It has been revealed that Mike Flynn, the former National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump, failed to disclose payments he received from a state-run Russian media network. Newly released documents reportedly show that financial disclosure forms Flynn submitted to federal ethics officials in February failed to mention that in 2015, he received payments from RT (formerly Russia Today), widely considered a major Kremlin propaganda outlet.
Flynn reportedly received a payment of $45,000 for a speech he gave at RT’s 10th-anniversary gala. RT is a Russian state-sponsored media outlet with an international reach. It widely regarded as the Kremlin’s mouthpiece on matters of foreign affairs and policy and has affiliate broadcasters in the several Western countries.
The Daily Beast reports that amended financial disclosure documents Flynn filed with the White House counsel’s office on Friday included the payments received from RT and two other Russian companies.
Flynn’s amended filing included a disclosure of the sum of $45,000 he received from RT. The amended disclosure is in accordance with the requirement that public office holders must disclose sources of income or payments exceeding $5,000. But the payment from RT was reportedly not disclosed in the original disclosure statement that Flynn filed after he was appointed as Trump’s security adviser, according to the Washington Post.
Other previously undisclosed payments included fees that Flynn received for speeches he made at events sponsored by two other Russians companies, the cyber security company Kaspersky and Volga Dnepr Airlines.
However, a source close to the retired general said that Flynn was in the process of disclosing the payments when he was forced to resign. Flynn’s forced resignation, according to the source, interrupted ongoing efforts to make the necessary disclosures. In other words, the information about the payments was missing from Flynn’s original disclosure forms because he suspended the process of making the disclosures after his unexpected resignation.
He eventually resumed the process of making the disclosures after he resigned, the source said.
“Gen. Flynn had begun the process of submitting and updating the form, but that process was suspended when he resigned,” the spokesperson reportedly said. “He therefore submitted the finalized form after he left the White House.”
But the Daily Beast noted that Flynn filed his initial disclosure statement on February 11, only a few days before he was forced to resign his position as national security adviser to the president. The initial disclosure statement only listed payments from Leading Authorities LLC, the organization that arranged the Russian speeches for Flynn. The statement skipped mentioning the fact that Leading Authorities LLC only served as a conduit for the payments received from Russian sources.
Flynn’s failure to disclose the sources of his income was in violation of Office of Government Ethics (OGE) regulations that require that the sources of payments received through a speaker’s bureau should be disclosed.
“Report each source of honoraria in excess of $200 as a separate line entry,” OGE documents advise “For example, if you gave $500-speeches at three universities through ABC Speakers’ Bureau, report all three sources.”
The fact that Flynn had received payments from Russian sources was not known until about a month after his initial disclosure statement when Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) revealed that congressional investigators were in possession of documents that show that Flynn received $45,000 for a speech he delivered at an RT-sponsored event.
He also received payments for speeches delivered at events sponsored by Kaspersky Government Security Solutions and Volga-Dnepr Airlines.
The latest news comes after it was revealed that Flynn failed to disclose that he had served as a representative to a company with ties to the Turkish government and that his lobbying on behalf of the company might have promoted the interests of the Turkish government. Flynn also failed to sign a White House ethics pledge that bars all appointees from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments or organizations tied with foreign governments.
The retired army general was forced to resign from his position as national security adviser to the president in February after it was found that he failed to disclose that he had phone discussions with the Russian ambassador during which he talked about the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia.
The Obama administration had imposed sanctions on Russia as punishment for alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. general election.
Flynn is believed to be an individual of interest in ongoing FBI investigations into whether Trump’s campaign aides collaborated or coordinated with Russians agents who reportedly sought to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign through fake news reports and release of hacked Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails.
Flynn recently requested through his lawyer that he would testify before congress in exchange for a grant of immunity. But the Senate Intelligence Committee has denied the request.
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