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Former Trump Aide Manafort Registers as Foreign Agent for Ukraine Work

A firm owned by ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort disclosed more than $17 million in payments for its work in Ukraine.
Image: Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort smiles during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on July 19, 2016.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, file

A firm owned by former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort disclosed more than $17 million in payments for its work in Ukraine in a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing late Tuesday.

The payments all occurred well before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.

The retroactive filing describes Manafort's work to influence U.S. policymaking on behalf of the political faction of deposed ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, the Party of Regions, between Jan. 2012 and Feb. 2014.

Paul Manafort is surrounded by reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 17, 2016.J. Scott Applewhite / AP file

Manafort's longtime associate Rick Gates — who also worked on the Trump campaign, eventually playing a role on the Inaugural Committee — is listed as an agent of the firm, DMP International, LLC. The firm was first registered in June 2011.

Related: What Did Ex-Trump Aide Paul Manafort Really Do in Ukraine?

Manafort had been consulting in Ukraine for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions at least as far back as 2005. The retroactive FARA filing does not account for any work in Ukraine prior to January 2012.

The disclosure states that Manafort's role as a foreign agent for the Party of Regions between 2012 and 2014 involved "implementing pro-democratic campaign activities, engaging in party building activities, developing a party platform and political agenda, and implementing election planning, election integrity, and international election monitoring programs."

It also describes how Manafort would communicate with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev to discuss developing events in Ukraine.

Related: Paul Manafort May Register As A Foreign Agent

William Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, told NBC News that Manafort's communication with the embassy during his tenure was regular. "Manafort would call the embassy and say, 'Can I tell you guys what I'm doing?'" Taylor recalled, "The way Paul Manafort worked, he had a couple people in Kiev to keep a finger on the pulse of Kiev politics, then he'd come to town, do his own reality check, come see us in the embassy, and obviously spend a lot of time with Yanukovych and the Party of Regions."

The filing shows that in 2012, Manafort's firm enlisted the help of a number of political strategists and pollsters, both Republican and Democratic.

Viktor Yanukovych on February 21, 2014.Getty Images, file

Hiring the American consultants that year cost Manafort's firm more than $667,000. Manafort's firm paid contractors more than $1.2 million in total between 2012 and 2014, according to the filing.

Related: Flynn, Manafort Are Key Figures in Probe Mueller Will Lead

In addition to the more than $17 million in payments, the firm reported expensing more than $2.6 million in travel, meals, and living expenses.

The filing lists one meeting with an elected U.S official, with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R.-Calif., in March 2013, and an email to former Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft in October 2012.

Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni did not respond to requests for comment. On Tuesday, he told the Washington Post that "Paul's primary focus was always directed at domestic Ukrainian political campaign work, and that is reflected in today's filing."

Maloni told NBC News in April that Manafort began talking to officials about the advisability of registering under FARA prior to the 2016 presidential election, and that he "received formal guidance recently from the authorities."

In March, former White House National Security Advisor Mike Flynn filed a disclosure saying he had worked for Turkish business interests in 2016. Flynn was a Trump campaign aide while engaging in lobbying that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey" according to the filing.