Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Former RNC deputy finance chair charged with foreign lobbying


A former top fundraiser for Donald Trump and the Republican Party has been charged over his alleged part in a scheme meant to influence the US government on behalf of foreign actors.

Bloomberg reported that Elliot Broidy was allegedly involved in a plot to illegally lobby the Trump administration in hopes that it would halt an investigation into an embezzlement scandal at the 1MDB investment fund, which is a state-run fund in Malaysia.

Court documents detailing the charges were unsealed on Wednesday. His charges were included in a criminal information document.

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Mr Broidy is accused of accepting $6m from a Malaysian fugitive at the head of the scheme, Jho Low, to undermine the US Justice Department’s investigation into the embezzlement scheme.

The former right wing donor was then promised an addition $75m if his lobbying attempt was successful. He has been charged with conspiring to lobby for a foreign national without registering.

In addition to Mr Broidy, his business associate, Nickie Mali Lum Davis, and a former Justice Department official, George Higginbotham, were involved in the scheme. Those two individuals have already pleaded guilty to their involvement. Ms Lum Davis not only lobbied against the 1MDB investigation, she also lobbied for the country to release the wealthy Chinese exile Guo Wengui to China.

Mr Guo recently burst into Americans’ consciousnesses when Steve Bannon, a formerly invaluable part of Mr Trump’s campaign team, was arrested on his yacht in connection with fraudulently fundraising to build the president’s promised border wall.

Mr Broidy’s connection to the Republican Party and to Mr Trump is not solely tied to his donations; from 2017 to early 2018, he worked as the deputy finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.

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He also held a top position on Mr Trump’s inaugural committee. He eventually stepped down from his GOP role after he impregnated a former Playboy model he had been having an affair with and was forced to pay her $1.6m.

The agreement between Mr Broidy and the model was brokered by Mr Trump’s one-time lawyer, Michael Cohen.  

He has also worked with George Nader, an adviser to the United Arab Emirates and a convicted sex offender.

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