Payments to Michael Cohen show how ‘shadow lobbying’ eludes US law

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Cohen has said he provided consultancy services rather than lobbying, and is not required by law to register as a lobbyist and disclose payments

The disclosure that Donald Trump’s legal fixer Michael Cohen was quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to advise corporations highlights the inability of US laws to prevent secretive “shadow lobbying”, analysts said.

Companies such as the telecoms giant AT&T and Novartis, a major pharmaceuticals firm, confirmed they paid Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, large sums last year in return for what they describe as guidance on navigating the new administration.

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