Timeline lays out connections between McConnell and Russian oligarchs
WASHINGTON — Following stories linking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to various Russian oligarchs and McConnell’s outrage over his new nickname, “Moscow Mitch,” Restore Public Trust called on McConnell to answer lingering questions surrounding his connections.
“The Senator doth protest too much,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “If McConnell hates his nickname, he should clear the air and answer the questions swirling about his close ties to these Russian oligarchs.”
Here’s what we know:
- 2016-2017: Russian Oligarch and Rusal investor Len Blavatnik contributed $3.5 million to McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund.
- January 16, 2019: McConnell led 42 Republicans to vote to drop sanctions on Rusal, in which Blavatnik was a major investor. Rusal was also owned by Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin.
- January 27, 2019: Sanctions were formally dropped against firms linked to Deripaska by the Trump administration.
- April 2019: Rusal announced plans for its first US project since sanctions on it were lifted; $200 million for funding and supplying an aluminum mill in Kentucky. McConnell received a heads up about the announcement from lobbyist David Vitter.
- July 2019: McConnell earned the nickname “Moscow Mitch” for blocking two election bills aimed at deterring election interference from Russia and other countries.
- August 1, 2019: Politico reported that former McConnell staffers lobbied for the aluminum mill project.
Questions that remain:
- Did McConnell vote to lift the sanctions on Rusal because investor Blavatnik contributed to his PAC?
- Did McConnell know about Rusal’s plan to build an aluminum company in Kentucky before he voted to lift the sanctions on Rusal?
- Did McConnell vote against election interference bills because, most recently, that interference helped his own party?