Here is the very thing the Democrats had to have feared would come out: They were engaged in criminal activity, but they’re not concerned, they are criminally minded in the first place.
The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) claiming that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign committee violated campaign finance law when they failed to disclose the purpose and recipient of payments for the infamous Trump dossier which claimed connections between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia.
While Democrats, including Clinton, came out calling for investigations into collusion between Trump and Russia over the dossier, their purposeful hiding of the payments from the public’s knowledge and scrutiny “undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” according to the complaint.
On October 24, The Washington Post revealed that the DNC and Hillary for America paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig into Trump’s Russia ties, but routed the money through the law firm Perkins Coie and described the purpose as “legal services” on their FEC reports rather than research. By law, campaign and party committees must disclose the reason money is spent and its recipient.
“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director, trial litigation and strategy at CLC, who previously served as the FEC’s Associate General Counsel for Policy. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”
“Questions about who paid for this dossier are the subject of intense public interest, and this is precisely the information that FEC reports are supposed to provide,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal and FEC reform at CLC. “Payments by a campaign or party committee to an opposition research firm are legal, as long as those payments are accurately disclosed. But describing payments for opposition research as ‘legal services’ is entirely misleading and subverts the reporting requirements.”
The complaint is below.
FEC records indicate that the Hillary campaign and the DNC paid a total of $12 million to Perkins Coie for “legal services.”
Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller has more on the money trail.
It was revealed on Tuesday that the Clinton campaign and DNC began paying Fusion GPS, the research firm that commissioned the dossier, last April to continue research it was conducting on Trump. The Washington Post reported that Fusion approached lawyers at Perkins Coie, the firm that represented the campaign and DNC, offering to sell its investigative services.
Marc Elias, a Perkins Coie partner, and the general counsel for the campaign and DNC, oversaw the operation, according to The Post.
It is not clear how much Democrats, through Perkins Coie, paid Fusion for the project, which lasted until early November. Federal Election Commission records show that the campaign and DNC paid the law firm $12 million during the election cycle.
After being hired, Fusion contracted in June with Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier. Steele revealed that detail in court papers filed in London, where the former British spy operates a private intelligence company.
It is unclear how much Steele was paid by Fusion, though according to a deeply reported Vanity Fair piece earlier this year, it is believed that his company was paid as much as $15,000 per month for the work, plus expenses.
How might the money from that tangled web end up in the hands of Russian operatives?
Steele reportedly paid intermediaries to obtain much of the information contained in the dossier. The former MI6 agent is believed to be persona non grata in Russia because of his spy activities there during the 1990s. But Steele maintains contacts on his old beat, and according to former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, the ex-spy paid intermediaries for dirt that ended up in the dossier.
Morell, a Hillary Clinton supporter, expressed concerns about that information exchange during an interview in March. During an interview in March, Morrel said that it was impossible to judge the information in the dossier without understanding who the sources were and how they obtained their information.
While Morell wondered how Steele had talked to the alleged sources, he later said, “I have subsequently learned that he used intermediaries.”
Morell also wondered about Steele’s own motivations.
“Then I asked myself, ‘why did these guys provide this information? What was their motivation?’”
“I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources, and the intermediaries got the money from Chris,” said Morell. “And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you’re paying somebody, particularly former FSB officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they’re going to call you up and say, ‘Hey, let’s have another meeting, I have more information for you,’ because they want to get paid some more.”
Morell went on to say that he believed it highly likely that some portion of the $12 million paid to Perkins Coie by the DNC and Hillary campaign made it’s way into the pockets of those “senior Kremlin officials” as compensation for the services.
In the dossier, Steele cites numerous anonymous sources, many of which work in the upper echelons of the Russian government.
The first two sources cited in the dossier’s first memo, dated June 20, 2016, are “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” and “a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.”
A third source is referred to as “a senior Russian financial official.” Other sources in the dossier are described as “a senior Kremlin official” and sources close to Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft and a close associate of Vladimir Putin’s.
Of course, we are going to hear a lot of “I don’t recall,” “I don’t know,” “I wasn’t aware of that” in the future coming from Mrs. Clinton and other DNC operatives as the investigation continues.
Furthermore, let’s keep in mind that in the mind of this administration, the Clintons are just “good people,” right?