenues.

John Tye, a former government whistleblower at the U.S. Department of State, cofounded Whistleblower Aid and is listed as its governor in D.C. incorporation papers. Tye previously worked at the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, known for its “hate group” designations, and Avaaz, a liberal organization that pushes global activism on climate change.

In 2016, an unemployed John Tye donated $2,700 to Hillary for America, Hillary Clinton’s former presidential campaign committee, filings show. The address marked on the Clinton donation matches that of a now-defunct limited liability company called Napier Network. Napier is Tye’s middle name.

Tye told the Washington Examiner that the Ukraine whistleblower did not contact Whistleblower Aid. The publication asked if the group was providing or standing ready to provide assistance. “Yes. Absolutely,” he said.

Zaid, one of two attorneys Tye paid $13,000 to help him navigate the lawful reporting process when he was acting as a whistleblower, is the other cofounder of Whistleblower Aid. Zaid has also given thousands of dollars to Democrats in the past.

The Washington Free Beacon asked Zaid in September 2017, when Whistleblower Aid launched publicly, about his contribution of $3,400 to a local Maryland Democratic committee. The attorney characterized the payments as money he paid into silent auctions.

“All of those donations were my winnings in the silent auction, which were usually alcohol and Disney trips,” Zaid said at the time. He added that politicians would auction off lunches and that he won such a lunch with then representative Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.). His law firm covered the costs of the lunch because it was for work-related purposes, he said. Zaid added that he testified in front of Van Hollen and that he supported whistleblower and classification reform. “They’re listed as donations, but they’re not what I would consider donations to the Democratic Party to help them,” he said.

Zaid is also executive director of the James Madison Project, an organization established in 1998 to “promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy.”

At the time the Free Beacon spoke to Zaid in 2017, John Podesta, who chaired Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, was listed on James Madison Project’s board of advisers. When questioned on Podesta’s involvement with his group, Zaid claimed he had not spoken to Podesta in nearly two decades.

“I thought I took it off the website,” Zaid said. “So when I founded it in 1998, I asked him to join the board of advisers. I think he came on around ’99 or 2000 and I literally haven’t spoken to him since. So the board of advisers was always meant to have some big names and people that would have some prestige, associated people that were in the community and Podesta was—and still is I think—a very big advocate for transparency. But he hasn’t had any communications with us in literally almost two decades.”

Podesta no longer appears on the group’s website as a board member. A cached version of the group’s site from September 2017 shows Podesta’s name.

Whistleblower Aid is not a standalone nonprofit. An IRS search of the group’s tax identification number provided on the donation page of its website turns up a nonprofit called Values United, which lists Tye as its principal officer. D.C. corporation records show Whistleblower Aid is a trade name—the operating but not legal name—of Values United. Tye’s LinkedIn page further states Whistleblower Aid is a legal project of Values United.

Values United spent $525,000 on endeavors related to educating the public on whistleblower matters and assisting individual whistleblower clients with legal help throughout 2017, its tax forms show.

Values United lists the same address and suite number as Compass Rose, Bakaj’s law firm where Zaid is now listed as an attorney.

House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Democrats have been informed by the Ukraine whistleblower’s counsel that their client “would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting [director of national intelligence] as to how to do so.” Schiff added House Democrats are in contact with the counsel “and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.”

An inquiry sent to Compass Rose seeking comment on Bakaj’s donation to Biden’s presidential campaign was not returned by press time.

Author: Joe Schoffstall

Source: Free Beacon: Ukraine Whistleblower’s Lead Attorney Donated to Biden

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