Paul Manafort

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Paul Manafort
Born Paul John Manafort, Jr.
(1949-04-01) April 1, 1949 (age 67)
New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.
Alma mater Georgetown University
Political party Republican

Paul John Manafort, Jr.[1] (born April 1, 1949)[2] is an American lobbyist and political consultant.[citation needed]

Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain, and is currently the national chairman of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, as well as being a senior partner in the firm Davis, Manafort, and Freedman. Manafort is also known for his successful lobbying efforts on behalf of political leaders like Jonas Savimbi and Viktor Yanukovych and foreign dictators such as Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Sese Seko.[3][4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Manafort was born in New Britain, Connecticut, the son of Antoinette Marie (Cifalu) and Paul J. Manafort, Sr.[6][7] He graduated from Georgetown University in 1971 with a B.A. in American studies, and from Georgetown University Law School in 1974 with a J.D. His grandfather James Manafort migrated to the USA from Italy in 1919. His father served with the Army combat engineers in World War II and was mayor of New Britain.[citation needed]


Between 1977 and 1980, Manafort was an attorney with the firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Washington, D.C.[citation needed]

In 1985, he was a director of Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.[citation needed]

Political activities[edit]

In 1976, Manafort was the delegate-hunt coordinator for eight states for the President Ford Committee; the overall Ford delegate operation was run by James A. Baker III.[8] Between 1978 and 1980, Manafort was the southern coordinator for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, and the deputy political director at the Republican National Committee. After Reagan's election in November 1980, he was appointed Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. In 1981 he was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.[citation needed]

Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of George H.W. Bush in 1988,[9] Robert Dole in 1996,[10] George W. Bush, and John McCain. In March 2016 he joined the presidential campaign of Donald Trump to lead Trump's "delegate-corralling" efforts and as "chairman" of the Trump campaign.[11] In April 2016, Manafort gained control of an expanded $20 million budget, hiring decisions, advertising, and media strategy.[12] With the termination of Corey Lewandowski, who was Trump's campaign manager, Manafort now also serves that role, managing daily operations.[13]

Lobbying career[edit]

Manafort was a founding partner[when?] of Washington, DC-based lobbying powerhouse Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly.[citation needed]

In 1996, Manafort left BMSK to join Richard H. Davis in forming Davis, Manafort, and Freedman.

Association with Jonas Savimbi[edit]

In 1985, Manafort accepted $600,000 yearly from Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA, to refurbish Savimbi's image in Washington and secure financial support on the basis of his anti-communism. Throwing events at the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and Freedom House, Savimbi was praised as a freedom fighter by Jeane Kirkpatrick, and went on to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in American aid[citation needed]. Allegedly, Manafort's continuing lobbying efforts helped preserve the flow of money to Savimbi several years after the Soviet Union ceased its involvement in the Angolan conflict, forestalling peace talks.[14]

Lobbying for other foreign leaders[edit]

Manafort accepted $900,000 yearly to lobby for Ferdinand Marcos. He was also involved in lobbying for Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaïre and attempted to recruit Siad Barre of Somalia as a client.[15] His firm also lobbied on behalf of the governments of the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya (between $660–750,000 yearly 1991 and 1993), and Nigeria ($1 million in 1991). These activities led Manafort's firm to be listed amongst the top five lobbying firms receiving money from human-rights abusing regimes in the Center for Public Integrity report "The Torturer's Lobby".[16]

Involvement in the Karachi Affair[edit]

Manafort wrote the campaign strategy for Edouard Balladur in the 1995 elections, and admitted to having been paid under the table[17] (at least $200,000). The money was transferred to him through his friend, Lebanese arms-dealer Abdul Rahman al-Assir, from middle-men fees paid for arranging the sale of three French Agosta-class submarines to Pakistan, in a scandal known as the Karachi Affair.[14]

Association with Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency[edit]

Manafort received $700,000 from the Kashmiri American Council between 1990 and 1994, supposedly to promote the plight of the Kashmiri people. However, an FBI investigation revealed the money was actually from Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency as part of a disinformation operation to divert attention from terrorism. A former Pakistani ISI official claimed Manafort was aware of the nature of the operation.[18] While producing a documentary as part of the deal, Manafort interviewed several Indian officials while pretending to be a CNN reporter.[19]

HUD scandal[edit]

In the late 1980s, Manafort was criticized for using his connections at HUD to ensure funding for a $43 million rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in Seabrook, N.J.[20] Manafort's firm received a $326,000 fee for its work in getting HUD approval of the grant largely through personal influence with Deborah Gore Dean, an executive assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel R. Pierce, Jr.[21]

