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UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS

J. WHITFIELD LARRABEE )
Complainant )
)
v. ) COMPLAINT
)
REPRESENTATIVE DANA T. ROHRABACHER )
AND REPRESENTATIVE EDWARD R. ROYCE )
Members )
)

INTRODUCTION

1. This is a complaint against Dana T. Rohrabacher (Rohrabacher) and Edward R. Royce


(Royce), who are both Members of the House of Representatives. Rohrabacher and
Royce violated the House Code of Official Conduct (House Rule 23, clauses 1 and 2) by
committing crimes in office. Rohrabacher and Royce committed criminal violations of
the Federal Election Campaign Act, 52 U.S.C. 30121, by knowingly receiving and
accepting illegal campaign contributions made by foreign nationals. Rohrabacher and
Royce also committed criminal violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act, 52
U.S.C. 30122, by knowingly accepting contributions made by one person in the name of
another person as part of a straw donor scheme.1 The violations occurred as a result of
the participation of Rohrabacher and Royce in a scheme to illegally and secretly transfer
campaign contributions from the Ukraine Party of Regions and the European Centre for a
Modern Ukraine to their campaign committees. By receiving and accepting contributions
from foreign nationals given to influence the deliberations of the House of
Representatives, Rohrabacher and Royce corrupted the House of Representatives and
betrayed the people of the United States.

PARTIES

2. The complainant, J. Whitfield Larrabee, is an attorney licensed to practice law in the


Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is a citizen of the United States. His address is
251 Harvard Street, Suite 9, Brookline, Massachusetts 02446.

3. Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher (Rohrabacher) is a Member of the United States House of


Representatives presently representing California's 48th congressional district. He has
served in Congress since 1989. Rohrabacher is a Member of the House Committee on
Foreign Affairs and has been a Member for more than a decade.

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2 U.S.C. 441e and 2 U.S.C. 441f were transferred and recodified to 52 U.S.C.
30121 and 52 U.S.C. 30122.
4. Edward Randall Royce (Royce) is a Member of the United States House of
Representatives presently representing California's 39th congressional district. He has
served in Congress since 1993. Royce is a Member of the House Committee on Foreign
Affairs. He has been the Committee Chairman since January, 2013.

FACTUAL AND LEGAL BASIS FOR THE COMPLAINT

5. Between 2012 and 2014, Paul J. Manafort, Jr. (Manafort), through his companies DMP
International, LLC and Davis, Manafort and Freedman, engaged in a multi-million dollar
lobbying and influence peddling campaign on behalf of his clients the Ukraine Party of
Regions and other foreign nationals. Until on or about June 27, 2017, Manafort illegally
concealed his activities on behalf of the Ukraine Party of Regions and other foreign
principals from the public by failing to register as foreign agent under the Foreign
Agents Registration Act (FARA). In Manaforts recently filed FARA Registration
Statement, he admitted that he was acting as the foreign agent of the Ukraine Party of
Regions from whom he received $17 million in payments.

6. During the 2012 to 2014 time period, the Ukraine Party of Regions was allied with
Vladimir Putin (Putin) the President of Russia. Viktor Yanukovych (Yanukovych),
the President of Ukraine, was a leader of the Ukraine Party of Regions during this time
period. Yanukovych and Putin and shared many of the same foreign policy aims in
relation to the United States. In 2014, in response to the Ukranian Revolution,
Yanukovych fled Ukraine to Russia under the protection of the Russian government.
Yanukovych now lives in Russia.

7. According to the Associated Press, Manafort wrote a memo to Russian oligarch Oleg
Deripaska (Deripaska) in 2005 that outlined a plan for him to promote Russian interests
in the former Soviet republics, to undermine anti-Russia opposition in the United States,
and to benefit the Putin government. In the memo, Manafort stated: "We are now of the
belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct
levels with the appropriate commitment to success." In 2006, Manafort signed a $10
million yearly contract with Deripaska to carry this plan into action. Deripaska and
Manafort later became business partners.

8. Manaforts longtime business partner, Rick Gates (Gates) who was employed by DMP
International and was a partner of Manafort in Davis, Manafort and Freedman, was an
active participant in Manaforts lobbying and influence peddling campaign. Gates also
illegally concealed his activities by failing to register under FARA in a timely manner.

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9. The Associated Press is in possession of emails discussing the campaign. As reported by
the AP:

The lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of


Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street
Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting
American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraines
then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were
pressuring Ukraine to free her.

The emails show Gates personally directed two Washington


lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group Inc., between
2012 and 2014 to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official
and senators and congressmen on influential committees involving
Ukrainian interests. Gates noted in the emails that the official,
Ukraines foreign minister, did not want to use his own embassy in
the United States to help coordinate the visits.

