Two GOP operatives who were allied with Donald Trump's 2016 campaign admitted Tuesday that they accepted money from the Qatari government in exchange for their efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy and participated in a scheme to deceive the Justice Department about their work. POLITICO mentioned.
Barry Bennett and Doug Watts reportedly admitted in court filings that they accepted cash from Qatari officials in exchange for lobbying on behalf of the country to influence US policy in the Middle East.
Specifically, the outlet reported that the two men, Barry Bennett and Doug Watts, created an organization at Qatar's request called Yemen Crisis Monitor to draw attention to alleged brutality by the Saudi government against the Houthi armed group in Yemen.
The confessions were unsealed in federal court in Washington almost simultaneously with the dismissal of new federal charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), accusing the embattled politician of similar behavior.
But unlike Menendez, Bennett and Watts do not deny the accusations against them. Instead, the two men agreed to “deferred prosecution” agreements that would see them off the charges after a period of time, provided they complied with the terms of their respective agreements. Bennett agreed to pay a $100,000 fine, and Watts agreed to pay more than $25,000. POLITICO mentioned.
The men also agreed to refrain from lobbying or public relations work covered by FARA for an entire year.
The agents, who joined the pro-Trump effort in 2016 after abandoning Ben Carson's campaign, are accused of planning to conceal their work for a foreign government and making false statements about that work.
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