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DEA Crackdown Bags Senior MS-13 Leader, 16 Others


Reported by Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter | 10:29 AM 01/12/2018

People arrested this week for being members of the MS-13 Mara Salvatrucha street gang among other crimes, flash their gang’s hand sign from inside a jail cell at a police station in San Salvador October 12, 2012. REUTERS/Ulises Rodriguez

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) bagged the senior MS-13 leader for the Northeast U.S. along with 11 other high-ranking members of the gang in a Thursday crackdown operation, the New York Post reported.

The 17 defendants — five of whom are not MS-13 members — are facing charges including second-degree murder, drug trafficking, and conspiracy. They face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, the Post reported Thursday. The unnamed Long Island-based leader operated two cells, code-named “Hollywood” and “Sailors.” He reported and transferred proceeds directly to MS-13 heads in El Salvador, according to the DEA.

“It started as a small-scale drug investigation on Long Island, a DEA investigation which is still growing, and as it went along and we brought other agencies on, we saw a violent threat that pushed us to get even more agencies involved and eventually apprehend this regional leader of MS-13,” DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt said in a statement. “Not only did we arrest the highest-level Mara Salvatrucha leader in the Northeast who reports to MS-13 in El Salvador, but we sent a message that we will continue to investigate their violent crimes and bring justice to their victims.”

The crackdown is the most recent operation against MS-13 since President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have made it a top priority to bring down the cartel. Sessions has heavily criticized sanctuary cities as well, claiming they are sanctuaries for crime.

The Justice Department has also partnered with several South American countries to bring down the gang. The DOJ took part in an international operation in October alongside El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that charged 3,800 gang members.

“MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs in America today, endangering communities in more than 40 states. But under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is taking them off our streets,” Sessions said at the time. “MS-13 coordinates across our borders to kill, rape, and traffic drugs and underage girls; we’ve got to coordinate across our borders to stop them.”

“That’s exactly what our courageous and professional DOJ agents and attorneys are doing,” he added. “We will continue to maintain this steadfast policy and dismantle this gang.”

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More Politically INCORRECT Cartoons


More Politically INCORRECT Cartoons


This Trump Decision Is A Major Blow To The Administrative State


Reported by Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter | 3:12 PM 11/30/2017

FILE PHOTO: The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hangs on the wall at SEC headquarters in Washington, DC, U.S. on June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

The Trump administration switched sides Wednesday in a case pending before the Supreme Court that could retroactively nullify tens of thousands of agency decisions.

The case, Lucia v. SEC, has major implications for the process by which federal agencies try or punish those in violation of laws or regulations.

The litigation concerns an agency’s decision to allow career bureaucrats to preside as the functional equivalent of judges during enforcement proceedings. These officials, called administrative law judges (ALJs), are hired by career bureaucrats. They are not appointed by the president, a court or an agency head, but they exercise significant authority on behalf of the U.S. government in official proceedings. ALJs can, among other things, issue subpoenas, make decisions about the credibility of witnesses or the admissibility of evidence, and issues provisional rulings that are generally upheld on final review — if a final review occurs at all.

The Constitution requires that the president, the courts, or the head of an executive department appoint all “inferior officers” of the United States.

A group of investment managers challenged the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) use of ALJs in an enforcement proceeding convened against them for alleged violations of securities law. The managers argue these proceedings are unlawful, because the ALJs are exactly the sort of “inferior officer” who must be appointed by the president, the court, or the head of an agency, since they exercise meaningful discretion on behalf of the federal government.

A lower federal court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, found in favor of the SEC. A three-judge panel found for the SEC, and the full court affirmed that decision on a five to five vote. The investment managers then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Obama Justice Department sided with the SEC in the dispute, but Trump’s new solicitor general, Noel Francisco, changed positions Wednesday, and backed the money managers.

“Upon further consideration, and in light of the implications for the exercise of executive power under Article II, the government is now of the view that such ALJs are officers because they exercise ‘significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States,’” Francisco wrote in a new brief at the Supreme Court.

A Supreme Court ruling against the SEC could have important implications for similarly-situated officials in other agencies. ALJs often preside in actions brought by a whole host of federal agencies. A finding against the SEC would potentially jeopardize, and perhaps invalidate, the legal status of thousands of other agency proceedings.

The Justice Department generally represents federal agencies before the high court. Accordingly, the solicitor general asked the justices to appoint another lawyer to represent the SEC as the litigation continues.

The high court could decide to take the case as soon as January.

