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Richard Grenell, President Trump’s newly installed Director of National Intelligence, knowingly directed public relations services to U.S. media on behalf of a project funded by Hungary’s far-right government, an investigation by Responsible Statecraft found. 

Grenell’s appointment as acting Director of National Intelligence was met with widespread disbelief and criticism when it was announced last week. 

“Mr. Grenell, who currently serves as ambassador to Germany, is manifestly unqualified for the job, even in an acting capacity,” the Washington Post editorial board said. “He has no experience in intelligence or in managing large organizations -- like the 17 agencies that will now report to him.”

According to the Justice Department, activities requiring registration as an “agent” to a “foreign principal, includes engaging in “acts within the United States as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, information-service employee, or political consultant for or in the interests of such foreign principal.”

Grenell’s attorney Craig Engle said that Grenell “knew that the Hungarian government was the sponsor” of work he undertook, but claimed that Grenell’s activities did not require him to file under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

Grenell founded Capitol Media Partners (CMP), a public relations firm in 2009, which was contracted by the Magyar Foundation of North America, which describes itself as an organization  “promoting Magyar heritage, history, and pride through educational, social, and cultural programs.”

Magyar is funded by Hungary’s right-wing nationalist government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

In a grant report, the Magyar Foundation promoted its influence with U.S. politicians and policymakers saying it “boasts over 175 years of experience and long-standing established professional relationships with American opinion leaders, academics, elected and government officials, and the media.”

“The Foundation hired Capitol Media Partners, an international communication and public affairs firm to liaison to the foreign press to promote our events in Washington, D.C.,” Magyar reported. 

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