A document filed last month by the Podesta Group revealed the firm failed to disclose dozens of contact points it made with people in influential government offices while lobbying on behalf of a pro-Russia Ukrainian think tank from 2012 to 2014.
Newly disclosed points of contact between the Podesta Group and the American government, which often took the form of meetings, emails and phone calls, included outreach to the State Department, the office of Vice President Joe Biden, and the National Security Council.
The firm was representing the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a Ukrainian think tank looking to soften the position of the Obama administration toward the country's then-pro-Russian government.
CNN, which was first to report on the story, noted the form filed last month details the Podesta Group's lobbying before and after Ukraine's election in October of 2012:
In the two weeks before and after Ukraine's election, the firm had near-daily contact with the State Department, holding seven meetings, conducting "outreach" on seven days and having conversations or email exchanges on 11 days, including with top department officials. The Podesta Group also had contact with the National Security Council on seven days in that same period.
The report quoted a former State Department employee who met with the firm saying, "They were pretty open about their purpose being to give a positive perspective on the upcoming election."
That leaves the firm's failure to disclose its work at the time, waiting nearly five years instead, looking fairly shady.
The European Centre for Modern Ukraine also hired ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's firm Mercury, who was fired from the president's campaign over reports he may have accepted nearly $13 million in illicit payments by the Ukrainian government.
"Although both the Podesta Group and Mercury have said they believed the center was an independent group that was not funded or directed by Ukraine's government, lobbying reports show extensive work for Ukraine's government," CNN reported.
According to CNN's report, the Podesta Group arranged a meeting between Ukraine's foreign minister and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Europe subcommittee.
Though Manafort appears to have attracted a greater deal of media attention for his work with Ukraine, the Podesta Group was paid more by the think tank than Mercury - the firms earned $1 million and $720,000 between 2012 and 2014 respectively.
CNN's 1,600-word report on the lobbying firm's new filing, though thorough and detailed, failed to note Tony Podesta's involvement in fundraising for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. It also did not mention that the Podesta Group was co-founded by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Tony Podesta, current chairman of the firm, was a bundler for Clinton's campaign. By July of 2016 alone, Podesta had raised $268,000 for the campaign and $31,000 for the Hillary Victory Fund. Clinton's campaign website lists him among its "Hillblazers," described as "individuals who have contributed and/or raised $100,000 or more for Hillary for America, the Hillary Victory Fund, and/or the Hillary Action Fund" since the campaign's launch.
Given that he was lobbying the State Department under her tenure, that information is obviously relevant.
In its April 2017 filing with the Justice Department, which included supplements for five periods from 2012 to 2014, the Podesta Group included a "note" before each of those supplements warning that the "names and offices of individuals contacted and the means of contact" are incomplete in some instances because "those details are not in the firm's timekeeping records."
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.