Ron Dellums lobbied for the repeal of the
Magnitsky Act, a federal law mentioned
in the growing Russian collusion scandal.

Ron Dellums represented the East Bay in Congress for 13 terms. He later served as mayor of Oakland. Those years in government, apparentely, did little to pad his bank accounts. Dellums, it was reported in 2009, owed the government $293,000 in back taxes.

As Robert Gammon noted in the East Bay Express at the time, the debt threatened Dellums’ re-election as Oakland mayor and may entice him to return to his lucrative government-lobbying job. That’s exactly the road Dellums took.

But now, his lobbying work has oddly brought his name into the Russian collusion scandal currently barrelling toward President Donald Trump and his family.

Dellums has ties to Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, one of the central figures in the release of emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Trump associates that indicate coordination between the Russian government and Trump’s presidential campaign, according to several reports.

The Hill reported Wednesday that California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said in an interview that Dellums had lobbied him last June, just days after the now infamous meeting with Veselnitskaya and Trump, Jr.

The subject of the conversation involved the Magnitsky Act, a federal law that froze the assets of Russian nationals tied to organized crime in connection with an alleged $230 million mob scheme undercovered by a tax attorney named Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky was later murdered. Veselnitskaya has long sought to repeal the act.

The Daily Caller also reported a complaint, dated July 15, 2016, from Magnitsky’s former employers, Hermitage Capital Management, with the Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act. In it they alleged Dellums and other lobbyists working for Veselnitskaya had violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 for failing to disclose their lobbying activities.

According to the complaint, Dellums’ role was to lobby Rohrabacher to remove “Magnitsky” from the title of proposed legislation being discussed in a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. The Daily Beast chronicled the meeting and Dellums’ involvement in May 2016.

“According to a U.S. congressional staffer, former California Rep. Ron Dellums and someone named Rinat Akhmetshin showed up Tuesday without an appointment. ‘They said they were lobbying on behalf of a Russian company called Prevezon and asked us to delay the Global Magnitsky Act or at least remove Magnitsky from the name,’ the staffer said. ‘Mr. Dellums said it was a shame that this bill has made it so Russian orphans cannot be adopted by Americans.’”

Dellums has not commented on the subject, but it’s a strange turn of events for one the East Bay’s most decorated members of Congress.