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Send tips to kevin@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

ICE ‘Raging Bull’ Operation Leads to Arrest of 267 MS-13 Gang Members


Reported by Bob Price | 16 Nov 2017 | Washington, D.C. 

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/11/16/ice-raging-bull-operation-leads-to-arrest-of-267-ms-13-gang-members/?

Nearly 300 MS-13 gang members are behind bars following the conclusion of a joint international law enforcement effort led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “Operation Raging Bull” resulted in the arrests of 214 MS-13 members and affiliates in the U.S. and 53 in El Salvador.

ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents executed Operation Raging Bull in support of the Department of Justice’s recent prioritization of enforcement actions against violent transnational gangs.

“MS-13 has long been a priority for ICE. However we are now combating the gang with renewed focus and an unprecedented level of cooperation among DHS’s components and our domestic and international partners,” ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Thomas Homan said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “ICE has the ability to pursue complex criminal cases using our statutory authorities and to prevent crime by using our administrative arrest authorities to remove gang members from the country. We will not rest until every member, associate, and leader of MS-13 has been held accountable for their crimes, and those in this country illegally have been removed.” 

Phase one of the operation followed up on the results of an 18-month investigation in El Salvador. The probe led to the arrests of 53 MS-13 gang members and affiliates in El Salvador. In early October, the second phase began in the States. Running from October 8 to November 11, law enforcement officers and agents from federal, state, and local agencies arrested 214 gang members and affiliates across the U.S.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly stressed the importance of defeating MS-13.

“With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the United States today,” Sessions said in a statement on Thursday. “President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to reduce crime and take down transnational criminal organizations, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of these objectives.”

“So far this year, we have secured convictions against more than 1,200 gang members and worked with our partners in Central America to arrest and charge some 4,000 MS-13 members,” the AG explained. “These 267 arrests are the next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good.”

Ninety-three of the 214 arrests made in the U.S. were based on federal and/or state criminal charges, officials stated. Those charges include: murder, aggravated robbery, racketeering influenced corrupt organization (RICO) offenses, violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR) offenses, narcotics trafficking, narcotics possession, firearms offenses, domestic violence, assault, forgery, driving under the influence, and illegal entry/reentry. Immigration violations made up the remaining 121 arrests.

Operation Raging Bull – Nations of Origin chart – ICE

Only 16 of those arrested were U.S. citizens, the report states. Illegal aliens made up the overwhelming majority of those arrested. Officials arrested a total of 198 immigrants — 193 of which had no legal status. The MS-13 gang members came from El Salvador (135), Honduras (29), Mexico (17), Guatemala (12), Ecuador (4) and Costa Rica (1).

Of those arrested after entering the U.S. illegally, ICE officials reported that 64 came to the U.S. as Unaccompanied Alien Children — most of those are now adults.

Operation Raging Bull – Arrest Map – ICE

ICE officials provided examples of the types of crimes carried out by these MS-13 gang members:

  • In Baltimore, Maryland, the arrest and indictment of four MS-13 members on charges that include violent crimes in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering.
  • In McKinney, Texas, the arrest of an MS-13 gang member and citizen of El Salvador who is wanted for homicide by the National Civil Police of El Salvador (PNC).
  • In Denver, Colorado, the arrest of an MS-13 gang member and citizen of El Salvador who is wanted on an outstanding warrant for DUI and was found with three machetes in his possession.
  • In Los Angeles, California, the arrest of an MS-13 member and citizen of El Salvador, subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for gang offenses and involvement with the murder of an PNC officer in El Salvador.
  • In San Francisco, California, the arrest of an MS-13 member and citizen of El Salvador, who is a wanted fugitive in El Salvador on an arrest warrant for violent crimes including homicide.

ICE officials added six MS-13 gang members to their most wanted list, including one wanted in Montgomery County, Texas, on murder charges. The other five fugitives are suspected of murdering Salvadoran police officers.

Operation Raging Bull - Most Wanted List - ICE

Operation Raging Bull – Most Wanted List – ICE

ICE uses the following criteria in confirming MS-13 gang membership or affiliation:

Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang; have been convicted of violating Title 18 USC 521 or any other federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity; or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source.

Gang associates are individuals who exhibit gang member criteria but who are not formally initiated into the gang. Law enforcement officers encountering these individuals will determine whether indications of gang association are present by referring to the gang membership criteria.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGAB, and Facebook.

