Patten pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a federal law governing foreign lobbying, in federal court in D.C. on Friday.
Manafort was recently convicted on eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report foreign bank accounts.
Samuel Patten is accused of acting "as an agent of a foreign principal, to wit, the Opposition Bloc (a Ukrainian political party) and its members, without registering" as a foreign lobbyist, according to court documents filed Friday. In addition to inserting op-ed articles into USA media organizations, Patten and his company set up meetings with his foreign clients and US government officials, including senators on the Foreign Relations Committee, representatives on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and officials from the State Department.
The lobbyist, Sam Patten, 47, admitted that he failed to register in the U.S.as a foreign agent for his work lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian political party.
The complaint says that Patten worked with a person identified only as Foreigner A as part of the lobbying and political consulting business.
The charge, which carries a maximum of five years in prison, was brought by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department's National Security Division, which started investigating Patten after a referral from Mueller.
The case against Patten was referred to the United States attorney's office in DC by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose team has been investigating potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign. The businessman is not named and referred to only as "Foreigner B".
To avoid rules banning the foreign donations, Patten redirected the funds through a straw donor.
He also worked with an unnamed Russian to place op-ed articles in U.S. media in 2017, the Justice Department says.
In court, Patten conveyed the air of a solemn man aware of what he had done. Beginning in about 2015, the company received about $1 million for its work advising the Opposition Bloc and members of that party, including a prominent Ukraine oligarch, identified only as "Foreigner B".
Patten's work continued through Donald Trump's surprise election win. Legal experts told Business Insider that the decision to charge Patten with a criminal information indicates that he will likely cooperate with prosecutors.
Patten then worked to find an American citizen to purchase the tickets for $50,000 in total, as a way to circumvent USA law, which widely prohibits foreigners from contributing to political activities.
The work involved setting up meetings in January 2015 with officials in the executive branch and members of Congress, to influence USA policy. It is being handled by the USA attorney in DC and the DOJ National Security Division. He added no new details when describing Patten's criminal offense, though he added the words a few times that Patten "was working as a foreign agent of the opposition bloc".