An FBI raid of a harmless-sounding company blossomed into a full-fledged trail of swampy tracks that led directly back to the Trump administration. This week the FBI descended upon Strategic Campaign Group, a Republican campaign consulting group in Annapolis, Maryland, and then the surprises began.
The president of Strategic Campaign Group Kelley Roger told the Baltimore Sun that six FBI agents arrived at his company at about 8:30 a.m. carrying a warrant to search and seize records. They left about 4:30 p.m. carrying documents and a computer.
Strategic Campaign Group’s senior adviser Dennis Whitfield was political director at BKSH and Associates, which provided strategic government relations counseling. Paul Manafort and Roger Stone formed Strategic Campaign Group in 1996 according to Bloomberg, but left before Whitfield came on board.
Strategic Campaign Group and another company named Cambridge Analytica, which is a small data analytics organization are linked. Owner Robert Mercer supported Donald Trump.The Guardian reported that the president’s Chief White House Analyst, Steve Bannon sat on Cambridge Analytica’s board of directors and took over Breitbart with an investment of $10 million from Mercer.
The two men further linked their media empire when Bannon co-founded Government Accountability Institute with Mercer’s daughter. The company weaponized political narratives found through dark internet trawling.
According to PBS, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross represented bond holders [debt holders] in Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino in New Jersey. He could have foreclosed on the casino. Instead, he found a way to tighten the casino’s budget, lower Trump’s debt, and ended up:
‘Avoiding a total collapse of his [Trump’s] real estate empire.’
Strategic Campaign Group and Donald Trump’s New Jersey casino Taj Mahal are also linked. The director of the political organization Kelley Rogers also worked for Penn National Gaming, a regional and major market gaming management firm.
In addition, Thomas Burke joined Penn National Gaming where he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Regional Operations in 2008, according to a Penn National Gaming press release. Before that, he held senior management positions at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Castle.
The Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly started looking into money laundering penalties levied against the Taj Mahal. In 2015, the Treasury Department hit the casino for money laundering.