The Podesta group, a lobbying firm co-founded by Tony Podesta and John Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman — will shutter its doors by the end of the year, according to a new report.
What’s going on?
After special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and staffer Rick Gates was made public, the Podesta Group was swept into the center of the investigation, along with another organization, for failing to register their foreign lobbying work with the U.S. government. The companies worked with Manafort to conduct lobbying in Ukraine on behalf of Russian organizations.
According to CNN, Kimberley Fritts, the Podesta Group’s chief executive, told employees during a staff meeting on Thursday the company wouldn’t survive through the end of the year, said they likely wouldn’t be paid beyond Nov. 15 and instructed them to clean out their desks.
Mueller’s investigation has interviewed several members of the Podesta Group. Tony resigned from the company the day the indictment was made public. He has vowed to fight for himself and his group.
The Podesta Group for decades has been one of the biggest lobbying firms on K-Street, meaning their closure would shake-up Washington. However, Fritts already has plans to move forward.
What does she have planned?
According to The Hill, Fritts plans to open her own firm, and may take many of the current Podesta Group employees and clients with her. Other Podesta Group executives, however, may head in other directions.
From The Hill:
Fritts is beginning work on launching a new firm. Her last day at the company Friday created new uncertainty for the Podesta Group after the departure of Podesta on Oct. 30.
Multiple employees who spoke to The Hill said the mood at the firm was mostly optimistic, though they said many of the firm’s dozens of employees could be in limbo as Fritts sets up the new firm and brings Podesta Group talent and clients with her.
Staff said the transition to the new firm would take place in weeks, not months, while senior members of the firm have been trying to keep as many clients as possible.
CNN reported that Tony may even try to continue his lobbying work.
“He didn’t say he was retiring,” a source told CNN. “He’s a prideful person. He built a very influential company over 30 years, and I think he believes he hasn’t done anything wrong.”