Mueller Russia probe reveals Minnesota connection

51

Mueller and Minnesota, together at last.

Washington, D.C., and the investigation that has already led to indictments for two former members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, seems fairly far removed from the relative calm of Minnesota.

But this is 2017, and things never stay calm for long.

Vin Weber, a former Republican Minnesota congressman for Minnesota’s 2nd district, has been snagged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Weber, along with Tony Podesta, was hired by Paul Manafort as part of a multi-million dollar Ukrainian lobbying effort.

Bio photo of Vin Weber from Mercury Public Affairs, www.mercuryllc.com

(Being linked to pro-Russia Manafort is something of a problem for a U.S. lobbyist.)

But this isn’t exactly breaking news, as MinnPost already reported on Wednesday, 11/1, that Weber might play a role in the investigation; it’s been no secret Weber’s connection to Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates, who have already been indicted on a dozen different charges including failing to register as foreign lobbyists (something Weber also did not do), and money laundering.

And, it was reported all the way back in 2016 by our very own Star Tribune, long before Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was even a twinkle in Mueller’s eye, that Weber was paid $700,000 as a lobbyist for the European Center for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU).

Now it’s official: Weber’s role in that multi-million dollar Ukraine lobby, and the FBI looking into any connection and communication lobbyists may have had with a pro-Russian groups (pro-Russian Ukrainian groups in Weber’s specific case), has landed him in the hot seat.

Weber became a D.C. lobbyist after retiring from Minnesota GOP politics in 1993. He’s long been a heavy hitter as Republican Party strategist, and has worked as an adviser on numerous presidential campaigns: On Bob Dole’s loss to Bill Clinton in 1996, George W. Bush’s victory over John Kerry in 2004, and Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama in 2008.

For more information on Weber, visit his bio page for Mercury Public Affairs, the lobbying firm of which Weber is a partner, and where he was the principal on a Ukraine-related lobbying portfolio in 2012.