Former Trump security adviser Flynn admits Turkey lobbying
- Author: Tracy Ferguson Mar 11, 2017,
Mar 11, 2017, 0:34
Disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn just registered with the Department of Justice as a "foreign agent" over lobbying work that might have helped the Turkish government, according to a US News report.
Flynn on Wednesday disclosed lobbying work he did that may have benefited the government of Turkey in a retroactive Department of Justice registration.
The drip-drip of suspicious news began on Thursday, when the Associated Press reported that, prior to the election, Flynn, a controversial former lieutenant general and one of Trump's earliest supporters, had been paid $530,000 for his firm to lobby on behalf of Inovo BV, whose founder, Kamil Ekim Alptekin, has ties to the Turkish government.
According to the filings, which are available online through the Department of Justice, Inovo BV hired Flynn's firm to work on a project that "focused on improving US business organizations' confidence regarding doing business in Turkey". Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called the action "an affirmation of the president's decision to ask General Flynn to resign".
Some U.S. lawmakers have questioned Flynn's relationship with the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Your reaction to that, considering that, doesn't that mean, Mister President, that even if he didn't lie to you about what the Russian ambassador said or didn't say, that you would have had to fire him anyway?
Flynn, at the invitation of Inovo's founder, met with Turkish officials including the ministers of foreign affairs and energy in NY in September. "I've never lobbied or contracted lobbyists on behalf of the Turkish government", Alptekin told Daily Sabah.
The National Security Adviser then said that he did not recall if they had or not. He added that he disagreed with Flynn's decision to file the registration documents. It is a felony not to register but the Justice Department rarely files such charges.
"Nevertheless, because of the subject matter of Flynn Intel Group's work for Inovo BV, which focused on Mr. Fethullah Gulen, whose extradition is sought by the Government of Turkey, the engagement could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey", the letter said. Flynn's consulting work centered on a Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who was living in the United States and sought by Turkey for extradition.
The lobbying coincided with Flynn working with Trump as his presidential campaign manager.
In Oct. 2016, Flynn was working on an op-ed promoting Turkey's political and business affairs that was later published in The Hill.
Flynn Intel Group Inc.
Spicer argued it's "not a question of raising a red flag", insisting it's not legal or appropriate for the government to "start going into private citizens seeking advice and telling them what they have to register or not".