DOJ Says Payne Never Got Legal Opinion From FARA Office

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Yesterday we told you how Stephen Payne — the guy caught on video by the Times of London apparently selling access to the White House — seemed strangely absent from the Justice Department’s database for registering foreign agents.

His company, Worldwide Strategic Partners, has a brochure claiming to do lobbying work for numerous countries. But the firm shows up nowhere in the DOJ database maintained under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Payne claims that he spoke with a DOJ official who assured him that his contracts did not need to be registered.

We called DOJ to ask about that. They looked through their records and told us this:

“A preliminary search of our records indicates that the Justice Department’s FARA Unit has issued no written, legal opinion to Worldwide Strategic Partners or to Mr. Payne concerning the activities of Worldwide Strategic Partners . . . We continue to search our records to determine whether or not there have ever been any verbal communications between the FARA Unit and Mr. Payne or Worldwide Strategic Partners specifically relating to the activities of Worldwide Strategic Partners.”

Payne obviously has a lot of connections in Washington. But so far, if he’s got a friend over at DOJ, that friend has not come forward to back him up.