I have been writing on the deepening questions concerning the business deals of Hunter Biden during the Obama Administration — and the failure of media to fully pursue the story. At the same time, I have also supported the investigation into President Donald Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president as a possible impeachable offense. The fact is that corruption is rampant in this city and neither party can credibly claim to be against such corruption. This weekend, a new controversy has arisen over Ukrainian dealings by figures tied to the GOP. At issue are efforts to push for the appointment of Republican allies to the controlling board of Ukraine’s state gas company, Naftogaz, including former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry who allegedly pressured the country to appoint one of his political donors.
The reports indicate that Republican figures touted connections to Rudy Giuliani and Trump to try to secure the lucrative positions. That would allow windfall contracts to be steered to allies. The problem is that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to reformer Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Perry reportedly pushed one of his donors, an oil magnate Harry Sargeant III, for an appointment. Trump has claimed that it was Perry who pushed him to make the controversial call to Zelenskiy and said that Perry was trying to get him involved in “something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant.”
Perry insists that his pushing the Texas businessman was completely understandable: “We get asked for our recommendations about people who are experts in areas, various areas. Folks who have expertise in particular areas. Obviously having been the governor of the state of Texas, I know a lot of people in the energy industry.”
Notably, two recently arrested Giuliani aides were also part of the effort: Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
Sargeant, his wife and corporate entities have reportedly donated at least $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the last 20 years. Sargeant reportedly told Naftogaz senior executive, Andrew Favorov, that they needed to replace the company CEO and that his effort to take a key position on the company had the support to Trump.
Concerns over the effort were reportedly to embassy officials, including Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.
The problem with the Ukraine it seems is not finding corruption but finding any political figures unconnected to it. It is like the corruption version of degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.