Former advisers and those in President Barack Obama’s inner circle were rocked last week after a key figure from the Obama White House admitted that he was part of a secretive operation to influence the administration of former President Donald Trump.
According to The Washington Post, Richard G. Olson “admitted to lying in ethics paperwork and violating revolving-door laws by lobbying for Qatar within a year of retiring from federal service.”
Olson spent 34 years as a Foreign Service officer, and spent 2015 and 2016 as the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
ICYMI Ex-U.S. diplomat Richard Olson pleads guilty in Qatar lobbying plot, asks why retired four-star Marine general John G. Allen has not been charged in longrunning federal influence probe of Qatar, UAE and other nations operating in Washington https://t.co/I2ML8981dP
— Spencer Hsu (@hsu_spencer) June 4, 2022
While the two charges are technically misdemeanors under U.S. code, each charge carries with it the possibility of one year in prison.
The Post reported: “In plea papers, Olson acknowledged not disclosing as required in annual ethics forms that he had received a first-class airplane ticket from New Mexico to London and a stay in a luxury hotel in January 2015 worth about $20,000 from a Pakistani American businessman who was not identified by the government but whose description matches that of Zuberi.”
Imaad Zuberi, a U.S. businessman, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2020 for tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and foreign influence-peddling.
Richard Olson, a former US ambassador scheduled to attend a plea hearing on charges that include improperly helping a foreign government influence US policy, says prosecutors aren’t bringing charges for similar conduct by former Marine Gen. John Allen.https://t.co/DN5RyD7ePU
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) June 3, 2022
Olson’s sentence could reportedly be mitigated with exculpatory evidence about retired four-star Marine Gen. John G. Allen, though a DOJ official noted: “Nothing related to General Allen has any bearing on the false statement the defendant made on an Office of Government Ethics form in May of 2016, and that was a full year before General Allen’s involvement in activities related to Qatar.”