Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.

Background: Broidy's guilty plea covered his undisclosed work on behalf of Jho Low, a fugitive accused of stealing billions of dollars from a Malaysian investment fund.

  • As part of his plea, Broidy admitted to accepting millions to lobby the Justice Department to back off efforts to seize Low's assets.
  • He also admitted to working behind the scenes to push for the extradition of Guo Wengui, a billionaire Chinese exile and ally of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

Broidy resigned from his position at the RNC in 2018, after he was revealed to have paid $1.6 million to a former Playboy model in exchange for her silence about their extramarital affair.

  • The payment was facilitated by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, who has since served a prison term and turned into a leading Trump critic.
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