(CNSNews.com) -- The government watchdog group Judicial Watch announced this week that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in federal court against the State Department for all records about the Podesta Group and the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, both of which "have been connected to the recent special counsel indictment of Paul Manafort," said Judicial Watch.
The Manafort investigation is part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign in 2016 and Russia. The Podesta Group reportedly is being investigated by Mueller for allegedly violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act in relation to the work it did for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.
“Mueller’s special counsel operation seems more interested in the alleged foreign ties of the Trump Team, rather than Hillary Clinton’s associates,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch aims to figure out the truth of what exactly the Podesta Group was doing with the Obama State Department.”
The Podesta Group was a prominent lobbying firm founded by brothers John and Tony Podesta, both of whom are well-known political liberals. John Podesta left the lobbying firm in 1993 and went on to work for President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama. He ran the 2016 presidential campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Tony Podesta has lobbied on behalf of many liberal groups and campaigns, including those of Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Ed Rendell, and Sen. Ted Kennedy (d.2009).
However, shortly after news leaked about the Mueller investigation, Tony Podesta resigned from the company he co-founded in 1988 -- the firm reported earning $29.3 million in 2010 and was ranked as the No. 3 lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. in 2016. Also, the latest news reports claim the Podesta Group is folding and that much of the staff have been hired by another firm, Cogent Strategies.
Because the State Department failed to respond to a standard FOIA request from Judicial Watch back in September, the watchdog group sued. It is seeking the following informaiton:
-- All records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State and any principal, employee, or representative of Podesta Group, Inc.
-- All records produced related to any meetings or telephonic communications between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State and any principal, employee, or representative of Podesta Group, Inc.
-- All records regarding the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.
The FOIA request covers the timeframe of January 1, 2012 to the present.