According to U.S. public records, the Podesta Group lobbying firm this year reported a $200,000 contract with the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Described by leading Ukrainian news portal Ukrainska Pravda as controlled by President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, the Brussels-based nongovernmental organization claims to be educating “governments, opinion leaders and businesses about advancements in Ukraine in order to build a more prosperous future for the country and a closer relationship with the European Union.”
Founded by D.C. insiders, brothers John and Tony Podesta, the Podesta Group reported that it was hired to help on “issues pertaining to relations between Ukraine and the United States.” John Podesta was chief of staff to former U.S. President Bill Clinton and has reportedly advised current American leader Barack Obama.
Here are some questions that Ukraine’s American friends could ask the Podesta Group and Obama. Is it kosher for Obama’s close associates to be cashing in on lobbying services for an organization that is disguised as a front for Yanukovych’s camp, while the president and his party continue to quash democracy back home? Why did Obama and his wife agree to be photographed with Yanukovych at the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York? Should he have the taken example from former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice? She avoided a photo opportunity with Yanukovych at the recent Yalta European Strategy conference.