Should have seen this coming.
President Joe Biden received a sizable campaign contribution from a Russia lobbyist just months before declining to enforce sanctions on a Russian firm building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to a report.
“He was not flagged during our vetting process,” a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee told the New York Post regarding McLarty Associates Managing Partner Richard Burt, confirming the donation.
Burt, a former Republican and U.S. ambassador to Germany in the 1980s, made a pair of donations to assist Biden’s presidential election: a $4,000 contribution to Biden’s Victory Fund just ahead of the 2020 presidential election and a $10,000 donation to Unite The Country, a liberal political action committee, in March 2020.
“When Richard Burt donated to Biden Victory Fund, he failed to acknowledge that he was a registered foreign agent and was therefore ineligible to contribute,” the spokesman said. “Because Burt also listed a different employer than on his [Foreign Agents Registration Act] registration, he was not flagged during our vetting process.”
Biden violated his own campaign’s pledge not to accept lobbyist cash when he took the payment, and Burt actively lobbies for five European energy companies (ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall Dea) that are partnering together to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The DNC confirmed they ultimately returned the funds.
donation was not particularly illegal but was business-as-usual for Washington.
“Reading between the lines, you can clearly see what that lobbying looks like,” said Massoglia. “While it’s not evidence of anything illegal, it’s just something that is evidence of how influence works in Washington.”
Gazprom, a company controlled by the Russian government, will own and operate the pipeline, which runs 1,200 kilometers from Russia to Germany.
Biden announced his decision to waive the sanctions on the Russian company, and its construction of the pipeline “is almost completely finished.”
“Because it’s almost completely finished, No. 1. The idea that anything that — and it’s not like I can allow Germany to do something they’re not,” he said, noting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was “almost completed by the time I took office.”
“To go ahead and impose sanctions now, I think, would be counterproductive now in terms of our European relations. And they know how strongly I feel. And I hope we can work on how they handle it from this point on,” he said Tuesday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement last week signaling the administration’s opposition to the pipeline.
“Today’s actions demonstrate the Administration’s commitment to energy security in Europe, consistent with the President’s pledge to rebuild relationships with our allies and partners in Europe. We will continue to oppose the completion of this project, which would weaken European energy security and that of Ukraine and Eastern flank NATO and EU countries,” Blinken said.
“Our opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is unwavering. Though we may not always agree, our alliances remain strong, and our position is in line with our commitment to strengthen our Transatlantic relationships as a matter of national security,” he continued.