Watchdog Group Calls For Criminal Probe Into Rudy Giuliani's Ukraine Role

A watchdog group is calling for a criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s alleged leverage of government funds to benefit the reelection of client Donald Trump.

Trump has admitted that he sent Giuliani to Ukraine to pressure officials to investigate unfounded accusations against political rival Joe Biden. During some of that time, Trump held up $390 million in military aid for Ukraine that had been approved by Congress.

Business associate Lev Parnas, who has been indicted for alleged campaign finance violations, has said that he followed Giuliani’s instructions to tell Ukrainian officials that their nation would not receive any aid unless they announced an investigation into Biden. 

“Evidence suggests that Giuliani, who is President Trump’s personal attorney, manipulated federal funds — specifically aid to Ukraine — for partisan political purposes, which is prohibited” by the Hatch Act, said a statement Thursday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The organization filed a complaint Thursday with the Southern District of New York, which is reportedly already investigating Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine. The Hatch Act prohibits, among other things, the manipulation of federal funds and federal programs to advance a partisan agenda.

“Giuliani and his potential co-conspirators likely violated the Hatch Act by threatening to withhold congressionally authorized security assistance to Ukraine to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations that would be politically beneficial to Giuliani’s client, President Trump,” the CREW statement added.

CREW’s executive director, Noah Bookbinder, said that Giuliani’s work in Ukraine to “advance the political interests” of Trump not only led to the president’s impeachment but “also violated our country’s criminal laws.” Holding up “hundreds of millions of dollars in money Congress appropriated to keep America safe in order to advance a partisan political agenda is not only dangerous and anti-democratic, it also violates a key federal law meant to prevent the powers of the federal government from being used for political gain.”

Officials from the Southern District could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Read CREW’s entire letter to the SDNY here.

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