Conjuring flashbacks to the Russia probe (though actually it has nothing to do with that), Bloomberg just reported that Elliott Broidy, a former top political fundraiser for President Trump and the RNC, has been charged in the sprawling DoJ investigation into 1MDB, the Malaysian soveriegn wealth firm that was looted by a former PM after being seeded with money raised by Goldman Sachs.
According to the allegations, Broidy participated in an illegal scheme to lobby the Trump Administration to stop investigating the embezzlement scandal. Notably, AG William Barr recused himself from the investigation due to a conflict involving Goldman’s top law firm.
Jho Low, the mysterious financier turned fugitive, paid millions to western “consultants” to wage a PR and legal campaign against the US government, which had started seizing assets owned by Low as part of the investigation, including yachts, jewelry and royalties from the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
As part of that campaign – which was once chronicled in the NYT – Low paid Broidy $6 million to lobby the DoJ to drop the investigation. However, Broidy never bothered to register as a foreign agent, a charg that political junkies may remember was also lodged against Paul Manafort.
To be sure, Low’s lobby efforts started long before Trump was elected. In an indictment handed down in May 2019, federal prosecutors charged Low and former Fugees rapper Pras Michel with illegally funneling foreign money to the Obama campaign.
Former DoJ official George Higginbotham was caught up in the scheme and has already pleaded guilty as has Nickie Mali Lum Davis, one of Broidy’s business associates.
The charges against Brody – who made his fortune as a venture capitalist – were outlined in a documented leaked to Bloomberg called a criminal information, which typically precedes a guilty plea.
Broidy’s name might be familiar to political junkies, since the donor first found himself in the spotlight following reports that Michael Cohen once arranged a $1.6 million payoff to a former Playboy model who was allegedly impregnated by Broidy.
The financier also worked closely with another disgraced figure: George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman and convicted pedophile who was once a close adviser to the UAE. Nader lobbied against Qatar during the 2017 GCC crisis. During that time, Nader, evidently successfully, persuaded Broidy to privately press Trump to take positions ever more in line with the interests of the Saudis and UAE regarding both Qatar, and their distaste for former Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Whether or not Broidy’s appeals were instrumental in Trump’s decisions, it’s notable that Trump has worked closely with the UAE and Saudi – recently clinching a major peace deal with Israel and the UAE – and embraced many of the positions lobbied by Broidy, who was said to have the ability to get the president on the phone.
In his campaign to win over Broidy, Nader gave him a cool $2.7 million to fund an anti-Qatar conference sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a sum that was also followed by more than $600,000 in donations for GOP candidates. The keynote speaker at that conference was House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, who then crafted a sanctions bill against Qatar and shortly thereafter received a campaign contribution from Broidy.