Foreign Agents Registration Act

What’s Actually in the Manafort FARA Filing?

By Matthew Kahn
Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 5:02 PM

On June 27, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort retroactively filed disclosure forms under the Foreign Agents Registration Act detailing his business relationship to the pro-Russia Ukrainian Party of Regions. The forms describe $17.1 million in receipts to Manafort’s company, DMP International, LLC ("DMP"), all from the Party of Regions. They also describe $3.9 million in expenses, including $2.6 million in travel and living expenses. DMP earned a net total of $13.2 million from Party of Regions. Here’s the 87-page filing Manafort made yesterday:

 

What follows is a detailed summary of the material contained in the disclosure. While Lawfare does not normally summarize FARA disclosures, given the intense interest in this one in the press, we thought it would be useful to give some detail about what’s in it.

One notable thing that is not in this document: any reference to the often-reported $12.7 million in cash payments Manafort is alleged to have received from the party. According to The New York Times, these payments were recorded in a handwritten ledger that also showed evidence of payments to election officials. The filing makes no reference to anything of the kind, perhaps because yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Ukrainian prosecutors found no proof of illegal payments to Manafort.

The registration statement (Form NSD-1) lists the registered agent as DMP, a Delaware corporation formed on June 29, 2011 and wholly-owned by Manafort. Manafort and Richard W. Gates III are listed as the company’s principal and employee, respectively, that “render services to the registrant directly in furtherance of the interests” of the foreign principal. The foreign principal is listed as Ukrainian Party of Regions.

The registration statement notes that DMP received money from the party starting in 2011. A footnote to this section notes that “An agent must register within ten days of becoming an agent, and before acting as such.” DMP received nothing of value other than money during that period. The registration form is signed by Manafort, dated June 27, 2017.

Exhibit A (Form NSD-3) provides information about the foreign principal. Exhibit A describes the foreign principal as the Ukrainian Party of Regions, a foreign political party based in Kyiv. The “official with whom the registrant deals” is Vladimir Rybak, first deputy head of the party. Public records show that Rybak was previously Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and served as chairman of the Ukrainian parliament for part of the period that DMP worked for the party. The principle aim of the party is described as: “decentralization of power with transfer of maximum authority to the regions, build a Western democratic political party, turn Ukraine into the most attractive state for investment in the region.”

Exhibit B (Form NSD-4) provides information about the terms and conditions of the agreement between the foreign principal and agent. It states that the agreement “is the result of neither a formal written contract nor an exchange of correspondence between the parties.” DMP performed the following services:

1. “Focused on electing Party of Regions’ candidates at the national and regional levels in the Ukraine by implementing pro-democratic campaign activities, engaging in party building activities, developing a party platform and political agenda, and implementing election planning, election integrity, and international election monitoring programs”

2.“Communicated with the U.S. Embassy regarding developing events in the Ukraine”

3.“Provided strategic counsel and advice to members of the Party of Regions regarding their interactions with U.S. government officials and other Western influential persons to advance the goal of greater political and economic integration between the Ukraine and the West”

4. “Provided advice to the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which was also working for the same purpose”

The form notes that the third listed activity constitutes “political activity” as defined in FARA.

Exhibit C is a copy of the operating agreement of DMP International, LLC. That document corroborates that the company is a Delaware-registered limited liability company. Pages 2 and 5 note that the only member, and the managing member, is Manafort, though Gates signed the operating agreement as well.

Two short form registration statements (Form NSD-6) provide information on each partner, officer, director, associate, employee, and agent of the registrant. The first provides information on Manafort. It describes Manafort  as an “Attorney and businessman,” who acts as a partner of DMP. Manafort provides the following services for the party:

1.“Focused on electing Party of Regions’ candidates at the national and regional levels in the Ukraine by implementing pro-democratic campaign activities, engaging in party building activities, developing a party platform and political agenda, and implementing election planning, election integrity, and international election monitoring programs”

2.“Provided strategic counsel and advice to members of the Party of Regions regarding their interactions with U.S. government officials and other Western influential persons to advance the goal of greater political and economic integration between the Ukraine and the West”

3.“Communicated with the U.S. Embassy regarding developing events in the Ukraine.”

The statement notes that the second service listed constitutes a political activity for the purposes of FARA. These services are rendered on a full time basis in exchange for compensation in the form of an undefined salary. The statement further notes that during the period between the date 60 days prior to Manafort’s obligation to register as a foreign agent to the time of the filing, Manafort did not “make any contributions of money or other things of value from [his] own funds or possessions and on [his] own behalf in connection with any election to political office or in connection with any primary election, convention, or caucus held to select candidates for any political office.” The supplemental documents also note a donation of $2,500 by Manafort to Vernon Parker, a candidate for state office in Arizona, and of $1,000 to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on March 21, 2017. The document is signed by Manafort, June 27, 2017.

The second short form registration statement provides information about Gates. The form describes Gates as a “Political Consultant” and an employee of DMP. It describes the same services rendered for Party of Regions as described by Manafort, also on a full time basis and for an unspecified salary. The statement specifies no donations of the type previously described during the period beginning 60 days prior to Gates’ obligation to file as a foreign agent to the date of filing. The statement is signed by Rick Gates, dated June 27, 2017.

The documents include supplemental statements (Form NSD-2), which are normally filed every six months to provide information about monies received and disbursed by the foreign agent, for the six-month periods ending June 30, 2012, December 31, 2012, June 30, 2013, December 31, 2013, and June 30, 2014. The statements specify no changes to the name, ownership, location, management, or employment rolls of the company. They specify four instances that constitute political activities for the purposes of FARA.

●October 30, 2012: Sent an email to Ambassador John Tefft “regarding U.S. statement on Ukrainian elections.”

●March 19, 2013: Met with Paula Dobriansky from the Kennedy School of Government

●March 19, 2013: Met with Nadia Diuk of the National Endowment for Democracy

●March 19, 2013: Met with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

The supplemental forms include separate responses with a list of all monies received and disbursed by DMP, as well as money spent on travel, meals, and living expenses. Between January 2012 and January 2014, Party of Regions paid DMP $17,149,539.70 for services rendered. Party of Regions paid DMB once per month during that period, except that no payments were reported in July or December 2012. Payments ranged from $165,039.70 to $4,399,500.

DMP disbursed $1,268,539.70 to six contractors from May 2012 to January 2014. Over that period, DMP made the following payments:

●To Fabrizio Ward Associates LLC, seven payments totaling $278,500 for “Polling and surveys”

●To Rabin Strasburg LLC, five payments totaling $369,320 for “Media consulting services” and “Consulting services and expenses”

●To Steven J. Brown, five payments totaling $40,000 for “Political and media outreach”

●To Christopher Spence, one payment of $10,000 for “Election data analysis”

●To Clear Dialogue LLC, four payments totaling $39,935.44 for “Election integrity consulting services”

●To Konstantin Kilimnik, fourteen payments totaling $531,000 for “Professional services and administrative overhead for Kiev operations”

Except for a payment to Ward on August 8, 2013, all payments after April 2013 until the end of the principal-agent relationship were to Kilimnik. The last payment took place on January 28, 2014. DMB spent a total of $2,203,409.99 on travel and $428,352.44 on meals and living expenses from January 2012 until February 2014.

DMP earned a net total of $13,249,021.83 from Party of Regions after accounting for disbursements and other expenses.