A top aide to President Barack Obama pulled in $100,000 from a company affiliated with Iran, the Washington Post reports. The sum was paid to David Plouffe in 2010 for speeches in Nigeria.
"A subsidiary of MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company, paid Plouffe for two speeches he made in Nigeria in December 2010, about a month before he joined the White House staff," the Washington Post reports.
"Since Plouffe’s speeches, MTN Group has come under intensified scrutiny from U.S. authorities because of its activities in Iran and Syria, which are under international sanctions intended to limit the countries’ access to sensitive technology. At the time of Plouffe’s speeches, MTN had been in a widely reported partnership for five years with a state-owned Iranian telecommunications firm."
Since Plouffe’s speeches, the U.S. government has become increasingly concerned that the Iranian government has used MTN operations or technology to help monitor dissidents. Company representatives and South Africa’s ambassador to the United States have met with senior executive branch officials in efforts to stress the firm’s compliance with U.S. sanctions, according to U.S. officials familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no decisions have been reached.
...Plouffe’s role in the 2008 Obama campaign made him a sought-after speaker for political insiders and corporate conferences around the world. In 2009 and 2010, he delivered dozens of paid speeches and signed a book deal reportedly worth seven figures...The $100,000 that Plouffe received for his speeches in Nigeria was the highest payment he reported on his financial disclosure forms, which he filed when he joined the administration in 2011.