A sleazy cottage industry of cash for lobbying for pardons is lining the pockets of several Donald Trump associates, according to a new report by The New York Times. Trump allies are “collecting fees from wealthy felons or their associates to push the White House for clemency,” according to documents seen and interviews conducted by the Times. One source said that former Trump lawyer John Dowd has “marketed himself” to convicted felons as someone with Trump’s ear. Another source said that a former adviser was paid $50,000 cash to try to gain a pardon for former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who was convicted of illegally disclosing classified information. A $50,000 cash bonus was reportedly in the cards if Trump comes through.
Kiriakou also told a story of how one of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s confidantes suggested at a party that Giuliani could guarantee clemency, but was told that “it’s going to cost $2 million—he’s going to want two million bucks.” Kiriakou said he laughed at the prospect. “Two million bucks—are you out of your mind?” Giuliani denied the claims to the Times and said he did not recall meeting Kiriakou, who said he did not take anyone up on a paid pardon offer. “It’s like a conflict of interest,” Giuliani said, admitting he had heard large fees were on the table for access to Trump. “But I have enough money. I’m not starving.”