Timeline lays out connections between McConnell and Russian oligarchs
WASHINGTON — Following recent stories outlining the links between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and various Russian oligarchs, Restore Public Trust released a new video that breaks down the links and questions McConnell’s motives for voting against election laws that could help protect our country from Russian interference.
“Mitch McConnell’s ties to Kremlin-linked oligarchs has put us all at risk,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “The American people deserve to know if McConnell’s motive to vote against keeping our elections safe was influenced by billions of dollars in campaign donations and projects that would help him get re-elected. Congress must investigate McConnell’s motives to vote against election laws that could keep out Russian interference. Our nation’s autonomy is at risk.”
Timeline of Russia/McConnell Ties (That we know of)
- 2016-2017: Russian Oligarch and Rusal investor Len Blavatnik contributed $3.5 million to McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund.
- 2016-2017: According to reporting by The Washington Post, talks about the Rusal-backed Kentucky project were in the works “long before” Rusal was sanctioned in early 2018.
- April 6, 2018: Rusal sanctioned by the U.S. Government for “profiting from a Russian state engaged in ‘malign activities’ around the world.”
- January 2019: Former senator David Vitter (R-LA), a lobbyist for a holding company that controls the aluminum producer Rusal and is controlled by Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska, was seen waiting for a meeting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, “just days before the measure objecting to lifting the sanctions came to the floor.”
- January 15, 2019: One day before McConnell led the vote to drop sanctions against Rusal, Craig Bouchard had dinner with Kremlin-linked oligarch and Rusal owner, Oleg Deripaska.
- 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.
Pressure continues to mount against McConnell for his vote to drop sanctions against the Russian company and his refusal to consider laws designed to prevent election interference from other countries after Russian interference in the 2016 election. Restore Public Trust previously called on McConnell to answer lingering questions surrounding his Russian connections after stories linking him to various Russian oligarchs were published and his outrage over his new nickname, “Moscow Mitch” caught the media’s attention.
Voiceover Script: Russia is interfering with our election. So why did Mitch McConnell block two bills to prevent election interference from Russia, earning him the nickname “Moscow Mitch”? Is it because a Russian oligarch contributed $3.5 million to his Senate Leadership PAC? Or was it the vote he led to drop sanctions against the aluminum company that the same Russian oligarch was a key investor in? With sanctions lifted, the company is now investing $200 million for an aluminum mill in McConnell’s home state, Kentucky. The American people deserve to know why the Senate Majority Leader is aiding and abetting Russian attacks on American democracy. Tell Congress to investigate Mitch McConnell’s motives now.