Responsible Statecraft, a US foreign policy NGO, reported in March on former members of the US Congress hired by Russia to fight sanctions against the country in the lead up to the war in Ukraine. According to the report:
March 28, 2022 As Russian forces were massing along Ukraine’s border in mid-January, the U. S. Congress was identifying sanctions targets to punish Russian aggression. When Sovcombank found itself in Congress’s crosshairs, Russia’s ninth-largest bank did what many Russian interests have done when facing congressional pressure — it hired former members of Congress. Sovcombank’s $90,000-a-month contract with Mercury Public Affairs included the services of former Senator David Vitter (R‑La.) and former Representative Toby Moffett (D‑Conn.) who quickly went to work lobbying their former colleagues on Sovcombank’s behalf. In one letter to congressional offices, for example, Vitter wrote that Sovcombank would be an “extremely counterproductive sanctions target” because of its “deep ties to US and western institutions.” This strategy for an imperiled Russian interest to buy the services of former members of Congress is nothing new. Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, Russian companies had amassed an assortment of former members pushing their agenda in Washington. In fact, at least eight former members represented Russian and Belarussian interests in the past seven years. Their firms took in more than $6 million in revenue representing Russian oligarchs, banks tied to the Kremlin, and the company behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to an analysis of lobbying records. This collection of former members included Representative John Sweeney (R‑N. Y.) whose firms SMW Partners and Sweeney & Associates were paid at least $110,000 in 2018 for lobbying on behalf of Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In 2019, Sweeney began lobbying for the newly-sanctioned VEB Bank, the governing body of which is chaired by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, earning nearly $600,000 before the contract was terminated in May 2020. In 2015, Former Rep. Rick Boucher (D‑Va.) signed a contract worth $40,000 a month to represent JSC VTB Bank, the second largest Russian banking group of which 92 percent is owned by the Russian government.
Read the rest here.
In late February, around the same time, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many US lobbying firms were rushing to cut ties with their Russian clients.