10. As part of the campaign, Gates and Manafort introduced individuals from two lobbying
firms, Mercury Public Affairs, LLC d/b/a Mercury/Clark & Weinstock (Mercury) and
the Podesta Group, Inc. to individuals from the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine
(ECFMU). The ECFMU, a Belgium based non-profit, was formed in 2012 by three
senior members of the Party of Regions as a front group for Ukrainian government
officials and the Ukraine Party of Regions. The ECFMU hired Mercury and the Podesta
Group to act as their lobbyists and foreign agents. The ECFMU paid Mercury at least
$1.2 million and it paid the Podesta Group at least $1.2 million during the period from
2012 to 2014. Manafort joined with Mercury in lobbying for the ECFMU.

11. Lobbyists from Mercury and the Podesta Group arranged for a series of meetings with
Senators, Representatives, and Congressional staff aimed at influencing members of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. One of
the aims of the campaign was to water down or defeat a resolution (H. Res. 28) under
consideration in the House condemning the persecution of Yulia Tymeshenko, an
opponent of Yanukovych in the 2010 Ukraine election who was held as a political
prisoner in Ukraine from October 2011 to February 2014.

12. Edward S. Kutler (Kutler) was a partner/managing director at Mercury who participated
in the influence peddling scheme. John Vincent Weber, also known as Vin Weber
(Weber), a partner at Mercury, also participated in the influence peddling scheme.
Weber is a former Member of the House of Representatives.

13. The ECFMU made political contributions to Members of the House of Representatives
through Manafort, Kutler, Weber, DMP International, LLC (or Davis, Manafort and
Freedman), Mercury, and other agents and employees.

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14. On March 19, 2013, Manafort and Weber met with Representative Rohrabacher to lobby
on behalf of the ECFMU, the Ukraine Party of Regions, and other foreign nationals.

15. Manafort and Weber agreed with one another to each contribute $1,000 to the Committee
To Re-Elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. On March 22, 2013, they each made a
contribution, as shown in Federal Election Commission records:

16. Kutler joined with Manafort and Weber in their political activities by contributing $500
to the Committee To Re-Elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on March 19, 2013. Not
coincidentally, March 19, 2013 was the same day that Rohrabacher met with Manafort
and Weber. This is reflected in records of the Federal Election Commission:

17. Although Manafort, Weber and Kutler claimed to have made the contributions in their
individual capacity, the circumstances under which the contributions were made
demonstrate that the lobbyists were actually making the contributions as agents of their
clients, the ECFMU, the Ukraine Party of Regions and other foreign nationals.

18. The contributions occurred at a time when Manafort, Weber and Kutler were on the
payrolls of the ECFMU and the Ukraine Party of Regions.

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19. The contributions were made in the midst of their efforts to influence Rohrabacher on
behalf their clients.

20. The contributions were part of a larger effort by partners and employees of Mercury and
the Podesta Group to influence Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with campaign contributions.

21. Manafort, Weber and Kutler, through their lobbying firms, were reimbursed for their
contributions by the ECFMU and by the Party of Regions.

22. The lobbyists pattern of activity was only consistent with their making the contributions
on behalf of the ECFMU, the Ukraine Party of Regions and other foreign nationals.

23. The Federal Election Campaign Act, 52 U.S.C. 30121 makes it unlawful for:

a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to makea contribution


or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express
or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in
connection with a Federal, State, or local election...or [for] a
person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation ...
from a foreign national.

24. One of the purposes of 30121 is to prohibit foreign nationals who are hostile to the
United States system of constitutional democracy or to the interests of the people of the
United States from improperly influencing government officials or improperly effecting
elections.

25. The ECFMU, based in Belgium and an agent of the Ukraine Party of Regions, was a
foreign national and was prohibited from making contributions directly or indirectly to
the Committee To Re-Elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher under 30121.

26. The Ukraine Party of Regions, based in Kyiv, Ukraine, was a foreign national and was
prohibited from making contributions directly or indirectly to the Committee To Re-Elect
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher under 30121.

27. As a longstanding member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rohrabacher had a
sophisticated understanding of lobbying, fund raising and the issues related to Russian
and Ukraine that were under the consideration of the Foreign Affairs Committee in 2013.
The context and timing of the payments alerted him that the contributions were being
made on behalf of ECFMU, the Ukraine Party of Regions or other foreign nationals who
had retained the lobbyists and named contributors. From his long history of fund-raising,
Rohrabacher knew that accepting contributions from foreign nationals was prohibited
under federal law.

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28. The New York times reports that: The FBI warned [Dana Rohrabacher] in 2012 that
Russian spies were trying to recruit him, officials said, an example of how aggressively
Russian agents have tried to influence Washington politics. The FBIs warning alerted
Rohrabacher to the need to be cautious in dealing with lobbyists for the ECFMU and the
Party of Regions because they were allied with Russia and might attempt to improperly
influence him through the use of illegal campaign contributions.

29. In making the contributions to Rohrabacher, Kutler and Weber disclosed to him and to
the Federal Elections Commission that they were employed by Mercury.

30. In making the contributions to Rohrabacher, Manafort disclosed that he was employed by
Davis, Manafort & Freedman.

31. Rohrabacher knew that Kutler and Weber served as intermediaries in transferring funds to
his campaign from foreign nationals, including the ECFMU, the Ukraine Party of Regions
or other foreign nationals in the Ukraine or Russia.

