An investigation by the House Oversight Reform Committee has found that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was paid a total sum of $56,250 from several Russian firms in 2015. Flynn had resigned from his White House position after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with a Russian ambassador.
On Mar. 16, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking member of the Oversight committee, penned a letter to President Donald Trump, the Pentagon and the FBI listing the payments made to Flynn by two Russian-affiliated firms and the Russian media outlet RT, The Hill reports.
In the letter, Cummings disclosed that the Oversight Committee had found that Flynn had been paid $67,500 by Russian-affiliated groups in 2015, although a portion had been given to his speakers bureau.
In August 2015, Flynn was paid $11,250 by the Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines, an airline company that had already been blacklisted by the United Nations in relation to corruption.
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In October 2015, Flynn was paid an identical $11,250 by the Russian cyber security company Kaspersky Lab. The company maintains that it is not affiliated with any government but is "proud to collaborate with the authorities of many countries, as well as international law enforcement agencies in the fight against cybercrime."
In December 2015, Flynn was flown out to Russia to speak at a gala hosted by news outlet RT, which has been accused of being the media arm of the Kremlin. In addition to having his travel expenses and lodging covered, Flynn was paid a $45,000 speaker fee, although his speakers bureau took a cut of $11,250.
During this time, Flynn still had the highest-ranking national security clearance that he had gained during his tenure with the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 through 2014. When he spoke at the RT gala, he was already working as a military adviser to the Trump campaign.
In November 2016, Trump appointed Flynn as his White House national security adviser. On Feb. 13, Flynn resigned after journalists uncovered that he had discussed U.S. sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016 and misled Pence about it, The New York Times reports.
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In his letter, Cummings requested further investigation into Flynn's payments, which he had not previously disclosed.
"I cannot recall any time in our nation’s history when the president selected as his national security advisor someone who violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy,” Cummings wrote.
The Oversight committee ranking member added: “I also cannot recall a time when the president and his top advisers seemed so disinterested in the truth about that individual’s work on behalf of foreign nations -- whether due to willful ignorance or knowing indifference.”
On March 10, Flynn disclosed that he was working as a representative for the Turkish government while he had advised the Trump campaign. He had received payments totaling more than $500,000, Reuters reports.
The White House has asserted that Trump had not known of Flynn's ties to Turkey when he appointed him as a national security adviser.