Trump Administration Cracks Down and Cuts Funding to “Sanctuary Cities”


Reported By Onan Coca | August 2, 2017

The Trump administration has just announced that they’ll be making some drastic changes to the way that the federal government hands out money.

The administration has announced that it will block Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, which is a HUGE pool of money that goes to helping cities and states with their law enforcement issues.

However, many so-called “Sanctuary Cities” refuse to obey federal laws or to even work with federal law enforcement agencies when it  comes to dealing with illegal alien criminals. This reticence to abide by federal law has led the Trump administration to remove millions in federal funds from these lawless sanctuary cities.

From the Center for Immigration Studies:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that sanctuary jurisdictions will lose access to certain federal law enforcement grants in 2017 if they prohibit officials from communicating with ICE, if they block ICE from interviewing jail inmates, or if they fail to notify ICE of the pending release of criminal aliens ICE is seeking to deport.

These particular grants, known as the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, are the largest source of federal criminal justice funds for state, local, and tribal authorities.

This move is helping fulfill one early promise of the Trump administration: to impose consequences on the most egregious of the more than 300 sanctuary jurisdictions.

It is significant because a large share of the funds awarded in this program go to sanctuary jurisdictions.

For example, according to DOJ records, the four largest grants, and seven out of the top 10 recipients of the Byrne/JAG grants are sanctuaries. Under the new rules announced by Sessions, these four top grant-getters (New York City, Cook County, Ill., the City of Los Angeles, and Philadelphia) are likely to be disqualified from these grants in the future if they maintain their current policies toward ICE.

These cities received more than $10 million in grants in 2016.

You can see the list of Sanctuary Cities and the money they’ll be losing below.

