A Senator Who Never Met the Russian Ambassador Never Had Dinner With Him and It Wasn't Paid for by Secret Donor

A Senator Who Never Met the Russian Ambassador Never Had Dinner With Him and It Wasn't Paid for by Secret Donor

Free image via Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/man-surprise-shock-surprised-211505/

It has become sort of a joke that no one in Washington, D.C. will admit to having met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak despite documentary evidence. While the anti-Trumpers like to harp on Jeff Sessions, there are others. For instance, Nancy Pelosi.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she’s never met with the current Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

“Not with this Russian ambassador, no,” Pelosi told POLITICO’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer during a Playbook interview, when asked whether she had ever met with the Russian envoy.

But a file photo from Pelosi’s 2010 meeting with Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev shows Kislyak at the table across from Pelosi — then House speaker — and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Medvedev had been in the country for a meeting with President Barack Obama a day earlier and stopped in on Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leaders as well.

Now we have another. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) took to Twitter in March and announced she never met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during her time on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

However, McCaskill in 2015 attended a reception honoring former Rep. James Symington (D-MO) at the Russian ambassador’s Washington residence, CNN reported.

Well, yeah, CNN, so it might not be true.

But what makes the whole thing drip with schadenfreude is that the bill for dinner was footed by a foundation on whose board McCaskill sits and her role in the foundation was not disclosed as required by law.

McCaskill’s attendance at the dinner was accompanied by an $873 payment to the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, where Kislyak serves on the board of directors as honorary chairman.

The payment to Kislyak’s foundation was not made directly by McCaskill—it was made through a foundation, the Shepard Family Foundation, that she set up with her husband Jon Shepard in 2013 but failed to disclose in filings to the Senate ethics committee until three weeks ago.

A McCaskill spokesman said the senator’s decision to use the then-undisclosed foundation to pay for the dinner was not part of an attempt to hide it.

“Senator McCaskill and her family support a variety of causes through the Shepard Family Foundation, including this donation at a nonprofit event honoring a beloved Missouri Congressman,” said John LaBombard.

The payment to Kislyak’s foundation was properly disclosed in the foundation’s 2015 tax filing, which also lists a $10,000 contribution to Planned Parenthood.

McCaskill has been in the Senate since 2007. How did being on the board of directors of a family foundation escape her annual ethics filing? The obvious answer is that it didn’t and she only declared it when it became obvious that people were sniffing around Kislyak.

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