According to a review by American Ledger, Trump’s reelection campaign has re-hired Belmont Strategies, a digital consulting firm that was recently revealed to have been working with accused campaign money launders Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
Belmont Strategies is headed by noted GOP consultant Andrew Surabian – a close associate of Steve Bannon – who in November 2019, Buzzfeed revealed was hired in 2018 for public relations efforts defending Parnas and Fruman from accusations of money laundering. In October 2019, Parnas and Fruman were indicted on grand jury charges of money laundering in the Southern District of New York relating to their attempt to conceal illegal campaign donations from a foreign national.
For defending Parnas and Fruman, Surabian’s organization was paid $25,000 by Parnas and Fruman’s firm, Global Energy Producers, on the same day that Fruman transferred money to the firm that he had allegedly received from an unnamed Russian national. Surabian has previously denied knowledge of the money laundering scheme.
The Trump campaign’s most recent financial disclosure documents, filed on February 20, show that the Trump campaign has paid $10,000 for digital consulting fees to Belmont Strategies in 2020 – after their reported 2018 work for and after the 2019 indictment of Parnas and Fruman.
Parnas and Furman are no stranger to Trump’s inner circle as the two are closely associated with the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Belmont isn’t Trump’s only controversial campaign hire. According to Politico, the Trump campaign has recently re-hired Matt Oczkowski, a former senior staffer at Cambridge Analytica.
In the 2016 presidential election, Cambridge Analytica utilized the private data of 87 million Facebook users to micro target voters on behalf of the Trump campaign, and has since shuttered following the controversy. According to the Trump campaign’s most recent FEC filing, in January 2020 alone, the Trump campaign paid Oczkowski’s firm $30,000 for data consulting.
Although the Trump campaign has been marred by indictments and convictions against its staff and associates, its continued association with actors and organizations like Surabian and Oczkowski make apparent the campaign’s indifference.