The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Tuesday that a former fundraiser for President Donald Trump has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Elliott Broidy was a fundraiser for Trump’s 2016 campaign and part of his inaugural committee.
Broidy made the guilty plea before federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who did not immediately impose a sentence. Broidy was accused of attempting to lobby high government officials, including the president and attorney general, to drop an investigation into the embezzlement of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), an investment fund owned by the Malaysian government. As part of his plea, he admitted to receiving $9 million from an unnamed architect of the embezzlement scheme. FARA requires individuals who lobby the US government on behalf of foreign entities to register with the DOJ, which Broidy admits he did not do.
In addition to his attempts to get the government to drop the 1MDB investigation, he also attempted to persuade the administration and the DOJ to return a dissident Chinese national living in the US to Chinese authorities. Broidy expected to receive many more millions of dollars in fees for that effort, which was ultimately unsuccessful, as was his lobbying regarding 1MDB.
Of the $9 million he received, Broidy paid $2.4 million to Nickie Lum Davis, his co-conspirator, who has already pleaded guilty for her role in the lobbying effort. Broidy agreed to forfeit the remaining $6.6 million. He could face up to five years in prison at his sentencing hearing, set for next February.