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Some big names in U.S. and British political consulting headed to Ukraine over the summer at the expense of an oligarch in the country whose past payments to President Donald Trump drew the scrutiny of federal investigators.
Employees of consulting firms owned by Democratic operative Joe Trippi and British political consultants Lynton Crosby, Mark Textor, and Mark Fullbrook—all of the consulting firm the CT Group, a top vendor for Britain’s Conservative party—traveled to Ukraine to explore “potential consulting services for a domestic project” in the country, according to a recent filing with the Department of Justice.
The filing came from Doug Schoen, a famous Democratic pollster, who served as a pass-through for money for the trip from EastOne, the company owned by Schoen client Victor Pinchuk. Pinchuk has been under scrutiny in the U.S. of late for a payment he made in 2015 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in exchange for a video appearance by the then-presidential candidate at his annual Yalta European Strategy conference.
Ukrainian politics have been at the center of intrigue and controversy surrounding the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. It was one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s illicit work for the country’s deposed former president, in part, that resulted in an investigation into his finances and his conviction on financial fraud charges. That work ended up ensnaring Tad Devine, the former Bernie Sanders top strategist, in legal drama as well.
Despite the taint, Ukrainian politics remains a draw for top consulting talent in the U.S. and abroad.
Trippi rose to fame by managing former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. More recently, he advised the campaign of Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who managed to flip a Senate seat to the Democratic side during a special election in late 2017.
Crosby, Textor, and Fullbrook have made millions advising the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May. They jointly run a company, CTF Partners Ltd., that Pinchuk appears to have courted. Neither their firm nor Trippi responded to requests for comment on the potential consulting gig. EastOne also did not respond to inquiries.
Reached by PAY DIRT, Schoen was tight lipped about the arrangement. He insisted that he “had no involvement in anything they explored at all.”