Jan 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump ally Matt Schlapp got $750k in unsuccessful pardon push

Matt Schlapp. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The lobbying firm run by Trump ally Matt Schlapp brought in $750,000 in the final two weeks of 2020 from a former top Trump fundraiser and convicted fraudster who retained Schlapp to lobby — unsuccessfully — for a presidential pardon.

Why it matters: The substantial sum that the former fundraiser, Georgia's Parker "Pete" Petit, paid to Schlapp's Cove Strategies shows how valuable connections to Donald Trump were in his final days in office for wealthy felons seeking clemency from the outgoing president.

What's new: Lobbying disclosure records filed on Thursday said Schlapp, a close informal Trump adviser, worked on a "request for a pardon and other public policy issues relating to criminal justice."

  • The disclosure filing, which covered the last two weeks of 2020, said that Schlapp had contacted just one government office on Petit's behalf: the Executive Office of the President.
  • Petit was not on the list of the nearly 150 pardons and commutations that the White House released during Trump's final days in office.
  • Schlapp didn't respond to inquiries about the other policy work he reported performing on the account.

The backstory: Petit, a former Atlanta health care executive, co-chaired the Trump campaign's 2016 fundraising operation in Georgia.

  • A federal court convicted him of securities fraud in November. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Be smart: A host of federal convicts retained lobbyists to try to win clemency from Trump in his final days. But even the most lucrative lobbying contracts didn't guarantee success.

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