Sunday 5 December 2021

Report: Nord Stream 2 Lobbyist Gives Senate Democrats Maximum Donations

 Major Democrat donors along with a Nord Stream 2 lobbyist reportedly gave the maximum amount of campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other vulnerable Senate Democrats.

Schumer could potentially still see a challenger in his upcoming reelection.

A report from Axios revealed that former Connecticut state Rep. Vincent Roberti (D), who runs Roberti Global, a firm that has been paid $8.5 million for its Nord Stream 2 lobbying work, according to lobbying disclosure records, maintains “honorary” titles at the Democrat campaign arms in both the House and Senate.

Simultaneously holding titles with the campaign arm, he has given the maximum legal limit of $5,800 to multiple senators. Those senators include Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Patty Murray (D-WA). Roberti has reportedly also given the maximum for a primary contribution of $2,900 to Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH). Two of the senators, Cortez Masto and Hassan, will be in brutal reelection fights next year against Republican challengers.

At the same time, President Joe Biden has waged war on pipelines in the United States, having canceled the Keystone Pipeline, which resulted in massive layoffs and halted energy exploration on federal land. This ended America’s energy independence, which was gained under former President Donald Trump. Despite canceling the permits for the Keystone pipeline, Biden removed Trump-era Russia sanctions so that construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany could be streamlined.

Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are trying to push for the sanctions on Russia to be reinstated. Cruz and other Republicans have held up Biden nominees for the State Department and other agencies being confirmed as leverage against Biden to reimpose the sanctions.

In fact, Roberti is not the only Democrat donor who supports the pipeline to give money to Senate Democrats. The report added that McLarty Inbound is the foreign lobbying arm of Mack McLarty’s, the former chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, consulting firm. The consulting firm represents five companies with a financial stake in the Nord Stream project, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

McLarty has personally donated to multiple Democrat senators this year. Some of those senators include Schumer, Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Pat Leahy (D-VT), and Chris Coons (D-DE). McLarty Inbound’s managing partner, Richard Burt, said McLarty is “not involved” in the lobbying for “any of those five companies.”

Axios wrote that when Burt was asked about Nord Stream and lobbying work, which reportedly includes “Russia sanctions issues,” Burt said, “You should talk to the people representing Nord Stream 2.”

Many senators who received donations claimed they are against Nord Stream 2 and support “strong action.” A Hassan spokesperson told Axios the senator “has supported strong action against Nord Stream 2, including voting for sanctions in 2017 and as part of the FY20 and FY21 defense authorizations.”

A Blumenthal spokesperson said he opposed the pipeline and

…has been a strong advocate for Ukraine in the Senate and supports Sen. [Robert] Menendez’s amendment to trigger severe sanctions if Russia escalates actions against Ukraine, including on Nord Stream II.

An aide to Cortez Masto said the senator “opposes Nord Stream 2 and the Biden administration’s decision to allow the pipeline to move forward. She has consistently supported legislation and sanctions to block it.”

While some senators responded on their opposition to the pipeline despite receiving money from Roberti, Schumer’s spokesperson said, “Schumer hasn’t spoken to Roberti about this issue,” and Roberti did not respond to Axios’s request for comment.

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