A Ukrainian oligarch corrupted a U.S. civil servant. Now the Senate could vote to confirm him.
Whistleblower Aid’s latest case just got exclusive coverage in the New York Times. Here’s what we’ve uncovered:
Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine, corrupted his own country years ago. Starting in 2005, Akhmetov’s political party paid millions of dollars to Paul Manafort to manipulate Ukrainian elections and promote the oligarch’s coal and steel companies.
Manafort, a former lobbyist and later chairman of the president’s election campaign, told the FBI he did “significant work” for Akhmetov. Manafort spent $3 million of the proceeds on a unit in Trump Tower in New York City. Manafort is now in prison for financial crimes.
But Manafort wasn’t the end of the story. Akhmetov ultimately extended tendrils of corruption all the way into the U.S. civil service.
Starting in 2014, William Bryan in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) helped to lock in record profits for Akhmetov’s coal monopoly, worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. In return, as soon as Bryan left government, Akhmetov’s cronies funnelled paying work to Bryan’s private consulting company.
Now, Bryan is the president’s nominee for Undersecretary of Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security.
How did this happen?
Russia invaded the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, cutting off access to a significant portion of Ukraine’s coal supply. Ukraine was in a panic, and sought help from the United States. The DOE sent a group of U.S. officials and international experts to help Ukraine create a “Winter Action Plan”—a way to keep their people warm for the winter. Leading the group was William Bryan.
But instead of promoting Ukrainian or even U.S. interests, Bryan aligned the team with Akhmetov’s businesses. In short order, Bryan was trading favors and money in exchange for pushing the coal oligarch’s monopolies. After helping Akhmetov--and while still a government employee--Bryan used his Ukrainian connections to cut side deals for his private business, ValueBridge Energy Group.
Ukrainians were looking to the United States for objective advice to improve competition in their energy sector. Americans were looking to our government officials to strengthen our ally Ukraine against Russian aggression. Instead, we got dishonest double-dealing for private profit.
To bring this sordid story to light, it took a brave whistleblower--Robert Ivy, a senior official in the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. In August 2016, Robert reported Bryan’s wrongdoing through the official channels in the DOE. He did so again in 2017, and he was told that his disclosures would be forwarded to the FBI.
But for two years, Ivy has suffered employment reprisals. And William Bryan, instead of facing accountability, was nominated by the president for a top spot at the Department of Homeland Security.
Before the Senate votes to confirm, let’s tell Congress that oligarch corruption has no place in the U.S. government. Together, let’s stop Bryan’s confirmation.
HELP US STOP CORRUPTION IN ITS TRACKS--TELL THE SENATE TO REJECT WILLIAM BRYAN
We know we can stop a Senate nomination—after all, Whistleblower Aid has done it before.
With help from Whistleblower Aid and all our supporters, our brave former CIA clients forced Christopher Sharpley to leave government and withdraw his nomination to be CIA Inspector General. Sharpley had overseen serious investigative misconduct, retaliated against whistleblowers, and perjured himself to Congress.
We can stop William Bryan, too. But we need your help. We’ve created a petition to send to the Senate. Please sign it, then share it with your friends on email and social media.
Together, we will win another victory for the rule of law and democracy.
Whistleblower Aid is a nonprofit, pro bono law firm representing all whistleblowers, from government agencies, private companies, and anywhere wrongdoing takes place.
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