Lobbying for Viktor Yanukovych[edit]

He also worked as an adviser on the Ukrainian presidential campaign of Viktor Yanukovych (and his Party of Regions during the same time span) from December 2004 until the February 2010 Ukrainian presidential election[22][23] even as the U.S. government (and McCain) opposed Yanukovych because of his ties to Russia's Vladimir Putin.[10] Manafort was hired to advise Yanukovych months after massive street demonstrations known as the Orange Revolution overturned Yanukovych's victory in the 2004 presidential race.[24] Borys Kolesnikov, Yanukovich’s campaign manager, said the party hired Manafort after identifying organizational and other problems in the 2004 elections, in which it was advised by Russian strategists.[23] Manafort rebuffed U.S. Ambassador William Taylor when the latter complained he was undermining U.S. interests in Ukraine.[14] According to a 2008 U.S. Justice Department annual report, Manafort’s company received $63,750 from Yanukovych's Party of Regions over a six-month period ending on March 31, 2008, for consulting services.[25] In 2010, under Manafort's tutelage, the opposition leader put the Orange Revolution on trial, campaigning against its leaders' management of a weak economy. Returns from the presidential election gave Yanukovych a narrow win over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a leader of the 2004 demonstrations. Yanukovych owed his comeback in Ukraine's presidential election to a drastic makeover of his political persona and, people in his party say, that makeover was engineered in part by his American consultant, Manafort.[23]

In February 2014, Yanukovych was overthrown by the Euromaidan protests, during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, and a Parliamentary vote, and then fled to Russia.[26]


  1. ^ Paul Manafort, Sr., Jan. 25, 2013, Hartford Courant
  2. ^ Nomination of Paul J. Manafort, Jr., To Be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, May 13, 1981 in John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project [online]. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California (hosted), Gerhard Peters (database)
  3. ^ "Inside Trump adviser Manafort's world of politics and global financial dealmaking". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  4. ^ Stone, Peter (2016-04-27). "Trump's new right-hand man has history of controversial clients and deals". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  5. ^ Lake, Eli (2016-04-13). "Trump Just Hired His Next Scandal". Bloomberg View. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (April 18, 2016). "Potential G.O.P. Convention Fight Puts Older Hands in Sudden Demand". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 20, 2016. 
  9. ^ Savransky, Rebecca (March 28, 2016). "Trump hires strategist Paul Manafort". TheHill. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Mosk, Matthew (June 26, 2008). "Top McCain Adviser Has Found Success Mixing Money, Politics". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  11. ^ Burns, Alexander; Haberman, Maggie (March 28, 2016). "Donald Trump Hires Paul Manafort to Lead Delegate Effort". The New York Times - First Draft. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  12. ^ Sherman, Gabriel (April 19, 2016). "How Paul Manafort Took Over the Trump Campaign". New York Magazine. Retrieved April 20, 2016. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b c Foer, Franklin. "The Quiet American". Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  15. ^ "Trump chair Paul Manafort: 'mercenary' lobbyist and valuable asset". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-25. 
  16. ^ Brogan, Pamela (1992). The Torturer's Lobby. How Human Rights-Abusing Nations Are Represented in Washington (PDF). Washington DC: The Center for Public Integrity. p. 7. ISBN 0-9629012-9-6. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "US Consultant Admits Role in Karachi Affair". France24. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  18. ^ Isikoff, Michael. "Top Trump aide lobbied for Pakistani spy front". Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  19. ^ Drinkard, Jim (4 December 1994). "Public-Relations Ethics Questioned as Some Agents Pose as Journalists : Information: Deception violates PR code, but critics say it's common nonetheless.". Associated Press. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Michael Riley Where Were the Media on HUD?, Time Magazine July 24, 1989
  21. ^ Eaton, William J. (June 21, 1989). "GOP Consultant Admits Using Influence to Obtain HUD Grant but Defends Action". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  22. ^ Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s top adviser, and his ties to pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, (2 May 2016)
  23. ^ a b c Levy, Clifford J. (September 30, 2007). "Ukrainian Prime Minister Reinvents Himself". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  24. ^ Boudreaux, Richard (February 9, 2010). "Candidates Sought Guidance From American Consultants". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  25. ^ "Paid advisers descend on candidates, nation". Kyiv Post. November 24, 2009. Archived from the original on November 24, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Profile: Viktor Yanukovych", BBC News (regularly updated)
    Ukrainian MPs vote to oust President Yanukovych, BBC News (22 February 2014)

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