Sanctuary Jurisdictions Receiving Byrne/JAG Grants in 2016

Awardee Award Amount Location
New York City Major’s Office of Criminal Justice $4,298,245 N.Y.
City of Chicago $2,333,428 Ill.
City of Los Angeles $1,870,503 Calif.
City of Philadelphia $1,677,937 Pa.
Clark County $975,604 Nev.
Milwaukee County $937,932 Wisc.
County of Alameda, CA $876,345 Calif.
City of Baltimore $743,842 Md.
City of Seattle $673,166 Wash.
County of San Bernandino $626,025 Calif.
Hennepin County $564,510 Minn.
City of San Diego $546,793 Calif.
City of Newark Police Department $525,446 N.J.
City and County of San Francisco $522,943 Calif.
City of Albuquerque $479,125 N.M.
City of Portland $465,810 Ore.
City of Boston $447,390 Mass.
City of Riverside $429,942 Calif.
City and County of Denver $426,590 Colo.
City of Stockton $383,843 Calif.
City of Orange $377,708 Calif.
Baltimore, County of $336,110 Md.
County of Sedwick $331,032 Kan.
Prince Georges County $312,667 Md.
Dekalb County $306,768 Ga.
City of Tacoma $287,469 Wash.
City of Fresno $269,208 Calif.
City of New Orleans $265,832 La.
City of Saint Paul $260,540 Minn.
City of Sacramento $256,776 Calif.
City of Colorado Springs $255,100 Colo.
Sacramento County $241,650 Calif.
City of Providence $225,539 R.I.
City of New Haven $217,907 Conn.
City of Hartford $196,347 Conn.
City of Long Beach $196,217 Calif.
City of Bridgeport $195,781 Conn.
Contra Costa County $194,562 Calif.
City of Aurora $175,123 Colo.
County of Kern $168,552 Calif.
County of Union $167,034 N.J.
County of Stanislaus $165,937 Calif.
Spokane County $154,903 Wash.
County of Delaware $154,093 Pa.
Montgomery County $147,560 Md.
City of Bakersfield $145,769 Calif.
City of North Las Vegas PD $143,777 Nev.
City of Vallejo $136,511 Calif.
City of Reno $130,850 Nev.
City of Syracuse $117,888 N.Y.
City of Oxnard $112,635 Calif.
Santa Barbara County $108,100 Calif.
Clayton County $107,853 Ga.
City of Salinas $98,308 Calif.
City of Pueblo $95,787 Colo.
City of Compton $95,747 Calif.
Clark County $91,717 Wash.
City of New Brunswick $90,341 N.J.
City of Lakewood $87,988 Colo.
City of Topeka $85,769 Kan.
Lane County $84,217 Ore.
County of Jackson $76,389 Calif.
City of Council Bluffs $73,440 Iowa
City of Salem $69,968 Ore.
City of Pomona Police Dept $69,550 Calif.
City of Lancaster $68,883 Calif.
City of Greeley $65,164 Colo.
City of Palmdale $64,321 Calif.
City of Gainesville $63,771 Fla.
City of Yakima $63,434 Wash.
City of Allentown $62,429 Pa.
Inglewood City $61,413 Calif.
City of Santa Cruz $59,519 Calif.
Chesterfield County $55,163 Va.
City of Pawtucket $54,601 R.I.
City of Oceanside $53,730 Calif.
City of Merced $51,649 Calif.
City of Fort Collins $51,561 Colo.
City of Redding $50,688 Calif.
Linn County $50,045 Iowa
City of Hawthorne $50,021 Calif.
City of Waterbury $49,914 Conn.
City of Boulder $49,602 Colo.
City of Santa Rosa $48,367 Calif.
Sonoma County $48,287 Calif.
City of Woonsocket $47,961 R.I.
Chula Vista City $47,700 Calif.
Adams County $46,754 Colo.
City of Escondido $46,313 Calif.
Municipality of Norristown $46,294 Pa.
County of Tulare $46,020 Calif.
City of Everett $45,593 Wash.
Arlington County $44,203 Va.
City of Erie $43,588 Pa.
City of Stamford $43,468 Conn.
City of Elk Grove $42,765 Calif.
City of Gallup $42,240 N.M.
Shasta County $42,045 Calif.
City of South Gate $41,484 Calif.
County of Merced $41,458 Calif.
City of Visalia $40,764 Calif.
County of Washington $39,976 Ore.
City of Bellingham $39,398 Wash.
City of New Britain $39,287 Conn.
Town of Hamden $38,895 Conn.
Kitsap County $38,053 Wash.
Incorporated Village of Hempstead $37,982 N.Y.
City of Hanford $37,643 Calif.
Yolo County $37,455 Calif.
City of New London $36,107 Conn.
City of Thornton $34,968 Colo.
Henderson Police Department $34,400 Nev.
City of Concord $33,988 Calif.
Hernando County $33,767 Fla.
Deschutes. County of $33,730 Ore.
City of Norwalk $33,712 Conn.
Tulare City $33,694 Calif.
Snohomish County $33,664 Wash.
City of Vista $33,348 Calif.
City of Farmington New Mexico $33,277 N.M.
West Haven City $32,841 Conn.
City of Cambridge $32,576 Mass.
City of Las Cruces $31,665 N.M.
City of Norwalk $30,840 Calif.
City of Roswell $30,672 N.M.
City of Huntington Park $30,440 Calif.
City of Turlock $30,066 Calif.
Madera County $29,426 Calif.
City of Central Falls $28,961 R.I.
