Emails and documents from Tad Devine, a political operative who served at the highest levels of the Bernie Sanders campaign, could be presented as evidence in the Special Counsel’s Office’s prosecution of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chair.
In a list of government exhibits released this week, at least 16 items relate to work by Devine or his consulting firm, Devine Mulvey Longabaugh.
The documents referenced — including emails, invoices, and memos — date from 2006 to 2014. The Times reported last year that Devine quit his work in Ukraine in 2012.
Devine did not return a request for comment about his involvement in the case, including a question about when he stopped working with Manafort. His firm declined to comment.
On Thursday, July 26, a partner at the firm said in a statement that, "The Special Counsel has asked Tad Devine to assist in the prosecution of their case against Paul Manafort regarding his firm’s work on media consulting on past political campaigns in Ukraine."
His role in the investigation entangles the Sanders orbit in an expansive government inquiry that has probed questions surrounding Russia’s interference in the US election, Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, and the insider world of lobbying and influence in Washington that runs counter to the Vermont senator’s own brand of insurgent anti-establishment politics.
Devine’s firm, Devine Mulvey Longabaugh, continues to do work for Sanders, who is running for reelection in the US Senate this year, as well as other 2018 candidates.
Manafort and his former associate Rick Gates, who served as Trump’s deputy campaign chair, worked on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych, the former pro-Russia president of Ukraine, beginning in the mid-2000s. Devine also worked in Ukraine with Manafort on Yanukovych’s behalf — a long-public business arrangement.
“Rick was Paul’s business guy,” Devine told the New York Times last year about working with Gates and Manafort in Ukraine. Gates was originally charged as Manafort’s codefendant, but has since pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s office.
Prosecutors filed the exhibits document — a list of more than 400 items — in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where Manafort faces charges of failing to report foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, and bank fraud. The trial is scheduled to start July 25.
In addition to the charges filed in Virginia, Mueller’s office has also charged Manafort in the US District Court for the District of Columbia with unregistered lobbying in the United States on behalf of a foreign client — the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which was linked to Yanukovych's political party. His trial in DC is set for September.
It is not illegal to work abroad for political clients. But the special counsel’s decision to bring charges under the Foreign Agents Registration Act — a rarely enforced lobbying provision — shook the world of Washington influence, where money and special interests flow freely.
That lobbying effort also involved two powerful Washington firms, the Republican-aligned Mercury Public Affairs and what was formerly known as the Podesta Group, which was headed by Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.