The GOP operative who pleaded guilty Friday to failing to register his Ukrainian lobbying work in the U.S. also lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee, deleted documents that would have revealed those false statements and aided with an illegal straw purchase of tickets to President Trump’s inauguration for a Ukrainian oligarch, according to court documents.
Lobbyist Sam Patten is not being charged for that conduct, according to the statement of offense filed with his guilty plea to the foreign lobbying charge. The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorneys Office in D.C.; however, Patten’s plea agreement calls for cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller and members of Mueller’s team were present at his plea hearing in D.C.’s federal courthouse.
According to the statement of offense, Patten was asked by his Russian business partner — known in the docs as “Foreigner A” and believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik — to obtain inauguration tickets for the Ukrainian oligarch dubbed “Foreigner B,” for whom Patten and Foreigner A lobbied in the U.S. starting in 2015.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee legally could not accept payments from foreign nationals, so Patten found a straw purchaser who was paid $50,000 by Patten’s company to purchase four inauguration tickets, according to the docs. Foreigner B, through a Cypriot account, then paid Patten’s company, and he, another Ukrainian, Patten and Foreigner A received the tickets.
About a year later, in January 2018, Patten voluntarily testified before the Senate Intel Committee, where he misled congressional investigators so as to obscure his facilitation of the straw purchase of the inauguration, according to the docs. He also misled the committee about his lobbying for foreign nationals more generally, according to the statement of offense, and after the interview, deleted documents pertaining to his relationship with those foreign nationals.
Senate Intel Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) said in a joint statement, via a committee spokesperson, to TPM that they had made a criminal referral to the Justice Department due to “concerns” about Patten’s testimony.
“While the charge, and resultant plea, do not appear to directly involve our referral, we appreciate their review of this matter,” the statement said.
Patten appears to have had his first meeting, known as a proffer, with prosecutors in May to outline what he was prepared to divulge in exchange for a plea deal.