Claire McCaskill: The Ultimate D.C. Insider

May 14, 2018

Connecting these dots leads straight to the heart of the swamp – and McCaskill

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Claire McCaskill, America’s most unpopular senator up for re-election this year and the number one recipient of lawyer and lobbyist contributions in all of Congress, is deeply rooted in the D.C. swamp. Her little-known ties to a super-lobbyist business partner are further proof…

Tony Podesta, a Democrat super-lobbyist, recently stepped down from his firm, the Podesta Group, following Robert Mueller’s probe into his work representing – you guessed it – the “F****** Russians.” He was also heavily involved in supporting Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Prior to Podesta’s implication in the Mueller probe, McCaskill and Podesta were business partners through an investment in an upscale D.C. restaurant, Centrolina. This, in addition to the fact McCaskill received over $5,000 in campaign contributions from Podesta and his wife, and at least another $25,000 from the Podesta Group and its employees.

“No wonder less than a third of Missourians think Claire McCaskill should be re-elected this year,” said Josh Hawley. “Missourians see right through her facade. They know she is the ultimate D.C. insider, and she likes to leave out these shady details because it affirms all the ways she’s ingrained in the swamp.

“Senator McCaskill ought to tell us if she’s giving back the thousands of dollars from disgraced lobbyist Tony Podesta and his firm, given their involvement in the ongoing Russia investigation. We deserve to know where her alliance lies – in Missouri, or the D.C. elitists who fund her campaign.”


Senator Claire McCaskill is the #1 recipient of campaign cash from lobbyists and lawyers in all of Congress.

McCaskill has taken $2,494,338 from lobbyists and lawyers so far in the current election, ranking first in both the Senate and the House. (Center For Responsive Politics)

McCaskill was recently ranked the most unpopular Senator in America up for re-election in 2018 according to recent polling. (Morning Consult). In that same poll, only 29 percent of Missourians said they want to re-elect McCaskill. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

According to David Corn and Michael Isakoff’s book, “Russian Roulette,” McCaskill blamed the “F****** Russians” for Trump’s victory. McCaskill now tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she “does not remember saying that.”

Tony Podesta Is A Former Democrat “Super-Lobbyist” in Washington, D.C.

  • The Podesta Group Is A “King Of K Street.” “Lobbyist Tony Podesta has a long history in Democratic politics and is a prodigious fundraiser. His wife, Heather, is a powerhouse lobbyist in her own right. Tony’s brother, John — a co-founder of their namesake lobbying firm — was the co-chairman of the Obama transition and is the founder and president of the Center for American Progress, which many people credit with crafting much of the Obama administration’s policy blueprints and staffing its ranks. With a pedigree like that, it’s no surprise that Tony Podesta’s lobbying firm has emerged as a king of K Street. The Podesta Group earned almost $1.5 million more in this year’s first quarter than last year’s quarterly average, a measure that outperformed every other Washington lobbying firm, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.” (Chris Frates, “Rainmaing Politicos,” Politico, 7/10/09)
  • The Podesta Group Is “One Of Washington’s Biggest Players.” “In a remarkable season of lobbying, business is booming for the Podesta Group, already one of Washington’s biggest players. It has become particularly lucrative for firms like Mr. Podesta’s that are skilled at wielding influence in Congress, the center of epic debates on health care, bailouts and financial regulations.” (Eric Lichtblau, “Lobbyist Says It’s Not About Influence,” The New York Times, 7/1/10)
  • The Podesta Group Is One Of D.C.’s “Most Powerful Lobbying Shops.” “That only works in D.C. if the playful style is backed with some serious substance, and indeed, the Podestas run two of the city’s most powerful lobbying shops. Tony, 69, is a former Democratic campaign operative who founded the Podesta Group (with brother John Podesta, later Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff). Heather, 43, is a former Hill staffer who founded her own eponymous shop in 2007 and became the “It Girl in a new generation of young, highly connected, built-for-the-Obama-era lobbyists,” wrote our colleague Manuel Roig-Franzia in a 2009 Style profile.” (“Heather And Tony Podesta, Married Superlobbyists And Art Collectors, Are Separating,” The Washington Post’s The Reliable Source, 1/15/13)

Until Recently, Washington Super-Lobbyist Tony Podesta And Claire McCaskill Were Business Partners Through The Co-ownership Of A Washington D.C. Restaurant

  • Note: Chef Amy B (CHEF AMYB, CHEFAMYB) is Centrolina chef and owner, Amy Brandwein.
  • In Her 2016 Personal Financial Disclosure, McCaskill Reported Owning Between $1,001 And $15,000 In CHEFAMYB LLC Assets. (Sen. Claire McCaskill, 2016 Personal Financial Disclosure, Filed 5/15/17)
    • CHEFAMYB LLC Is The Corporate Name For Centrolina, A Restaurant In Washington, D.C. (DC Business Center, Accessed 4/16/17)
    • McCaskill Is A Part Owner Of Centrolina. “In 2014, McCaskill bought a condo in Washington, D.C., for $2.7 million. Republicans plan to turn the condo into a symbol of McCaskill’s insider status. The condo, in the almost-too-fancy-for-D.C. CityCenter development, is above Hermes and Gucci stores. McCaskill also owns a part of Centrolina, a restaurant in the development, which sells $14 Negroni cocktails and a $325 bottle of pinot noir. She and her husband reported assets valued at $26 million or more in her latest financial disclosure, including a share in a private plane worth $3.5 million.” (“Why Claire McCaskill Is Holding Her Fire,” Politico, 8/30/17)
  • Tony Podesta Is A Governor Of CHEF AMYB, LLC. (“Chef AMYB LLC,” Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Accessed 5/9/18)
  • Tony Podesta Owned A Stake In Centrolina. “Mr. Podesta operated as a lifestyle concierge for clients. He had a regular table at Tosca, a popular Italian restaurant, and was part-owner of Centrolina, an Italian restaurant in a new billion-dollar development.” (The Wall Street Journal, 4/18/18)

