With Congress mulling legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia for its attack on the 2016 American election, an important Russian bank connected to Vladimir Putin’s government has turned for help to a well-positioned lobbyist in Washington: a Trump insider and former Republican House member named John Sweeney. In August Sweeney signed a whopping contract to lobby on behalf of this bank to stave off sanctions from the US government.
Sweeney, who formerly represented district near Albany, filed paperwork late last month with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit to represent Vnesheconombank, known as VEB, a Kremlin-controlled investment bank. The bank’s chair, Igor Shuvalov, was appointed last year by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who gave him orders to increase funding of national development projects.
The filing says that Sweeney will “engage in meetings and other communications with U.S. government officials regarding potential new sanctions legislation…that could affect” the bank.