Kimberley Fritts, a longtime Democratic lobbyist at The Podesta Group, quit the firm roughly one week after replacing Tony Podesta as the chief executive officer. Tony, co-founder and brother to former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, resigned under investigation from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Fritts was expected to relaunch the Podesta Group under a new name in the days after Podesta stepped down, according to the leftwing D.C. insider website POLITICO.
The resignation by Mr. Podesta came on the same morning Paul Manafort was told to surrender himself to federal authorities on 12 counts of conspiracy, fraud and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The law requires those who lobby on behalf of foreign agents to file disclosures with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Neither Mr. Manafort nor The Podesta Group, who began a relationship at least as early as 2011, appeared to have been in compliance with FARA. By filing a retroactive FARA disclosure this April, the liberal lobbying firm admitted to the violations.
More than a dozen of the firm’s clients have cut ties since it became clear Mr. Podesta was a target of the criminal investigation led by the special counsel.
“Tony Podesta’s name had become a scarlet letter,” a staffer told POLITICO on condition of anonymity. “I expect a lot of the top talent will go with her.”
As Peoples’s Pundit Daily (PPD) first reported in a bombshell Saturday, prosecutors for Special Counsel Mueller probed witnesses about the role The Podesta Group played in advancing Russian interests at the State Department under Hillary Clinton. The firm worked at the very least worked on a public relations campaign for the non-profit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which aimed to promote the image of the then-Russian satellite regime.
The campaign, which was mentioned as a reason for the FARA violation in the indictment, was organized by Mr. Manafort. Yet, neither Tony nor anyone else from The Podesta Group have been charged publicly with crimes in the investigation led by Special Counsel Mueller.