Before federal prosecutors accused him of illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. elections, businessman Lev Parnas was posting photos on his private Instagram account showing him hobnobbing with various members of the Trump family, Rudy Giuliani, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Earlier this month, Parnas and Igor Fruman, both Giuliani associates, were arrested and charged with campaign finance violations and conspiracy to influence U.S. politics on behalf of a Ukrainian government official. The Wall Street Journal's Shelby Holliday found Parnas' Instagram account, carefully curated to show Parnas hanging out with powerful Republicans. In one picture, he's seen with his son and President Trump, who is giving a thumbs-up sign, and in another, he's on a private plane with Giuliani. Parnas also made a slideshow featuring photos with Trump and his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr.
Holliday reports that Parnas zigzagged across the country ahead of the 2018 midterm elections to support GOP politicians, posting photos along the way, and on the day after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Parnas uploaded a picture showing him at dinner with Trump's legal team. The caption read: "Congratulations team [T]rump!!! Job well done!!! Even during our celebration dinner everybody hard at work!!! #trump2020." Trump said of Parnas and Fruman, "I don't know them, I don't know about them, I don't know what they do."
Parnas was also photographed at events with DeSantis in the days leading up to the November election, Politico reported Monday. He is seen next to DeSantis at a Nov. 4 campaign rally in South Daytona and a later event in Boca Raton. Last week, DeSantis — whose campaign received $50,000 from a company created by Parnas and Fruman — said Parnas was at "a lot of" Republican events but "was like any other donor, nothing more than that." The DeSantis donation has been turned over to the U.S. Treasury.