John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, may have violated federal law by failing to fully disclose details surrounding his position on the executive board of Joule Unlimited and the “75,000 common shares” he received.
The Daily Caller reports that the energy company accepted millions from a Vladimir Putin-allied Russian government fund.
Podesta received the shares in 2010 from Joule Unlimited Technologies while he was a board member. After announcing that he would be leaving the company to work for then-President Obama in 2014, he was “awarded” an additional 75,000 common share stocks in the company.
The “Schedule B” portion of the financial disclosure forms for government officials requires that all new employees must “report any purchase, sale or exchange by you, your spouse, or dependent children … of any property, stocks, bonds, commodity futures and other securities when the amount of the transaction exceeded $1,000.”
Whether Podesta incompetently forgot or deliberately chose not to disclose tens of thousands of shares of stock, he ultimately left that section completely blank.
Thus, both conservatives and liberals are condemning the situation and calling for more information to be released.
“Podesta should certainly have been more upfront in filling this out. Clearly, it should have been fully disclosed,” said a lobbyist with close ties to left-leaning Public Citizen. “That’s the point of the personal financial disclosure forms, especially for anyone entering the White House.”
Amid all of the nonstop coverage of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, Podesta also served on Joule’s board with three high-ranking Russian banking executives — all of whom had close ties to Vladimir Putin — and the company received more than $35 million from the Kremlin.
A former FBI official lambasted Podesta, arguing that disclosing stocks from a foreign affiliate is one of the most important aspects of the financial disclosures.
“I think in this case where you’re talking about foreign interests and foreign involvement, the collateral interest with these disclosure forms is put in the forefront of full disclosure of any foreign interest that you may have,” he said.
Title 5 of the U.S. Code stipulates the U.S. Attorney General can file a civil action “against any individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies or who knowingly and willfully fails to file or report any information that such individual is required to report.”
The federal penalty can be up to $50,000 per count.