The presidential campaign has been over for almost a year, but leaders involved in the Democratic National Committee are presently in the hot seat. A report on Tuesday revealed that the party committee and the Clinton campaign helped fund research that resulted in uncovering what is now known as the “Trump Dossier.” This is a document that contains controversial accusations against President Trump.
The DNC responded, “Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in the decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization,” spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa said.
Brian Fallon, who served as a spokesperson for the Clinton Campaign has embraced the revelation and defended the efforts to fund the “opposition research.”
Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel, reporters for the New York Times both accused the leading Democrats of lying to the press for the better part of a year.
“Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,” Haberman tweeted. Vogel also noted, “When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer [Marc Elias] pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.'”
However, on Thursday the Federal Election Commission just filed a complaint against the DNC and the Clinton campaign (You can read the complaint here (Filed)). According to the Washington Examiner:
The complaint obtained by the Washington Examiner comes one day after the Washington Post reported that Marc Elias, a lawyer who represented both the Clinton campaign and the DNC, funded Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm responsible for the dossier, which possesses a great deal of unverified information tying President Trump to Russia.
“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at Campaign Legal Center, said in a press release. “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.”
Clinton’s campaign reportedly routed 37 payments to Fusion GPS through the law firm Perkins Coie, totaling over $5.5 million, and reported each as “legal services.” The DNC reported 345 payments to Perkins Coie during the election cycle and marked the payments as “legal and compliance consulting, administrative fees, and data services subscription” among others, according to the complaint.
“Payments by a campaign or party committee to an opposition research firm are legal, as long as those payments are accurately disclosed,” Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at Campaign Legal Center, said. “But describing payments for opposition research as ‘legal services’ is entirely misleading and subverts the reporting requirements.”
The refusal of the present DNC leadership to accept any culpability has forced all of the questions to be directed back to the old leadership: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Donna Brazile.
The initial research for the infamous dossier was reportedly funded initially by an unidentified Republican donor in April of 2016. Then the research was funded by the DNC while both Wasserman Schultz and Brazile were in leadership. The Democrats picked up the funding around the time that Trump secured the GOP nomination because the Republican donor lost interest. “When the Republican donor stopped paying for the research, Elias (Clinton’s lawyer), acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, agreed to pay for the work to continue.”
“The Democrats paid for research, including by Fusion GPS, because of concerns that little was known about Trump and his business interests, according to the people familiar with the matter,” the Post reported.
If the Clinton campaign or the DNC are found in violation of the Federal Election Commission rules they may have to pay fines.
Where do you think this investigation is headed? Watch the clip below and let us know what you think.
Credit: Washington Examiner