It’s a complex story turned into a simple meme. We break down what’s true and what’s false.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will meet face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Ahead of the meeting, we saw several memes circulating online claiming that President Biden had accepted campaign donations from a Russian lobbyist.
This is a complex question that can be summarized in one sentence. Meme basically claims that President Biden took money from one of Russia’s top lobbyists before imposing sanctions on the controversial East European gas pipeline Nord Stream 2.
Did President Biden take money from a Russian lobbyist before lifting the sanctions on Nord Stream 2?
Parts of the meme are correct. Yes, a lobbyist associated with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline made a donation to President Biden’s campaign. No, the lobbyist does not represent Russia or a Russian company. There is no clear link between the October donation and the lifting of some of the pipeline sanctions.
What we found:
It’s tricky, so consider it gradually. Nord Stream 2 is a proposed gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. It will be owned by a Russian energy company: Gazprom.
But there are other companies as well. Five other European energy companies have teamed up to build it.
However, President Biden and some European leaders are calling for a halt in the completion of the pipeline, as it would weaken European energy security.
To the campaign the monetary part of the claim According to an analysis by the Campaign’s Legal Center, a lobbyist is involved.
A man named Richard Burt lobbies for the interests of these five European companies in Congress. He does not represent the Russian company Gazprom.
One of the lobbyists’ revelations describes his work as “advising on sanctions against Russia.”
This is where the bond with President Biden comes into play. In October 2020, Bert donated $ 4,000 to President Biden’s two campaign funds: the Biden Victory Fund and the Biden Presidential Fund, according to FEC documents.
In May, the Biden administration lifted some, but not all, sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to the State Department.
Importantly, there is no evidence that Burt’s $ 4,000 contribution directly influenced the Biden administration’s decision. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken continues to oppose the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project.
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