Former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for his lobbying work linked to the Turkish government, according to paperwork filed Tuesday. Just weeks after Flynn was ousted from the Trump administration, the early Trump supporter and campaign adviser registered with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Unit for lobbying that his firm—Flynn Intel Group Inc.—did on behalf of Inovo BV, a Dutch consulting company owned by a Turkish businessman with ties to Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Flynn’s firm took on the Inovo job late in the campaign, in late August, and was paid $530,000 for consulting work on behalf of the company during the final stretch of the presidential campaign. “The new documents show Inovo wrote six-figure checks to Flynn’s firm in September and October as he served as a top national security aide on Trump’s campaign,” USA Today reports. “The final payment of $145,000 came on Nov. 14, 2016, just days after Trump captured the presidency.”
Here’s more on the filing from USA Today:
As part of its contract with Inovo, the Flynn Intel Group hired researchers to examine Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive Islamic cleric who lives in exile in rural Pennsylvania. Erdogan has blamed Gulen’s opposition group for an attempted 2016 coup and has sought his extradition. On Election Day, The Hill newspaper published a Flynn op-ed that called Gulen “radical cleric” and said the U.S. government should “not provide him a safe haven.” In its filings with the Justice Department, Flynn’s firm said the op-ed was not published at the request of Inovo or the Turkish government but said Inovo did review a draft before Flynn submitted it.
Flynn also disclosed meeting with the Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin, along with Turkey’s ministers of foreign affairs and energy in New York City in mid-September, according to the Associated Press.
In the DOJ filing, Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner said that Flynn’s firm shut down operations in November. Flynn Intel Group Inc. had disclosed to Congress its work for Inovo BV, but had not previously registered with the DOJ as working on behalf of a foreign government. In the filing, Kelner said Flynn registered because his work “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.” “Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, U.S. citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign government or political entities must disclose their work to the Justice Department,” according to the AP. “Willfully failing to register is a felony, though the Justice Department rarely files criminal charges in such cases.”