Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the floor this week to rail against the three days of #MoscowMitch trends on Twitter. The hashtag was part of an online effort to ask why McConnell refused to warn Americans about the Russia hacking when former President Obama did. Further, there was a question about why McConnell continues to block an election security bill proposed by Democrats.
Well, Politico has discovered another Russia connection to McConnell. According to the site, two top staffers for McConnell lobbied Congress and the Treasury Department about building a Kentucky aluminum mill that was funded by a Russian company.
New lobbying disclosures uncovered the connection was to another aluminum company in Russia called Rusal. Democrats are concerned about using Russian aluminum in Defense Department projects.
Not only are former McConnell staffers doing the lobbying, but McConnell is also blocking any congressional efforts to stop the investment in Kentucky.
The funding for the project was only made possible after the Treasury Department gave sanctions relief to Rusal and other companies owned by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch and Kremlin pal. He is accused of helping Moscow seize land in Ukraine, supply weapons to Syria and meddling in the elections of other countries.
“Attention over the sanctions relief deal has focused on McConnell, given his role in halting a bipartisan congressional effort to stop the penalties rollback,” Politico reported.
McConnell swore that his support for lifting sanctions was “completely unrelated to anything that might happen in my home state.”
“A number of us supported the administration,” McConnell continued. “That position ended up prevailing. I think the administration made a recommendation without political consideration. And that’s — that was how I voted — the reason I voted the way I did.”
The two former McConnell staffers were tax advisors to the senator. They left the office to be lobbyists last year and directly lobbied their old boss.