How Minnesota Republicans benefited from Giuliani associates indicted on campaign crimes
Four Minnesota Republicans are connected to the two men indicted this week in connection to Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.
ST. PAUL — Four Minnesota Republican congressmen and the state party have found themselves entangled in the web surrounding two indicted associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman made a host of political donations that are now being scrutinized after they were arrested on federal allegations that they leveraged their donations in a campaign to force the removal of the former American ambassador to Ukraine, a situation related to the Ukrainian issues at the center of the Democratic-led U.S. House impeachment inquiry of Trump.
Among their donations are contributions to Minnesota Republicans or efforts that aided them.
The outsized political giving allowed the two relatively unknown Florida entrepreneurs to quickly win access to the highest levels of the Republican Party — including face-to-face meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago.
Nationwide, some Republicans who received donations announced Friday, Oct. 11, they would return or donate the money. In Minnesota, Ken Martin, chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, called on all the Minnesota politicians and entities that received political benefits from Parnas and Fruman to condemn foreign interference in U.S. elections and return or donate any contributions they received from the men.
Here are the Minnesota connections that were apparent Friday, via federal campaign records from 2018:
In 2018, when then-U.S. Rep. Lewis, a Republican, was running for reelection to Minnesota’s 2nd District against Democrat Angie Craig, Fruman made two donations to Lewis’ campaign committee, Jason Lewis for Congress, totaling $2,445.34, according to data from the Federal Elections Commission.
Craig defeated Lewis.
Lewis is now challenging U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat, in the 2020 election.
Lewis could not be reached for comment Friday.
NRCC, Tom Emmer
Fruman donated $33,050 and Parnas donated $3,800 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, a political organization that seeks to have Republicans elected to the House. The current chairman of the NRCC is U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, who represents the 6th District, although Emmer wasn’t the chairman when the donations were made.
On Friday, NRCC spokesman Chris Pack said that the organization would donate the funds to a yet-to-be-determined charity.
Parnas donated $661.90 to the Republican Party of Minnesota.
Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan could not be reached for comment Friday.
U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, who represents the 8th District, didn’t receive any donations from Parnas or Fruman, but his victorious 2018 campaign against Democrat Joe Radinovich presumably benefited from an effort funded by Parnas and Fruman.
Global Energy Producers, a company created by Parnas and Fruman in 2018, also contributed $325,000 to pro-Trump super political action committee America First Action, according to The Washington Post. The PAC spent roughly $3.3 million in ads against Radinovich, according to FEC records.
Stauber could not be reached for comment Friday.
Like Stauber, U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who represents the 1st District, didn’t receive any direct donations from Parnas or Fruman, but his campaign against Democrat Dan Feehan presumably benefited.
America First Action spent about $1.7 million in anti-Feehan efforts.
Hagedorn could not be reached for comment Friday.