According to a report from the Daily Beast’s “Pay Dirt” investigatory group, a high-powered Washington D.C. lobbying firm shelled out over $20,000 dollars to a Republican-linked investigator who has been looking to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Beast reports that D.C.-based Ballard Partners wrote a check for $22,500 last September to Lev Parnas, an executive at the firm Global Energy Producers, who has been working hand-in-hand with Giuliani and other Trump aides who have been looking at Biden.
“Parnas and his partner at the company, Igor Fruman, have teamed up with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to solicit damaging information in Ukraine about Biden and his son Hunter,” the report states, adding, “Global Energy Producers was formed last year to try to get a piece of U.S.-backed plans to construct a new energy-trading infrastructure in Ukraine, which the Trump administration is seeking as a means of blunting Russian influence in the region. The company quickly began writing five- and six-figure checks to prominent Republican political groups.”
According to a spokesman for Ballard, Raj Shah, the payment “has nothing to do whatsoever with Mr. Parnas’ reported efforts related to Ukraine and Rudy Giuliani.”
The report states, “Parnas, meanwhile, has ingratiated himself with prominent Republicans beyond Giuliani: In the last year, he’s been spotted rubbing shoulders with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and GOP lobbyist Matt Schlapp, the husband of top White House communications aide Mercedes Schlapp.”
Asked for an explanation of the payment — revealed in a Florida lawsuit over a $500,000 movie deal gone bad — a spokesman for Parnas did not respond to a request for a statement when contacted by the Beast’s Lachlan Markay.
According to the New York Times’ Ken Vogel, Ballard is claiming that the $22,500 check was for a referral of business from Parnas unrelated to Ukraine and was issued months apart from Trump aides looking into Biden and the Ukraine.
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