Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a brand new Super PAC in his corner, and it’s being run by a registered foreign agent for the government of Azerbaijan. Larry Rasky, a lobbyist who previously worked as a top campaign operative for Biden, is listed as the treasurer of the PAC, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
“A former Joe Biden aide has filed paperwork to form a super PAC, called Unite the Country, that is set to boost the former vice president with millions of dollars in spending in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary,” Politico reported on Tuesday.
Records filed with the Department of Justice show that Rasky is also a registered foreign agent lobbying on behalf of the government of Azerbaijan. The records, which were filed pursuant to the Foreign Agent Registration Act, show that Rasky was hired by the Azerbaijani government on April 23, 2019. Federal documents signed by Rasky show that he reports directly to Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States.
“[The government of Azerbaijan] will pay RASKY a minimum monthly non-refundable fee (the ‘Monthly Fee’) for the Services provided of $15,000 per month, plus a 5% administrative fee as described below,” Rasky’s contract with the foreign government states. “The Monthly Fees totaling $94,500 shall be paid in two equal installments. The initial payment of $47,250 is due upon the signing of this agreement. The second payment of $47,250 is due on July 15, 2019.”
Politico reported in August that Rasky also explored going into business with Hunter Biden and James Biden, the former vice president’s younger brother. At one point, Rasky planned to provide a million dollars towards the Bidens’ purchase of Paradigm Global Advisors, a hedge fund.
“James and Hunter brought in Larry Rasky, a lobbyist and longtime Biden adviser, who at one point, according to court records, was going to provide $1 million in financing,” Politico reported. “Rasky did not respond to a request for comment.”
Biden’s campaign has been dogged by allegations that he corruptly used his influence as vice president to steer lucrative foreign business contracts to his son Hunter. At a 2018 event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, Joe Biden — who was tasked by then-President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. government’s efforts in Ukraine — bragged about threatening to withhold a billion-dollar loan guarantee if the Ukrainian government refused to fire a prosecutor who was reportedly investigating a gas company that paid Hunter Biden millions of dollars to sit on its board.
“I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars,” Biden said. “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours.”
“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours,’” Biden recalled. “If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b-tch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
After Shokin was fired, he was replaced by Yuri Lutsenko, who also has been dogged by allegations of corruption. The Obama administration never demanded Lutsenko’s ouster, despite worries that Lutsenko was similarly corrupt and untrustworthy.
In recent congressional testimony, George Kent, a State Department official who works on the agency’s Ukraine portfolio, contradicted claims that the Obama administration was merely following the lead of the so-called international community in demanding the firing of Shokin. As The Federalist previously reported, Kent told lawmakers the Obama administration spearheaded the efforts to have Shokin removed from his position as the top federal prosecutor in Ukraine. Kent said the international community — namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western nations within the European Union — were deferential to U.S. directives on the matter.
The news that Biden’s Super PAC is run by the agent of a foreign government will likely complicate the former vice president’s efforts blunt the narrative that his government duties are for sale.
Azerbaijan is not the only foreign entity that Rasky has recently represented. He and his firm also lobbied on behalf of a Bangladeshi political party through January of 2019.
“Rasky Partners will engage in message development, outreach to influencers, media monitoring, media relations, strategic counsel and research,” the filing declared. Rasky’s firm received more than $86,000 from that contract, federal records show.
On Wednesday, Rasky told The Federalist that, notwithstanding the previous contract with Azerbaijan filed with DOJ, his firm had terminated its relationship with Azerbaijan effective August 27, 2019. Rasky’s attorney formally filed the termination notice with DOJ the same day.