Former GOP Fundraiser Charged With Acting as Foreign Agent
by Erika Williams, Court House News, October 8, 2020
(CN) — Federal authorities charged former top fundraiser for the Republican National Committee Elliott Broidy with conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent over his alleged involvement in a secretive effort to lobby the Trump administration.
In court filings unsealed on Thursday, prosecutors say Broidy did not register as a foreign agent when he unsuccessfully lobbied the Justice Department to drop its probe into the $4.5 billion embezzlement scandal involving 1MDB — Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires lobbyists to disclose work for foreign entities.
The prosecutors from the Justice Department’s public integrity branch alleged that Broidy had leveraged his influence and access to President Donald Trump in order to secure payments from a Malaysian businessman.
The businessman, Jho Low, who is not named in the indictment, was previously charged with “orchestrating and executing a multi-billion-dollar embezzlement scheme from 1MDB.”
Low has denied any wrongdoing.
The documents claim that the businessman paid Broidy $6 million and promised another $75 million if he was successful in urging the Justice Department to stop the investigation into the alleged 1MDB scheme.
Nickie Mali Lum Davis and former Justice Department official George Higginbotham, who were also named in court documents, have already entered guilty pleas for their participation.
Higginbotham’s plea came in 2018, while Davis’ plea was entered in federal court in Hawaii this August.
In the filing in federal court in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Broidy is said to have unsuccessfully lobbied Trump and the Justice Department to arrange for the “removal and return” of a high-profile Chinese dissident.
The filing states that Broidy attempted to have the Chinese national, Guo Wengui, an associate of Steve Bannon, deported from the U.S.
Accused by federal authorities of violating lobbying laws, Broidy is the latest 2016 Trump campaign associate to face criminal charges.
Among those are former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, deputy chairman Rick Gates, chief executive Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, adviser Michael Flynn and deputy finance chairman Michael Cohen.
Broidy, who raised funds for Trump’s 2016 campaign, was working as the RNC’s deputy finance chairman in 2018 when he stepped down due to claims that he paid off a Playboy Playmate who he had allegedly impregnated.