Alexandra Chalupa is a former Democratic National Committee contractor and staffer who calls herself a “human rights hobbyist” and runs a Washington D.C. political consulting firm. Chalupa is Ukrainian-American. Her investigations, focusing on former Donald Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential election, have provoked controversy.
“Chalupa’s actions appear to show that she was simultaneously working on behalf of a foreign government, Ukraine, and on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in an effort to influence not only the U.S voting population but U.S. government officials,” Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, alleged in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in 2017. Chalupa has denied that she was working for DNC officials in Ukraine during the 2016 election.
“During the 2016 US election, I was a part time consultant for the DNC running an ethnic engagement program,” Chalupa told CNN. “I was not an opposition researcher for the DNC, and the DNC never asked me to go to the Ukrainian Embassy to collect information.” Her LinkedIn page defines Chalupa as a “Political & Communications Consultant.”
How one sees Alexandra Chalupa and her efforts can break down along partisan lines. The liberal Daily Kos blog presents Chalupa’s efforts differently, writing, “Alexandra Chalupa is the Ukrainian-American former DNC staffer who tried to alert the nation of the danger that was Paul Manafort before the 2016 election and was subsequently smeared by Republicans for her efforts.”
In 2015, she attended an event at which “representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations met with Obama Administration officials…delivering a letter to the President calling for the U.S. government to play a greater role in delivering aid to the millions in Ukraine in dire need of humanitarian assistance as the season’s freezing temperatures set in,” according to a statement from the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.
In a podcast with her sister, Alexandra accused Paul Manafort of playing “the strongest role in this political warfare against our country,” referring to actions by the “Russian Federation.” CNN calls her a “Democratic consultant for over a decade.” Manafort was later convicted of tax and bank fraud charges. He is serving a prison sentence of more than 7 years.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Pro-Trump Committee Filed a Federal Election Commission Complaint Involving Chalupa, Who Is a Former DNC Contractor & Ethnic Coordinating Council Member Who Once Worked for John Kerry
Chalupa’s LinkedIn page says she is founder and has been president of Chalupa & Associates, LLC., since 2013. It’s located in Washington D.C. She has worked as “co-convenor” of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council, a position she held since 2013. She wrote that she was “responsible for reaching out to diaspora groups and organizations around the country to increase voter turnout and message around issues like immigration reform.”
In 2012, she was campaign manager for Adam Cook for Congress. From 2006 to 2011, she was director of Office of Party Leaders for the DNC. She was executive director of Democrats Abroad, and, in 2003, for one year, she was online constituency outreach director for John Kerry’s presidential campaign.
In September 2019, the pro Trump Committee to Defend the President filed a Federal Election Commission Complaint against the Democratic National Committee that names Alexandra Chalupa.
According to Fox News, the complaint alleges that Chalupa acted “improperly to gather information on Paul Manafort and Donald Trump in the 2016 election.” Fox reports that Chalupa was a DNC contractor during that election.
NBC News reports, though, that the DNC and Chalupa claim the work “wasn’t for the DNC, and that she was paid for other work.”
The complaint alleges that the DNC “tasked Chalupa with obtaining incriminating or derogatory information about Donald Trump … [and] Paul Manfort,” Fox News reported, alleging that Chalupa “pushed for Ukrainian officials to publicly mention Manafort’s financial and political ties to” Ukraine and “sought to have the Ukrainian government provide her information about Manafort’s work in the country.”
A spokeswoman for the DNC pushed back on the complaint, telling Fox News, “The White House has been pushing this narrative to distract from Donald Trump’s gross abuse of power in pressuring a foreign country to interfere in our elections. No one is buying it.”
Chalupa’s emails appeared in the WikiLeaks document dump against the DNC. One, in the name Ali Chalupa, as she is also known, stated she was “digging into Manafort.”
“A lot more coming down the pipe,” the email to then DNC Comms Director Luis Miranda states. “I spoke to a delegation of 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine last Wednesday at the Library of Congress – the Open World Society’s forum – they put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort and I invited Michael Isikoff whom I’ve been working with for the past few weeks and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in next few weeks and something I’m working on you should be aware of.”
John Solomon, an opinion writer for The Hill, wrote, “Ambassador Valeriy Chaly’s office says DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from the Ukrainian government on Paul Manafort’s dealings inside the country in hopes of forcing the issue before Congress.” He also claimed that, according to the ambassador, “Chalupa later tried to arrange for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to comment on Manafort’s Russian ties on a U.S. visit during the 2016 campaign.”
Chalupa posted a lengthy rebuttal to some of the reporting on the Ukraine situation on Facebook. Here it is in full:
In the Facebook post, she stated that it was false to assert that “during the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution I was working for a client to help Ukraine.” Rather, she wrote, “I have done a lot of work to help Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans over the years, but always as a volunteer. ”
She told CNN that DNC officials did not ask her to “go to the Ukrainian Embassy to collect information.”