Podesta’s Downfall: Lobbying To Remove Sanctions From Russia’s Largest Bank

  • Tony Podesta Lobbied For Sberbank. “There’s also this inconvenient fact: In 2016, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, where Joule board member Reuben Vardanyan formerly served as head of its investment banking division, had a $170,000 lobbying contract with the Podesta Group — which is owned by John Podesta’s brother, Tony Podesta.” (The New York Post, 7/5/17)
  • Sberbank Is The Largest Russian State-Owned Bank. “Sberbank, Russia’s state-owned banking giant, plans to withdraw from ‘several’ countries in Europe under pressure from sanctions, according to chief executive Herman Gref.” (“Sberbank To Withdraw From Several Countries Under Sanctions Pressure,” Financial Times, 9/22/17)
  • Podesta Sought To End Obama Administration Economic Sanctions Against The Bank. “Democrat super-lobbyist Tony Podesta was paid $170,000 over a six-month period last year to represent Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, seeking to end one of the Obama administration’s economic sanctions against that country, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.” (The Daily Caller, 3/6/17)
    • The CEO Of Sberbank Is Listed On CNN’s List Of Putin’s Oligarchs. “98. German Gref: Chief Executive Officer, Sberbank.” (“The Full ‘Putin List’ Of Russian Oligarchs And Political Figures Released By The US Treasury,” CNN, 1/30/18)
  • Podesta Recently Stepped Down From His Lobbying Firm After Coming Under Investigation By Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “Democratic power lobbyist Tony Podesta, founder of the Podesta Group, is stepping down from the firm that bears his name after coming under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.” (Politico, 10/30/17)
  • The Podesta Group Was Doing Work For A Russian Bank Under Sanctions And Working With Paul Manafort. “His troubles, some long hidden, surfaced in the summer of 2016. The Podesta Group lost its banker over news the firm did work for the U.S. subsidiary of a Russian bank under sanctions. Then came headlines that the firm’s work with Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, and an associate may have violated government rules. And in October, WikiLeaks published 20,000 pages of emails stolen from his brother John Podesta, chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign.” (The Wall Street Journal, 4/18/18)

Podesta Has Long Been A Supporter Of McCaskill’s…

  • Podesta And His Wife Donated More Money To The Democratic Party Than Any Other Washington Lobbyists In The Past Decade. “[Tony] and Heather Podesta together donated more money to the Democratic Party and its candidates than any other Washington lobbyists in the past decade, fundraising records show.” (The Wall Street Journal, 4/18/18)
  • Tony Podesta Held A Fundraiser For McCaskill In His Mansion In 2006. “The voters may be in Missouri, but much of the money it takes to reach them still flows through the nation’s capital. That meant missing a key day on the campaign trail – and countless opportunities to talk to voters – for Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Claire McCaskill this week in her race to unseat Republican Sen. Jim Talent. It meant trekking to the Washington manse of power lobbyists Heather and Tony Podesta, to ask two-dozen persons, including total strangers, for thousands of dollars to pay for her campaign.” (Matt Stearns, “Beltway Boost For Heartland,” The Kansas City Star, 7/22/06)
    • Tickets For The Fundraiser Ranged From $500 – $1,000 And McCaskill’s Campaign Declined To Let Reporters In Saying It Was Not Open To The General Public. “For McCaskill, the financial tilt-a-whirl dropped her in the Podesta home Monday night. Suggested entry fee: $500. For political action committees: $1,000. McCaskill’s campaign declined to let a reporter attend, saying it was not open to the ‘general public.’ According to one attendee, it was a typical affair: McCaskill gave a status report on the campaign and discussed a few of her key issues, like stem-cell research and the minimum wage. Donors munched on Italian food and admired the Podestas’ modern art collection as McCaskill spoke. The campaign declined to release the names of the invitees, the people writing the checks to pay for those ads and mailings that will deluge Missouri voters.’” (Matt Stearns, “Beltway Boost For Heartland,” The Kansas City Star, 7/22/06)
  • During The Course Of Her Career, McCaskill Has Taken At Least $25,000 From The Podesta Group And Its Employees. (Center For Responsive Politics, 4/18/18)
    • Claire McCaskill Has Received $12,000 From The Podesta Group And Its Employees This Cycle, More Than Any Other Senator This Cycle. (Center For Responsive Politics, 4/18/18)
  • Tony Podesta Has Contributed At Least $5,500 To McCaskill’s Campaign (Center For Responsive Politics, 5/11/18).