Former Trump campaign adviser Tom Barrack was arrested today and charged with acting as a foreign agent of the United Arab Emirates between 2016 and 2018. According to an indictment unsealed this afternoon in a federal court in Brooklyn, Barrack, while serving as a foreign policy adviser to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, inserted pro-UAE language into a campaign speech, and took direction from UAE officials about what to say in media appearances and in a 2016 op-ed he wrote. In addition to foreign lobbying charges, Barrack has also been charged with obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators.
— He also allegedly agreed to promote a candidate backed by the UAE for the post of ambassador to the gulf nation while providing “non-public information about the views and reactions of senior U.S. government officials following a White House meeting between senior U.S. officials and senior UAE officials” to Rashid Alshahhi, a UAE citizen who was also charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Matthew Grimes, an aide to Barrack at his investment firm Colony Capital, has also been charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent, according to the indictment. According to a press release from the Justice Department, both Barrack and Grimes were arrested in Los Angeles this morning and were to be arraigned this afternoon.
While the pandemic didn’t completely prompt the rebranding, it did accelerate many of the conditions that led to it, Tom McGee, ICSC’s president told PI. From the use of digital tagging to the proliferation of technology like apps for curbside pickup and online ordering, “all of those things really had a profound impact on the industry and we’re starting to see a lot of changes in our membership as a result of that,” McGee said in an interview.
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— As a result, the group is broadening its membership to include technology and logistics companies, while more mixed-use developments are causing “whole new tenant classes” to emerge. “We’ve moved towards presenting ourselves as an organization that represents the marketplaces and spaces industry where people shop, dine, work, play and gather, which is much more reflective of the composition of our membership and property types that are our organization,” McGee added.
— The ICSC will also broaden its advocacy efforts to reflect its new brand. “I think that sometimes the phraseology shopping center got misinterpreted to be very singularly focused,” McGee said. The group, which shelled out $2.5 million on lobbying last year, according to OpenSecrets.org, will also lobby on issues relating to small business and economic development. That includes, McGee said, trying to prevent the elimination of several tax provisions Democrats are taking aim at in infrastructure talks. The ICSC is also pushing for more relief programs to help “micro small businesses” such as nail salons, dry cleaners and fitness centers that have not had as much access to programs like PPP. Targeted grant funds like those set up for restaurants and live entertainment venues “were good programs but there’s still a lot of pain in the small business community,” he said.
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