According to Politifact, “There’s no evidence that the DNC was working directly with Ukraine’s government.” The site also reports that Chalupa has stated she “had taken it upon herself to research Manafort’s connections to Yanukovych, the ousted former Ukrainian president” and Trump’s “ties to Russia.”
2. Chalupa, a Married Mother of 3, Calls Herself a ‘Human Rights Hobbyist’ & Is a Graduate of California Universities
On Twitter, Chalupa refers to herself as a “Human rights hobbyist, political strategist, connector, mom of 3 strong girls. Lives in D.C., from California. On Putin & Trump’s bad list. #WeMovement #TeamUSA.”
She wrote in 2018, “Those who stand up and shine light on darkness, encounter dark forces that use tactics to smear, gaslight, and intimidate in an attempt to dim the light. It doesn’t work. The light only grows brighter.”
On Facebook, Chalupa wrote that she “studied Voting Rights and International Law at UC Davis School of Law” and “Studied Peace & Conflict Studies at UC Berkeley.”
She is from Davis, California and is married to Jeff Roof. She went to Davis Senior High School and lives in Washington D.C. On Facebook, her husband states that he is the “Project Director at CRB Consulting Engineers, INC.” and is from Salisbury, North Carolina.
At UC Davis, Chalupa was involved in Alpha Phi Omega, and was senior editor of the Journal of International Law and Policy. She was founder of King Hall Students for Gore-Lieberman. She studied “voting rights, international law, criminal law, and negotiations.”
At Berkeley, she was in the Honor Students Society, the Cal Crew Team, Alpha Phi, and was a Cal in the Capital Scholar. She was an intern at the White House, for the California governor, and for Congressman Vic Fazio.
In her Facebook post, Chalupa wrote that “while I was born in California, my grandparents come from Ukraine. My maternal grandparents come from eastern Ukraine where Putin’s Russian-backed separatists continue to cause massive destruction. My grandfather Olexij Keis and my uncle Vitalij Keis both suffered injustice under Stalin. Uncle Vitalij, who immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager was so grateful to this country, that he joined the U.S. Army when he turned 18 years old.”
3. Chalupa’s Ukrainian Grandfather Was Persecuted by Stalin & She Claims Strange Women Appeared Outside Her House After She Started Looking Into Manafort & Trump
In a transcript of the podcast Gaslit Nation, co-host Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra’s sister, defined herself as a “writer and the screenwriter and producer of the upcoming journalistic thriller, Mr. Jones.” She described her “sister Alexandra Chalupa, the former DNC contractor who blew the whistle on Russia’s attack on our 2016 election.”
The transcript states that Russian hackers of the DNC zeroed in on “opposition research into Donald Trump who was not yet the Republican nominee” and that was “put together by our special guest today (Alexandra Chalupa).”
It alleges Alexandra faced “aggressive and ongoing harassment, including at her home” including being targeted by Rudy Giuliani and “far-right attack dogs for Donald Trump and his family.”
Alexandra stated on the show that her grandparents came from Ukraine and, on her mother’s side, they lived through a famine. Her grandfather “became a target of Stalin’s purges and was imprisoned and tortured for 2 years and declared an enemy of the state.” She added, “It’s all feeling very familiar these days. Now it’s happening here.”
She discussed how she started focusing on Paul Manafort, saying, “I was like, ‘Who is this jerk who’s going in our grandparents’ homeland and working for Moscow’s interest?’ Like, who is this guy? Then I started seeing him from the political strategy perspective, and I said, ‘Who is this guy that is able to get away with this and is running this entire operation and going unchecked?’”
She said she was working as a part-time consultant for the DNC in 2015, “running the Ethnic Engagement program as I was transitioning back into the workforce.” Andrea described her sister as shuttling her three kids “around in a minivan while working part-time for the DNC, because you’ve been at DNC forever and the DNC didn’t want to let you go, because you work tirelessly.”
Alexandra defined herself as “the senior advisor at the DNC to, I was one of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s, one of her senior advisors who she brought in. She was my vice chair at the DNC. I was a director to the office of the vice chairs, and I was on the senior leadership team, but I burned out.”
She said she was one of the DNC’s first hires when it was run by Howard Dean and was “Executive Director of Democrats abroad.”
She left when Obama won the White House because she “needed family balance.” She ran a Congressional campaign for a law school friend.
After Manafort “gets on my radar,” Alexandra was working on efforts “to combat Russian propaganda” and “address the human rights crisis” in Ukraine. She worked with Vice President Joe Biden’s team, “setting up conference calls with his staff with ethnic leaders so that they can get a first-hand briefing of what the developments in Ukraine were, what the White House was doing to support, what Congress was doing to support.” She said it was “done in a non-partisan way” while she was keeping her “eye on Manafort.”
In one unusual exchange, the transcript says,
Alexandra: “[Inaudible] are already in the campaign system. And the DNC asked me to do a hit on Trump when he did a Ukraine speech in September 2015.”