City of El Cajon $28,759 Calif.
City of El Monte $28,492 Calif.
City of Grand Junction $28,487 Colo.
City of Iowa City $28,453 Iowa
City of Santa Monica $28,199 Calif.
City of Rancho Cordova $28,012 Calif.
City of Citrus Heights $27,692 Calif.
City of Cranston $27,195 R.I.
City of Westminster $27,169 Colo.
Valencia County $26,889 N.M.
City of Downey $26,358 Calif.
San Juan County $26,237 N.M.
Thurston County $25,982 Wash.
Clackamas County Juvenile Department $25,771 Ore.
City of Spokane Valley $25,628 Wash.
City of National City $25,397 Calif.
City of Meriden $25,175 Conn.
Dona Asta County $24,904 N.M.
City of Santa Clarita $24,677 Calif.
City of Chico $24,570 Calif.
City of Bremerton $23,752 Wash.
City of Bellflower $23,370 Calif.
County of San Mateo $23,317 Calif.
City of Lodi $22,863 Calif.
City of Hillsboro $22,297 Ore.
Town of East Hartford $22,213 Conn.
Placer County $22,116 Calif.
City of West Hollywood $21,903 Calif.
City of Gardena $21,556 Calif.
City of Delano $21,289 Calif.
San Luis Obispo County $20,862 Calif.
City of Bethlehem $20,854 Pa.
Mesa County $20,546 Colo.
County of Mendocino $20,222 Calif.
City of Watsonville $20,115 Calif.
City of Somerville $20,004 Mass.
City of Roseville $19,928 Calif.
City of Pico Rivera $19,822 Calif.
City of West Covina $19,662 Calif.
City of Santa Fe $19,631 N.M.
City of San Mateo $19,475 Calif.
City of Napa $19,208 Calif.
City of Whittier $18,915 Calif.
City of Paramount $18,808 Calif.
City of Commerce City $18,766 Colo.
City of Baldwin Park $18,675 Calif.
El Dorado County $18,435 Calif.
City of Carlsbad $18,408 Calif.
City of Clovis $17,616 N.M.
City of Grants Pass $17,547 Ore.
City of Arvada $17,484 Colo.
City of Lakewood $17,447 Calif.
City of Manteca $17,421 Calif.
City of Bell $17,341 Calif.
City of Beaverton $17,239 Ore.
City of Yuba City $17,181 Calif.
City of Olympia $17,168 Wash.
City of Daly City $16,887 Calif.
City of Rio Rancho $16,871 N.M.
City of Azusa $16,834 Calif.
Norwich City $16,638 Conn.
City of Loveland $16,451 Colo.
City of Clovis $16,434 Calif.
City of Longview $16,389 Wash.
City of La Mesa $16,354 Calif.
City of Everett $16,288 Mass.
City of DeKalb $16,225 Ill.
City of Glendale $16,007 Calif.
City of Danbury $15,985 Conn.
County of Lake $15,980 Calif.
City of Centennial Colorado $15,668 Colo.
County of Yuba $15,553 Calif.
City of Dinuba $15,527 Calif.
City of Burbank $15,046 Calif.
County of Nevada $15,020 Calif.
Douglas County Government $14,813 Colo.
City of Santa Clara $14,806 Calif.
City of Selma $14,753 Calif.
Imperial County $14,726 Calif.
City of Porterville $14,726 Calif.
City of Petaluma $14,566 Calif.
City of Atwater $14,513 Calif.
City of Gilroy $14,299 Calif.
City of Torrance $14,193 Calif.
Village of Freeport $14,140 N.Y.
Reedley Police Department $14,113 Calif.
Town of Manchester $14,068 Conn.
City of San Luis Obispo $13,873 Calif.
City of Pittsburg $13,659 Calif.
City of Sanger $13,659 Calif.
City of Culver City $13,579 Calif.
City of Redondo Beach $13,552 Calif.
City of Newton $13,458 Kan.
Tehama County District Attorney $13,419 Calif.
Eureka Police Department $13,232 Calif.
City of Arvin $13,206 Calif.
City of Hollister $13,152 Calif.
Township of Lakewood $13,149 N.J.
City of Lawndale $12,966 Calif.
City of Marysville $12,956 Wash.
City of Sunnyvale $12,832 Calif.
City of Alhambra $12,805 Calif.
City of East Providence $12,785 R.I.
City of El Centro $12,725 Calif.
City of Mountain View $12,485 Calif.
City of Ceres $12,299 Calif.
Brighton Police Department $12,036 Colo.
City of Redmond $11,874 Ore.
City of Coalinga $11,738 Calif.
City of Santee $11,738 Calif.
City of Rosemead $11,712 Calif.
Village of Los Lunas $11,692 N.M.
City of Pearland $11,670 Texas
City of Las Vegas $11,537 N.M.
City of Tracy $11,365 Calif.
City of Wheat Ridge $11,288 Colo.
City of Northglenn $11,217 Colo.
City of Puyallup $11,115 Wash.
City of Walla Walla $11,115 Wash.
City of Lemon Grove $10,858 Calif.
Town of Stratford $10,715 Conn.
City of Belen $10,700 N.M.
City of La Puente $10,671 Calif.
Covina Police Department $10,645 Calif.
City of Moses Lake $10,619 Wash.
City of Monterey $10,351 Calif.
City of Red Bluff $10,324 Calif.
City of Los Banos $10,244 Calif.
City of Encinitas $10,164 Calif.
City of Ridgecrest $10,138 Calif.
City of South Lake Tahoe $10,031 Calif.
Total $32,737,204

