Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager who set up a lobbying shop a half block from the White House, said Thursday he is leaving the firm, Avenue Strategies, after it was reported that he had contracts with foreign clients, Bloomberg reported.
“The most important thing is my reputation, and I’ve worked really hard in the face of adversity to try to be successful,” Lewandowski told Bloomberg.
Earlier this week, a government-ethics watchdog group sent a letter to the Department of Justice seeking an investigation into whether Lewandowski had violated lobbying laws by failing to register as a lobbyist, Politico reported.
Lewandowski, a longtime political operative, is not registered as a lobbyist because, according to him, he is not required to do so. While Avenue Strategies has registered lobbyists, federal law does not require lobbying disclosures for domestic work that is purely about messaging or strategizing, which is all Lewandowski did, according to him.
“I have not engaged in any type of activities that would warrant or require an investigation,” he told Bloomberg for its story on his departure.
“I know I have a giant target on my back. People want to see me fail,” he said.
Lewandowski told Bloomberg that his partner, Barry Bennet, and other lobbyists in the firm were using his name without his consent and sought business with foreign clients that he did not approve. He said that he still had a "great relationship with these guys" but that he had to leave the firm to do what is best for him and "the people I am trying to help."
“No matter how much work we do it’s always going to be Lewandowski in the headline,” Bennett told Bloomberg.
Lewandowski denied ever asking for a favor from the president while he worked for Avenue Strategies.
“On the occasions I’ve had the opportunity to see him or speak to him, he’s asked me do I need anything and every time I’ve said, ‘No, I don’t,’” Lewandowski said. “I’m not in the business of asking the president for favors. That’s not my job or my role. I’m sure he has enough requests already for things and I don’t ask him for anything.”