32. By receiving and accepting the contributions, Rohrabacher knowingly and wilfully
violated 52 U.S.C. 30121.

33. 52 U.S.C. 30122 provides:

No person shall make a contribution in the name of another person


or knowingly permit his name to be used to effect such a
contribution, and no person shall knowingly accept a contribution
made by one person in the name of another person.

34. The purpose of 30122 is to promote transparency and prevent individuals and
corporations from circumventing the laws and regulations governing the contributing of
money to candidates for elected office. Public oversight of the democratic process is
limited or defeated when contributors or officials violate this section.

35. 30122 prohibits straw donor contributions, in which one individual solicits others to
donate to a candidate for federal office in their own names and furnishes the money for
the gift either through an advanced payment or by means of a reimbursement.

36. A straw donor scheme can be used to illegally conceal illegal campaign contributions
from a foreign national. A violation of 30122 occurs if a foreign national gives another
individual money in advance to make a campaign contribution, or reimburses another
individual after the making of a campaign contribution by the other individual in their
own name.

37. After Mercury partners Weber and Kutler contributed to Rohrabacher, the ECFMU
provided further payments to Mercury, reimbursing Kutler, Weber and Mercury for the
expense of the political contributions.

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38. Relevant excerpts of Mercurys FARA filing expressly set forth the reimbursements:

39. After Manafort contributed to Rohrabacher, the Ukraine Party of Regions provided
further payments to Manaforts company, reimbursing Manafort for the expense of the
political contribution.

40. Excerpts from Manaforts FARA filing made under the name of his company, DMP
International, LLC, set forth the reimbursements:

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41. For the same reasons that Rohrabacher knew that the contributions from Weber, Kutler
and Manafort were indirectly made by foreign nationals, Rohrabacher knew that
Manafort, Weber and Kutler were merely acting as conduits or intermediaries for
contributions that originated with the ECFMU, the Ukraine Party of Regions or others.

42. By accepting the contributions from Weber, Kutler and Manafort, Rohrabacher
knowingly and willfully accepted contributions made in the names of other individuals in
violation of 52 U.S.C. 30122 .

43. On March 14, 2013, Representative Royce met with Kutler, in his capacity as a lobbyist
and foreign agent of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Romano Prodi, a former
Prime Minister of Italy, also attended the meeting. Based on the name of Kutlers client,
the subject matter of the meeting and the attendance of a foreign national at the meeting,
Royce knew that Kutler and Mercury were acting on behalf of foreign nationals.

44. After meeting with Representative Royce, Kuter and other Mercury partners and
employees agreed with one another to make over $5,000 in contributions to the Royce
Campaign Committee, Royces fund for re-election, as shown in Federal Election
Commission records:

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45. Kutler also appears to have made a contribution of $1,500 to the Royce Campaign
Committee on June 21, 2013. However, this contribution may or may not be reflected in
the FEC database. See, Exhibit A.

46. After Kutler and other Mercury partners and employees made the contributions on behalf
of ECFMU to the Royce Campaign Committee, the ECFMU provided further payments
to Mercury, reimbursing Kutler, his partners and Mercury for the expense of the political
contributions. The reimbursements are set forth in paragraph 37 of this complaint, above.

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47. As chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Royce had a sophisticated
understanding of lobbying, fund raising and the issues related to Ukraine that were under
the consideration of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The context and timing of the
contributions alerted him that they were being made on behalf of the ECFMU or other
foreign nationals.

48. Royce accepted the contributions, knowing that they were paid through a straw, and that
the funds came from the ECFMU, or other foreign nationals of Ukrainian or Russian
origin who where laundering money though the ECFMU. By receiving and accepting the
contributions, Royce knowingly and willfully violated 52 U.S.C. 30121 and 30122.

WHEREFORE, the complainant demands:

A. that the Office of Congressional Ethics review and investigate this complaint;
B. that the Office of Congressional Ethics issue and publicly release a report
concerning this complaint;
C. that the Office of Congressional Ethics refer the matter to the House Ethics
Committee for appropriate action; and,
D. such other relief as is just, lawful, equitable or proper.

I affirm that to the best of my knowledge and ability all evidence submitted was not
obtained in violation of any law, rule, or regulation. I acknowledge that Section 1001 of title 18
of the United States Code (popularly known as the False Statements Act) applies to the
information provided.

DATED: July 4, 2017

Respectfully submitted,

J. Whitfield Larrabee
Law Office of J. Whitfield Larrabee
251 Harvard Street, Suite 9
Brookline, MA 02446
jw.larrabee@verizon.net
(617) 566-3670
BBO # 553499

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE AND FILING

I, J. Whitfield Larrabee, hereby certify that on July 4, 2017, I filed this complaint with the
Office of Congressional Ethics by emailing it to oce@mail.house.gov. Copies of the complaint
were served on Raymond Hulser, Chief, Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division, U.S.
Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001 and on
Robert S. Mueller III, Special Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001.

J. Whitfield Larrabee

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EXHIBIT A

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