President Trump’s acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, once performed consulting work on behalf of a Moldovan oligarch who is currently a fugitive and was barred from entering the U.S. due to anti-corruption sanctions. According to ProPublica, Grenell used to work for a public affairs consulting firm called Capitol Media Partners, which had late GOP political consultant Arthur Finkelstein as a client. Grenell reportedly worked for Finkelstein as a media consultant for clients in Eastern Europe, including Moldovan politician Vladimir Plahotniuc. At the time, Plahotniuc was the top official in the country’s ruling party and the country’s richest man. A financial disclosure shows that Grenell was paid over $5,000 from Finkelstein, though the specific amount was not shown. Plahotniuc lost power last year, fled Moldova, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
In August 2016, Grenell published op-eds in two newspapers defending Plahotniuc and attacking his enemies. While it’s not clear whether the articles were directly part of his work for Plahotniuc, he reportedly did not disclose that he was being paid. He also did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Grenell’s undisclosed work could pose an issue while obtaining his security clearance to serve as acting DNI. Two other Trump associates, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, were convicted of FARA violations. The White House, State Department, and Office of the DNI have not spoken publicly about the matter.