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GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy charged for covertly lobbying Trump administration for foreign entities

Grand jury investigating top GOP fundraiser
Grand jury investigating top GOP fundraiser 00:38

Washington — Elliott Broidy, a GOP fundraiser who served as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, was charged by the Justice Department for his role in a covert scheme to lobby the Justice Department and Trump administration on behalf of undisclosed foreign entities. 

The charges against Broidy were detailed in a criminal information filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. According to court filings, Broidy, with two others, agreed to work as agents for an unidentified foreign national from March 2017 to at least January 2018 for millions of dollars, an arrangement that was not disclosed to the federal government, as required by the law.

Federal prosecutors allege Broidy and his associates sought to "orchestrate back-channel, unregistered campaigns to lobby the administration and DOJ" on two issues. He is charged with conspiracy to serve as an unregistered foreign agent. 

A spokesperson with the Republican National Committee said in a statement the party severed ties with Broidy long ago.

"Elliot Broidy hasn't volunteered for the Party in over two years, and we had no knowledge of any wrongdoing," the spokesperson said. "He was asked to leave after serious ethical questions were raised, and he has not been involved in any Party operations since."

The Justice Department alleges Broidy sought to convince it to drop matters involving the unidentified foreign national for his role in the multi-billion-dollar embezzlement from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a development and investment company owned by the Malaysian government.

The Justice Department describes the person, "Foreign National A," as a "wealthy businessperson living in East Asia who has been charged separately for his role in orchestrating and executing a multi-billion-dollar embezzlement scheme from 1MDB."

Broidy also agreed to lobby the Trump administration and the Justice Department to arrange for the removal of a Chinese national living in the United States, believed to be Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese billionaire with ties to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

In both instances, Broidy and his colleagues were unsuccessful in their lobbying efforts. 

Broidy has long been a target of the Justice Department for his undisclosed work with foreign entities. In July, the Associated Press reported a federal grand jury in New York was investigating Broidy and whether he used his post as a top official with President Trump's inaugural committee to boost his business dealings.

In late August, Nickie Lum Davis, an American businesswoman who is named in court filings in Broidy's case, admitted to working with a "prominent official of a national political party with ties to the administration" to lobby Mr. Trump and the Justice Department to drop civil forfeiture proceedings and a criminal investigation involving 1MDB. Davis also admitted to agreeing to lobby the Trump administration for the removal and return of Guo to Chin.

To further the interests of the unidentified foreign national, the Justice Department claims Broidy, with the help of Davis and another colleague, attempted to facilitate a meeting between the Malaysian prime minister and Mr. Trump in September 2017, which would allow the prime minister to bring up the 1MDB matter with the president.

In June and July 2017, Broidy exchanged text messages with a "high ranking official in the White House" in an effort to set up a golf outing between Mr. Trump and the Malayasian prime minister, though no outing ever took place, according to court filings.

Broidy, Davis and two others also traveled to Malaysia, Thailand and China to "negotiate and discuss the arrangement by which Broidy would lobby the administration and DOJ — outside of official channels — in exchange for millions of dollars."

For his work on behalf of the unidentified foreign national in the matter involving the 1MDB forfeiture proceedings, Broidy stipulated an $8 million retainer, as well as an additional $75 million success fee if the issue was resolved within 180 days or $50 million if it was resolved within one year.

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