(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Clark Hill, a legal and lobbying firm that manages many of the largest Super PACs in the country, including the Jeb Bush group known as Right to Rise, is accused of engaging in an illegal kickback scheme with one of its clients, according to a recently filed lawsuit. Though the court case does not relate to Clark Hill’s work in the Super PAC industry, the allegations offer an unusual look into the workings of one of the most prominent lobbying firms in Washington.
The allegations are being made by FCi, a government services provider, in a lawsuit filed against Clark Hill and a former FCi employee.
The story, as described in the lawsuit, begins with the collapse of USIS, the company that once provided background checks for the federal government. The company was responsible for conducting background checks for Edward Snowden as well as Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. As members of the press and federal investigators began to scrutinize the firm, the Department of Justice claimed that USIS engaged in 665,000 fake background checks. USIS lost its contract with the federal government.
FCi, a company that also provides background checks, sought to win a federal contract in the wake of USIS’s fall. To do this, the company hired Jonathan Goldman, a former USIS vice president. According to the complaint, Goldman recommended the services of a Clark Hill lobbyist named Michael Ferrell to help secure federal business.
Unbeknownst to FCi, according to the complaint filed in Loudoun County Circuit Court, Goldman and Clark Hill arranged a secret kickback deal, funneling $2,000 of FCi’s $20,000 per month retainer to Clark Hill back to Goldman through a consulting firm Goldman held a financial stake in called Colvin Run Solutions.
FCi says Goldman violated his employment contract and also accuses Clark Hill of breaching its fiduciary duty by engaging in the kickback scheme.
The attorney for Clark Hill said he could not comment for this story and Goldman’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. Ferrell also did not respond to a request for comment.
Ferrell was mentioned in a special investigative report from the House Oversight Committee two years ago about the special mortgage discounts provided to members of Congress. The report revealed that Ferrell, working in 1998 as a lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, recommended a special discounted mortgage to Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., via the VIP loan unit maintained by lender Countrywide.
Federal Election Commission records reveal that Clark Hill provided legal work for Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, Restore Our Future, the Congressional Leadership Fund, Republicans for Immigration Reform, the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, Bill Cassidy for U.S. Senate, Scalise for Congress, Carlos Curbelo for Congress and other campaign committees.
View the complaint below:
Photo: Jan Stromme/Getty Images