On Sunday 29 September, a theme was going viral on social media that a Ukrainian-American arms merchant, Igor Pasternak, has held fundraising events for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Some other allegations about Pasternak – e.g., that he is closely tied to George Soros – don’t seem to have a paper trail that could be verified with online research. But the report that Pasternak has done fundraising for Schiff is documented.
Although the widely-cited 2013 fundraiser was in Washington, D.C., Igor Pasternak’s company headquarters is in Montebello, California, on the east side of Los Angeles. It’s near Schiff’s CA-28 congressional district, which lies to the north of it and encompasses major suburbs like Burbank and a chunk of Glendale. Pasternak started the company in Ukraine in 1992, but immigrated to the U.S. in 1994 and established his California-based company, Aeros/Worldwide Aeros Corporation, shortly thereafter.
Aeros makes lighter-than-air (LTA) airships via its Aeroscraft arm. That is its signature niche in the general aviation industry as well as its entrée to defense contracting. Aeros has had contracts with the U.S. Defense Department to develop surveillance airships and cargo-delivery airships. Pasternak, an engineer by training, has had a lifelong interest in what can be done with LTA vehicles.
The story about him as it stands right now is that he did little, if anything, in Ukraine in the 20 years between 1994 and 2014 (links below). Then, when the Maidan Revolution erupted in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014, he went back to Ukraine and started cultivating ties with the defense industry there. At that point, as is obvious from the document announcing the 2013 fundraiser, Pasternak was already giving aid and comfort to Adam Schiff.
Then, on 22 July 2019, Ukrainian media reported that the procurator for military investigations in the Ukrainian prosecutor-general’s office was probing the purchase by Ukraine of the Aeros border surveillance system. Adam Schiff’s sometime fundraiser found one of his two big projects in Ukraine under investigation for corruption: specifically, it appears, for an allegation that the system itself was not necessary for the procurement purpose; for an allegation that it had functionality problems; and for an allegation that the transaction involved embezzlement (although the latter charge doesn’t seem to be directed at Aeros).