Just months before the Biden administration’s decision to scrap sanctions on a firm building a Russian oil pipeline to Germany, The President and his allies raked in campaign cash from a top Russia lobbyist.
Richard Burt, a managing partner at McLarty Associates and a former US ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, ponied up $4,000 for Joe Biden in October 2020 and dropped another $10,000 in the left-aligned political action committee Unite The County in March 2020, FEC records show.
In addition to violating Joe Biden’s own campaign pledge not to take any lobbyist cash, the money from Richard Burt is important as he is currently directly engaged in lobbying activities for Nord Stream 2 AG.
“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,” A Democratic National Committee spokesman told The Post. “Because Burt also listed a different employer than on his [Foreign Agents Registration Act] registration, he was not flagged during our vetting process.”
The DNC said they had returned the cash on Thursday after an inquiry from The New York Post.
The Switzerland-based Nord Stream 2 — controlled by an ex-East German stasi officer and close ally of Vladimir Putin — is currently engaging in sanctionable activity, according to the State Department. Team Biden raised eyebrows, however, after declining to enforce sanctions, citing US national interests, Axios reported.
There is the worry that the project will allow Russia to have a dangerous influence over European energy supplies and increase their overall political leverage on the continent.
To build the pipeline, Nord Stream 2 is partnered with five European energy companies, ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall Dea. Lobbying disclosure forms show that Richard Burt is currently advocating on behalf of all five companies.
“To protect and further the company’s interests in the debate over natural gas as an element of European energy security and advise on Russia sanctions issues,” reads Richard Burt’s disclosure for OMV under the area for “specific lobbying issues.” The other four companies basically said the same thing.
“Reading between the lines you can clearly see what that lobbying looks like,” Anna Massoglia, an Investigative Researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics told The New York Post. “While it’s not evidence of anything illegal. It’s just something that is evidence of how influence works in Washington.”
Burt, a longtime GOP donor, before switching sides in 2019, has long been a fixture in D.C. foreign policy circles. “He carries an air of great knowledge and wisdom and experience and he’s impressive when you meet him,” a former Trump official who dealt with Burt told The Post.
Richard Burt played an early role in advising Trump campaign’s foreign policy positions, and helped Trump when he was a candidate craft his first foreign policy speech — which the media immediately jumped on as proof of Russian collusion.
“The revelation of Burt’s lobbying activity raises new questions about Russian influence in Trump’s campaign,” blared Politico, which cited extensively Burt’s work on Nord Stream 2 — a project Trump went on to consistently oppose as president.
“The sum total of Trump’s words and actions has only encouraged Russian meddling in our elections,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff in August 2020. “Insecure, unscrupulous and transactional, Trump is Putin’s ideal American president.”Rep. Adam Schiff also received money from Burt.Getty Images
In March 2019, Burt gave a max out $2,800 donation to Rep. Adam Schiff just after the California Congressman took the reins of the House Intelligence Committee.
Adam Schiff has been silent on the Biden Nord Stream 2 decision.