Letter: Cleaning up the foreign money mess

Published 6:05 am Friday, October 25, 2019

As you have heard, President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has close ties to the two foreign nationals arrested while fleeing the U.S. Their two crime partners were arrested later. Three of the four indicted men were born in the former Soviet Union and each of the four have strong Russian ties.

Lev Parnas, Igor Freeman Andrey Kukushkin, and David Correia were pursuing shady business deals in the U.S. They wanted President Trump and congress to smooth the road for these business schemes; one of which was marketing recreational marijuana. Illicit greasing of government wheels requires large political donations, but the men lacked money.

They found a remedy in a wealthy Russian. They met with the Russian in Las Vegas in 2018, and he agreed to provide “lobbying” money to the four. But there was a problem: U.S. law forbids political donations by foreign nationals. The criminal indictment against the four men charges that they illegally disguised the source of the donated money by passing it through two companies: Strategic Investment Group and Global Energy Producers.

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The four men used the Russian money to make large political donations from the two companies in the 2018 elections. Donations went to the Minnesota Republican Party, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and America First Action PAC.

This is where our congressional election comes in. America First Action spent $1.7 million on false attack ads against Hagedorn’s opponent, Dan Feehan. Given Hagedorn’s narrow victory, one could say illegal donations from Russia helped elect Mr. Hagedorn to congress.

We can clean up this mess when we vote in 2020, and it is critical to our democracy that we do.

Debra Hogenson

Waseca, MN