Andrea Chalupa responded, “You have to clarify. People think you’re like the Illuminati, Ali. You can’t just say the DNC asked me to do a hit. What does that mean?”
Alexanda responded, “Not a hit, sorry. September 2015, Trump was invited, this is part of Mueller’s investigation, to speak via livestream. He got paid $150,000 his foundation, to speak at a conference in Yalta. And so he did the livestream, and the DNC asked me as the ethnic engagement director and also in the official position I had in ethnic engagement, was asked to do a statement to react to his messaging at that event. I went public and criticized him for some of the things that he was saying.”
Andrea labeled Alexandra as being like “Moby Dick with his white whale” and said she “went to Manafort’s hometown and started digging around there.”
Alexandra said she “quit the DNC the morning that WikiLeaks dropped the emails.”
Andrea claimed that, in 2016, a few days before the convention, she pulled out her phone and put on iTunes and a “death metal song” she didn’t buy, of a European band called Avatar, played a song called Regret, about “a woman owl, a female owl, her final moments of regret, as she lays dying after losing a battle with the Mighty Eagle, the eagle being the symbol of Russia.” Alexandra said this happened to her also.
Alexandra also stated that a “woman was in my backyard at one in the morning, with white flowers in her hair, like a Ukrainian headpiece, and I was with a friend of mine and she’s just appeared out of nowhere, and she tried to break into my house.” In another instance, she said, “another young woman appeared and lured my cat off the lawn and started taking photos, and was taking photos of walking backwards with this cat.”
4. Chalupa’s Twitter Page Is a String of Anti-Trump Tweets (She Calls Him a ‘Fake President’ & ‘Putin Puppet’) & She Writes a Lot About the Impeachment Probe
Chalupa wrote on Twitter: “Team Putin-Trump made a big mistake with a conspiracy hit to out the whistleblower. It attacked Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi, Catholic Patriarch, & Orthodox Patriarch. They are the spiritual leaders of Ukraine and its global diaspora and powerful uniters. Prayers for the GOP. ?”
She also wrote, “All roads may lead back to Putin but quite a few of them seem to first run through Devin Nunes. Looks like Rudy Giuliani had a lot of support from a top Nunes former trusted advisor planted inside the White House who got caught playing ‘Ukraine expert.’”
She strongly criticized those who have criticized Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified about his concerns regarding Trump’s handling of Ukraine in the wake of a whistleblower’s complaint. “Republicans who have spent the past three years covering-up for Putin’s hybrid warfare against the U.S. are now attacking an American decorated Army Officer who has devoted his life to protecting U.S. national security,” Chalupa wrote on her Twitter page. “These Republicans are traitors.”
Chalupa also wrote: “A stadium full of red hats & chants of ‘lock him up’ directed at special guest Donald Trump. Locals in our nation’s capital don’t appreciate him branding our home a ‘swamp’ or anything else the Putin Puppet does to hurt our country; the list is long. #FakePresident.”
On Facebook, she wrote, “The Putin backed and beholden President of the United States who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes and who won the Electoral College due to three states where his Putin-linked campaign manager Paul Manafort provided Russians with internal data and polling information for, reacted badly to this morning’s press conference focused on the House impeachment inquiry, which was led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff….”
She also wrote, “You never know who will show up at the #KremlinAnnex, especially on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s birthday. A little birdie told me Trump and his criminal associates are in a lot of trouble as Mueller’s team continues to follow the money and the tweets.”
In 2017, she wrote, “Congresswoman Maxine Waters who is one of the strongest voices on Russia. We had a great meeting tonight. She’s fearless.” Her Facebook page is full of photos of anti Trump protests.
5. Republican Senators Raised FARA Concerns About Chalupa’s Work
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in 2017 “raising concerns over yet another instance of deficient enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as it relates to the 2016 presidential election.” The letter focuses on Chalupa.
“At the center of this plan was Alexandra Chalupa, described by reports as a Ukrainian-American operative ‘who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee’ and reportedly met with Ukrainian officials during the presidential election for the express purpose of exposing alleged ties between then-candidate Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, and Russia,” Grassley wrote Rosenstein.
“Reporting indicates that the Democratic National Committee encouraged Chalupa to interface with Ukrainian embassy staff to ‘arrange an interview in which Poroshenko [the president of Ukraine] might discuss Manafort’s ties to Yanukovych,'” the letter continues.
“Chalupa also met with Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., and Oksana Shulyar, a top aid to the Ukrainian ambassador in March 2016 and shared her alleged concerns about Manafort. Reports state that the purpose of their initial meeting was to ‘organize a June reception at the embassy to promote Ukraine.’ However, another Ukrainian embassy official, Andrii Telizhenko, told Politico that Shulyar instructed him to assist Chalupa with research to connect Trump, Manafort, and the Russians. He reportedly said, ‘[t]hey were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa” and that “Oksana [Shulyar] was keeping it all quiet…the embassy worked very closely with” Chalupa.'” You can read the full Grassley letter here.