|Industry||Government and public relations|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|Kimberley Fritts (CEO)|
Number of employees
The Podesta Group was a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John Podesta and Tony Podesta and has previously been known as Podesta Associates, podesta.com and PodestaMattoon. John Podesta left the firm in 1993, and Tony Podesta left the firm on October 30, 2017, after finding out about increased scrutiny of the firm. The firm most recently reorganized in January 2007 after current Chairman Tony Podesta split with former business partner Dan Mattoon.
Podesta Group represents American corporations as well as nonprofits and governments, and has "close ties to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration", although its CEO Kimberley Fritts was identified in 2015 by the group as "a fixture in Republican politics", having worked for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. She resigned in November 2017 to establish her own firm, Cogent Strategies.
On November 9, 2017, CEO Kimberley Fritts informed all employees that the Podesta Group would cease to exist at the end of the year. Employees were asked to clear out their desks and told that they may not be paid beyond November 15. On November 21, Podesta Group's website went offline being redirected to the personal website of Tony Podesta, with the majority of the Podesta Group’s former principals having joined Cogent Strategies, a new firm founded by Kimberley Fritts in November 2017.
Lobbying and public affairs activities
The Podesta Group acted as a lobbyist for Egypt on US policies of concern, activities in Congress and the executive branch, and developments on the United States political scene generally, according to forms filed with the Department of Justice in 2009.
They also received $900,000 in revenue in 2011–2012 from the Brussels-based European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), a group sympathetic to then–Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. As of October 2017, the Podesta Group is reported to be under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for potentially violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act in the course of its work for the ECMU. The Podesta Group was one of six lobbying firms that participated in a 2012–2014 public relations campaign organized by Paul Manafort on behalf of the ECMU and Ukraine's pro-Russian Party of Regions; the campaign was reportedly designed with the stated goal of improving Ukraine's standing among Western audiences as a possible prelude to Ukrainian membership in the European Union. A Podesta Group spokesman denied any wrongdoing. On October 30, 2017, a federal grand jury unsealed the indictment of Manafort and his deputy Richard Gates. According to NBC News, the Podesta Group is mentioned in the indictment as one of the companies that lobbied on behalf of the Ukrainian government for Manafort and Gates. On that day, Tony Podesta stepped down as head of the Podesta Group.
In addition, the Podesta Group has been retained by Walmart, BP, and Lockheed Martin. Other clients include Bank of America, the Cherokee Nation (casinos), National Public Radio, and the Republic of Kenya.
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