Published: Sat, March 11, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Former Trump aide Flynn says lobbying may have helped Turkey

Former Trump aide Flynn says lobbying may have helped Turkey

According to the Foreign Agent Registration Act, U.S. citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign government or political entities must disclose their work to the Justice Department.

Just yesterday, word broke that Michael Flynn was registering as a "foreign agent" due to lobbying work he did during the 2016 election that may have benefited the Turkish government. Purposely failing to register is a felony even though the Justice Department rarely files criminal cases with such cases.

Ekim Alptekin, chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council (TAIK) and owner of the Turkey-based EA Group, said he hired the FIG through his Dutch company, Inovo BV, last September in order to promote the Turkish business environment in the us and receive geopolitical reporting services in the U.S about Turkey.

Flynn penned an editorial that appeared in The Hill on November 8 previous year - Election Day - calling Turkey a "vital" ally and criticizing the media for one-sided reporting on the country's "crackdown on dissidents". Inovo's client was a private natural gas export company based in Israel, though the FARA filing did not specify the company's name. Alptekin is a member of a Turkish economic relations board run by an appointee of Erdogan, who has accelerated a crackdown against the nation's weakening secularist faction since the failed coup last summer. Flynn met with Turkish officials less than two months after the election. "Republicans in Congress are doing a disservice to the White House and our national security interests by not conducting rigorous and serious oversight of the administration, especially to help catch these issues early and address them".

According to the paperwork filed, Flynn's firm's work involved collecting information about cleric Fethellah Gulen and pressuring US officials to take action against him. I would refer you to General Flynn and the Department of Justice in terms of the filings that have been made.

The Hill updated the piece with an editor's note Wednesday, saying "neither General Flynn nor his representatives disclosed this information when the essay was submitted".

Spicer then launched into a semantic argument, professing his inability to "forget about the legalisms" because all the administration asks is that "people ... follow the law". "If intention was to lobby USG I would have hired Podesta like Gulen" he added in a follow-up tweet.

Spicer said today that the president was not informed of "this arrangement" or his need to register as a foreign agent.

During the summer and fall, Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was sitting in on classified intelligence briefings given to Trump. Perhaps because extending the title to National Security Advisor and Registered Foreign Agent would make it hard to fit on a business card.

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