A new report from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan and independent firm that tracks money in U.S. politics, alleged that a lobbyist for the foreign partners of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline gave thousands of dollars to President Joe Biden’s campaign and a pro-Biden super PAC.
The news comes after Axios reported this week that the Biden administration was going to waive sanctions on a company and its CEO that is building Russia’s pipeline to Germany.
The Center for Responsive Politics reports:
McLarty managing partner Richard Burt, the former U.S. Ambassador to West Germany and a member of several influential Washington think-tanks, reported lobbying for a slate of foreign companies that have partnered on the project on “Russian sanctions issues” and “natural gas as an element of European energy security.” Burt donated $2,000 to Biden’s 2020 campaign and $10,000 to pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country while he was a registered lobbyist for foreign companies partnering with Nord Stream on the pipeline. Biden’s campaign had not refunded Burt’s money at the time of publication, more than 6 months after the donations were given, despite pledging to reject lobbyist donations.
Because firms working for proponents of the pipeline registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act instead of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, details of which government officials the lobbyists met with remain hidden from the public.
Scooplet: A lobbyist lobbying for foreign partners of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gave $10k to pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country & $2k to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign—which hadn't refunded his money 6+ months later despite pledging to reject lobbyist donations https://t.co/mZ7nfajc6Q pic.twitter.com/1SADitOLpZ
— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) May 20, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed on Thursday that the Biden administration was not “letting any country or other countries build” the pipeline because it was already 95% completed.
“We’ve continued to convey that we believe it’s a bad — a bad idea, a bad plan — and we have also put in place and taken actions over the last several days to make that clear — in large part because our view is that it’s a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security and that of Ukraine and in the East — and Eastern Flank NATO Allies and partners,” Psaki said. “We have imposed sanctions on four Russian entities, four Russian vessels that engaged in sanctionable activities. We’ve also imposed sanctions on nine vessels belonging to the Russian government. This is the largest number of entities listed under this act to date.”
However, Axios reported that sources have indicated that the way to stop the pipeline is to “sanction the German end users of the gas,” which the Biden administration is “not willing” to do.
Axios’s report came just several days after a criminal group allegedly located inside Russia launched a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, a pipeline that provides nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel, leading to a shutdown of the pipeline.
Here are some of the most notable responses to the Biden administration’s most recent actions regarding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline:
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “President Biden shuts down American pipelines, yet he green lights Russian pipelines. Meanwhile, drivers pay more at the pump for the privilege of depending on foreign oil. This is what it looks like to put America last.”
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “Stunning. In defiance of U.S. law, Biden is actively helping Putin build his pipeline. Objectively speaking, the Biden administration is shaping up to be the most pro-Russia administration of the modern era.”
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): “If true, President Biden just delivered a huge victory to Vladimir Putin, who will now have a stranglehold over Europe’s natural gas supplies. Then-candidate Biden promised to be tough on Russia, but it is increasingly clear that was just campaign rhetoric. There is absolutely no excuse for giving Putin more leverage over our allies and partners, including Ukraine. It is dangerous, naïve, deceitful, and weak.”
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR): “President Biden is caving to Vladimir Putin.”
- Rebeccah Heinrichs, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow: “How absolutely wild is it that Russians attacked a US pipeline while gas prices were already high and like two days after the US company pays the relatively small ransom Biden lifts sanctions on Nord Stream 2.”