Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with individuals tied to Russia during the 2016 campaign, is running for Congress in California.
Papadopoulos filed paperwork Tuesday to run as a Republican in California’s 25th District following Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s resignation on Sunday amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers.
While Papadopoulos has not publicly issued a statement announcing his congressional bid, he had repeatedly teased a potential campaign in recent days on Twitter ahead of Tuesday’s Federal Election Commission filing.
“Announcement soon on my interest in Katie Hill’s soon to be vacant seat in the 25th district!” he tweeted Tuesday night. After Hill announced her resignation Sunday, Papadopoulos tweeted that he was “smelling blood in the water.”
“California’s 25th congressional district is wide open for the taking. Someone has to step up. I love my state too much to see it run down by candidates like Hill,” he said. “All talk, no action, and a bunch of sell outs.”
Hill resigned after the House Committee on Ethics announced it was opening an investigation into allegations she had engaged in an improper relationship with a congressional staffer in possible violation of House rules.
While Hill denied that any such relationship — allegedly involving Graham Kelly, who works as her legislative director — had taken place, she did admit to having had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before coming into office.
Papadopoulos’ FEC filing lists georgeforcongress.com as his campaign’s official website. While the URL showed a “forbidden” message at times on Tuesday night, a screenshot of the website’s homepage earlier Tuesday said the former Trump campaign adviser was running “to put California’s 25th District seat back in Republican hands.”
“Help fight back against Democrat corruption by joining George’s campaign today!” the website said.
News of Papadopoulos’ congressional bid comes just over two years after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI after he had dissembled about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government. One of his Kremlin-linked contacts told him early in 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to court filings.
A federal judge sentenced Papadopoulos to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. He had cooperated with the investigation and asked the judge for leniency, while prosecutors sought a six-month prison term. He was released in December 2018.
Papadopoulos had previously declared that he would run for Congress, tweeting in 2018, “It is true. I will be running for Congress in 2020, and I will win. Stay tuned.”