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Onan Coca

EXCLUSIVE: Tony Podesta Made $500K Lobbying For Chinese Firm Convicted Of Illegal Sales To Iran


Reported by Photo of Richard Pollock Richard Pollock | Reporter | 9:46 PM 03/27/2017

Tony Podesta (Youtube screen grab)

Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta grossed more than $500,000 to represent a Chinese company criminally convicted in March of sending illegal shipments of telecom equipment to Iran, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

The seriousness of the illegal sales to Iran were so extreme and continued for so long — from 2010 to last year — the Department of Justice (DOJ) imposed a record $1.19 billion fine on the ZTE Telecommunications company, making it the largest penalty ever imposed in a U.S. sanctions case.

The Chinese firm hired the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s biggest and best-connected lobbying companies in the nation’s capital, in January 2016. ZTE retained Podesta’s personal help as negotiations intensified for a final resolution with DOJ during the final year of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House.

The Shenzhen-based company pleaded guilty on March 7 to violating a 22-year-old ban on shipments to Iran, including “conspiring by illegally shipping … U.S.-origin items to Iran, obstructing justice and making a material false statement,” according to the DOJ.

The Department of Commerce also released other documents showing ZTE executives had “ongoing projects in all five major embargoed countries — Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Syria and Cuba.”

“We are putting the world on notice: The games are over,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross when the guilty plea settlement was announced. “Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished — they will suffer the harshest of consequences.”

The ZTE equipment included network servers, optical devices and other telecommunication equipment, but also shipped surveillance software that could be used to spy on Iranian dissidents, DOJ said.

While Podesta was lobbying the Obama administration, his brother, John Podesta, was campaign chairman of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run. The brothers’ relationship meant Tony had special clout within the Obama administration as ZTE’s negotiations with DOJ progressed.

Podesta also had personal connections throughout the Democratic Party. He was former President Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign director and worked for four prior Democratic candidates, including former Sens. George McGovern, Edward Kennedy and Walter Mondale, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

ZTE paid Podesta $35,000 per month as negotiations peaked in 2016, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. The payments to the Podesta Group began in January 2016 and continue to this day, according to his company’s lobbying disclosure forms. Podesta’s lobbying firm grossed $530,000 from ZTE through the first quarter of 2017.

The firm reported its activities to the clerk of the U.S. Senate, including actively lobbying officials at the departments of Justice, Commerce, Treasury and State, as well as the White House National Security Council (NSC). Podesta did not report his representation of ZTE to DOJ under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and reports to the Senate clerk are much less detailed than those required under FARA. Last year, Podesta also avoided FARA regulations with another foreign-based client, Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank. Podesta received $170,000 for six months of work as he sought to lift U.S. economic sanctions then weighing on the Russian bank, but did not report it under FARA, as reported by TheDCNF on March 6 and March 7.

ZTE’s problems did not occur overnight but have been known throughout the nation’s capital since 2012. The case broke that year when the House Intelligence Committee released a scathing report that criticized the national security risks posed by ZTE and its Chinese competitor Huawei. The House Intelligence Committee concluded that “Huawei and ZTE have failed to assuage the committee’s significant security concerns presented by their continued expansion into the US … In fact, given their obstructionist behavior, the committee believes addressing these concerns have become an imperative for the country.” Huawei eventually abandoned the U.S. market after intelligence officials alleged it was a national security threat to the United States as a potential cyber mole for the Chinese government.

Podesta also represented ZTE in 2013 to encourage the departments of Defense and State to maintain “open and transparent markets in U.S.-China trade relations,” according to a Reuters report that estimated ZTE paid Podesta $1.44 million in fees though March 2016.

Podesta organized a team in January 2016 comprised of 11 lobbyists to defend ZTE in the criminal investigation. Ten members of the team previously worked at either the departments of State, Defense or Commerce, or the NSC, including David Adams, who was the assistant secretary of state under Hillary Clinton. Another team member was Mark Tavlarides, who served as a special assistant for international security affairs at the Defense Department and at NSC under former President Bill Clinton.

ZTE’s stonewalling of federal agencies has been considered legendary. The UK’s Guardian, which covered the case, reported the company “refused to provide any documents on its activities in Iran, but did provide a list of 19 individuals who serve on the Chinese Communist Party committee within the company.” ZTE tried to keep documents from federal prosecutors by citing China’s secrecy laws. The DOJ reported that “ZTE’s most senior managers constructed an elaborate scheme to evade detection by U.S. authorities.”

Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney who founded the nonprofit government watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), told TheDCNF, “ZTE clearly understood what they were doing.  The extreme level of deception of their lawyers and their consultants is why the U.S. Government used such a heavy hand.”

Another lawyer who represented one of the U.S. companies affected by ZTE’s illegal activities told TheDCNF that they are persona non-grata within the government because of the intelligence concerns that have been raised in the past.”

The attorney, who requested anonymity, said he wasn’t surprised by ZTE’s hiring of Podesta. “When you have a desperate client, a desperate client goes to desperate means. And Podesta was so close to the prior administration,” he said.

TheDCNF sought comments from ZTE, its attorneys and the Podesta Group but none were received.

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