|“||I work directly for the boss. I listen to everybody, but I have one man whose voice is louder than everybody else's.||„|
|~ Manafort, referring to his role as chairman of Donald Trump's campaign.|
Paul John Manafort Jr. (born April 1, 1949) is an American political consultant, former lawyer, lobbyist, and convicted felon, who served as campaign staff for numerous Republican presidential candidates and presidents. He was a lobbyist from Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly.
Paul Manafort's career as a lobbyist was morally questionable. He has lobbied for various tyrannical leaders such as Mobutu Sese Seko, Siad Barre, Viktor Yanukovych, and Ferdinand Marcos. His clients have been mockingly nicknamed the "Torturers' Lobby".
Paul John Manafort Jr. was born on April 1, 1949, in New Britain, Connecticut. Manafort's parents are Antoinette Mary Manafort (née Cifalu; 1921–2003) and Paul John Manafort Sr. (1923–2013). His grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy in the early 20th century, settling in Connecticut. He founded the construction company New Britain House Wrecking Company in 1919 (later renamed Manafort Brothers Inc.). His father served in the U.S. Army combat engineers during World War II and was mayor of New Britain from 1965 to 1971. His father was indicted in a corruption scandal in 1981 but not convicted.
In 1967, Manafort graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a private Roman Catholic secondary school, closed in 1999, in New Britain. He attended Georgetown University, where he received his B.S. in business administration in 1971 and his J.D. in 1974.
Manafort represented Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi in 1985.
In 1976, Manafort was the delegate-hunt coordinator for eight states for the President Ford Committee; the overall Ford delegate operation was run by James A. Baker III. Between 1978 and 1980, Manafort was the southern coordinator for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, and the deputy political director at the Republican National Committee. After Reagan's election in November 1980, he was appointed Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. In 1981, he was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush in 1988 and Bob Dole in 1996.
He served as the chairman for Donald Trump's successful campaign for President of the United States in 2016, serving in the capacity from June to August 2016. He resigned when it was reported that members of Trump's family, particularly Jared Kushner who had originally been a strong backer of Manafort, had become uneasy about his Russian connections and suspected that he had not been forthright about them. Manafort stated in an internal staff memorandum that he would "remain the campaign chairman and chief strategist, providing the big-picture, long-range campaign vision". However, two days later, Trump announced his acceptance of Manafort's resignation from the campaign after Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway took on senior leadership roles within that campaign.
On October 30, 2017, Manafort and Rick Gates were arrested by the FBI. Manafort pled not guilty to charges of money laundering. In the DC District Court, he pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy and witness tampering, while agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. However, it was later declared that he was lying to investigators. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison. He was incarcerated at FCI Loretto in Pennsylvania before being released to serve his sentence at home. He was later pardoned by President Trump in December 2020.
- In the late 1980s, Manafort was criticized for using his connections at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure funding for a $43 million rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in Seabrook, New Jersey. Manafort's firm received a $326,000 fee for its work in getting HUD approval of the grant, largely through personal influence with Deborah Gore Dean, an executive assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce.
- On March 13, 2019, the same day on which he was sentenced in the Washington case, Manafort was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney on 16 charges related to mortgage fraud. District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the charges stemmed from an investigation launched in March 2017. Unlike his previous convictions, these were levied by the State of New York, and therefore a presidential pardon cannot override or affect the sentence in the event of conviction. NBC News reported in August 2017 that a state investigator was exploring jurisdiction to charge potential defendants in the Mueller probe with state crimes, and that such charges could provide an end run around any presidential pardons.
- At one point, Manafort served his sentence in the same prison that Jeffrey Epstein was held in prior to his death.
- Some people have joked about Paul Manafort “not knowing how to smile”.
- Many have speculated that Manafort lied to officials due to fear of him or his family being victims of Russian criminals associated with Vladimir Putin.
- His father, Paul Manafort Sr., was mayor of New Britain, Connecticut.
- Some journalists were impressed by his style and fashion.