The office of special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the FBI to look into whether Jack Burkman — a right-wing lobbyist who hosts a weekly show on Newsmax TV — offered to pay women to come forward with “false claims” of sexual or workplace misconduct Mueller, the office’s spokesman said Tuesday.
Burkman, a lobbyist and GOP operative who has been associated with various conspiracy theories over the years, offered an unnamed woman $20,000 to accuse Mueller of wrongdoing, according to The Atlantic.
Mueller’s office became aware of the plan after several journalists solicited by the woman brought it to their attention, Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, told TheWrap.
“When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” Carr said in a statement.
The FBI declined to comment. Reps for Burkman at his lobbying firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Tuesday, Burkman teased that a “client” would come forward on Thursday as “the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.” He offered no further details about the individual or the possible accusations.
Some sad news. On Thursday, November 1, at the Rosslyn
Holiday Inn at noon, we will reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert
Mueller's sex assault victims. I applaud the courage and dignity and
grace and strength of my client. pic.twitter.com/wZVQeHD45r
— Jack Burkman (@Jack_Burkman) October 30, 2018
Burkman has made a reputation as a gadfly with high-profile appeals to whistleblowers. In February, The Washington Times reported that he floated a $25,000 bounty for concrete evidence of FBI wrongdoing in Mueller’s investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He previously gained notoriety for offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who could bring information leading to a conviction in the unsolved 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
After initially embracing his help, the Rich family distanced themselves from Burkman after the lobbyist began insisting their son was killed by Russian agents, without any corroboration.
“I was approached by a guy who styles himself as a former U.S. intel officer,” Burkman told local media last year. “I quizzed him. I think he’s credible — you never know the motive of people. But what he said is basically this — that Seth discovered that the Russians had been hacking and therefore the Russian government did away with Seth.”
Though he identifies himself as a Newsmax host on his Twitter account and is listed as the host of the weekly “Behind the Curtain” show on its website on Tuesday, Newsmax chief Chris Ruddy told TheWrap that Burkman had no affiliation with his network.
“Mr. Burkman is not a Newsmax host and as far as we know he does not claim to be,” Ruddy said. “He does have a radio show that airs as paid programming on Newsmax. We are reviewing whether he will continue as an advertiser.”
Burkman’s classification as a Newsmax host was removed after the company received an inquiry from TheWrap. A person familiar with the matter said he had been placed among the network’s stable of paid hosts by mistake.
You can watch episodes of Burkman’s radio show “Behind the Curtain” on Newsmax here.