On Wednesday, news broke that former nat sec advisor Michael Flynn was paid $530,000 by a lobbying firm linked to the Turkish government for work he performed from September to November of 2016, at the same time he was serving as an advisor for the Donald Trump campaign.
Flynn's consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, was working for Inovo BV, a Dutch consulting firm owned by a Turkish businessman with ties to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to multiple reports. "Howard explained to HuffPo, "'If people lobby for foreign countries in the United States, much less if former high-ranking military officers lobby for foreign countries, it's reasonable to expect them to register [with the Justice Department] at the point they sign a contract'".
Trump fired Flynn last month for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. "When an American businessman hires a consultant or lobbyist, nobody assumes he is working for the US government, why is it different in my case?" he said in an interview with Daily Sabah on Thursday.
Flynn's lobbying work for Inovo, a Dutch-based company with ties to Erdogan, included writing an op-ed calling for the U.S.to extradite the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan accuses of having orchestrated a failed coup against him previous year.
MR. SPICER: I don't believe that that was known. Flynn met with Turkish officials less than two months after the election.
Flynn penned an editorial that appeared in The Hill on November 8 past year - Election Day - calling Turkey a "vital" ally and criticizing the media for one-sided reporting on the country's "crackdown on dissidents". "You have an attorney calling the transition team saying that the person in line to be the national security adviser may need to register as a foreign agent and that doesn't raise a red flag?" "I know that, from what I have read, he has filed the appropriate forms with the Department of Justice".
The documents submitted by the FIG said, in early September, Alptekin invited the FIG to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak for the objective of better understanding the political climate in Turkey.Alptekin, however, told Daily Sabah that he had only invited Gen. Flynn as a friend and had to convince Turkish officials that they had needed to meet Flynn.
The filings state Flynn Intel Group's work with Inovo ended November 15, 2016.
In Oct. 2016, Flynn was working on an op-ed promoting Turkey's political and business affairs that was later published in The Hill. They also worked on research, informational materials and a video on the cleric, Fethullah Gulen. "What does this say about the transition team's judgment about still appointing him as national security adviser when you had knowledge of this information?"
Flynn Intel Group Inc.
An official at the Turkish embassy in Washington said he would refer the questions to the embassy spokesman.