Russia

FBI raid of GOP consulting firm not related to Russia, firm president says

When news broke Thursday that the FBI had just raided a Republican consulting firm in Annapolis, Maryland, people across Twitter immediately leapt to one conclusion — the Russia investigation.

But according to Strategic Campaign Group’s president, Kelley Rogers, the FBI’s warrant had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Instead, Rogers told the local Capital Gazette, the raid concerned work the company did on a failed 2013 campaign for Virginia governor, which the candidate, Republican former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, had once sued the company over.

In 2014, Cuccinelli accused the Strategic Campaign Group and the Conservative StrikeForce PAC — which allegedly operated and controlled by the Strategic Campaign Group — of misleading voters and failing to deliver on promises that it would support his campaign through canvassing, radio ads, and other get-out-the-vote efforts. Cuccinelli’s lawsuit dubbed the group a “malicious ‘Scam Pac.’”

The suit was eventually settled for $85,000.

The FBI confirmed that the agency had carried out a search warrant in Annapolis, but declined to elaborate to several news outlets. (It also did not immediately return VICE News’ request for comment.) After the raid Thursday, Rogers denied any wrongdoing, but said the allegations in the lawsuit apparently led to the FBI investigation.

Though the raid turned out to have not much to do with the Russia investigation, Thursday certainly didn’t lack for Russia-related news: Not only did it emerge that the White House may not have known that Russia media would leak photos of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian officials, but the Trump administration couldn’t keep its story straight on why FBI Director James Comey was fired in the middle of his investigation into its ties to Russia.

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