Watchdog Group: DNC & Clinton Campaign Broke The Law With Dossier Payments

THIS WEEK, IT WAS REVEALED FUSION GPS WAS HIRED BY THE DNC AND THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN THROUGH A LAW FIRM

Fusion GPS Was Retained By The Democratic National Committee And Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

According To The Washington Post, The DNC And The Hillary Clinton Campaign Helped Fund Fusion GPS’ Research That Resulted In The Infamous Dossier. “The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.” (Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid For Research That Led To Russia Dossier,” The Washington Post , 10/24/17)

The Law Firm Perkins Coie Retained Fusion GPS On Behalf Of The Clinton Campaign And The Democratic National Committee In April 2016. “Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC.” (Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid For Research That Led To Russia Dossier,” The Washington Post , 10/24/17)

  • According To Congressional Testimony, Fusion GPS Has Previously Worked On Behalf Of The Russian Government. SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): “Do you believe that Fusion GPS should have registered under the FARA Act because they were acting on behalf of the Russians.” WILLIAM BROWDER: “That’s correct.” GRAHAM: “I just want to absorb that for a moment. The group that did the dossier on President Trump, hired this British spy wound up getting it to the FBI, you believe they were working for the Russians.” BROWDER: “In the spring and summer of 2016, they were receiving money indirectly from a senior Russian government official.” (Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 7/27/17)

THE DNC AND THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN’S ARRANGEMENT WITH FUSION GPS MAY HAVE VIOLATED CAMPAIGN FINANCE REGULATIONS

Political Committees Must Accurately Report Expenditures Over Two Hundred Dollars To The Federal Election Commission

Federal Regulations Require Political Committees To Report “The Date, Amount And Purpose” Of Expenditures “In Excess Of $200 Within The Calendar Year Or During An Election Cycle In The Case Of An Authorized Committee.” “Political committees shall report the full name and mailing address of each person to whom an expenditure in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $200 within the calendar year (or within the election cycle, in the case of an authorized committee) is made from the reporting political committee’s federal account(s), together with the date, amount and purpose of such expenditure, in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section. As used in this section, purpose means a brief statement or description as to the reasons for the expenditure.” ( 52 U.S.C. § 30104(b)(5)(A) , 11 CFR § 104.9(a) , Accessed 10/26/17))

In The Context Of A Political Committee, The Term “Purpose” Means A “Brief Statement Or Description Of Why The Disbursement Was Made.” “(A) As used in 11 CFR 104.3(b)(3), purpose means a brief statement or description of why the disbursement was made.” (11 CFR § 104.3(b)(3)(i)(A) , Accessed 10/26/17)

The FEC States That The Purpose Must Be “Brief But Specific.” “The purpose is a brief but specific description of why the disbursement was made, such as ‘dinner expense’ or ‘postage.’” (“Purposes Of Disbursement,” Federal Election Commission , Accessed 10/25/17)

Further, The “Purpose” Of Payments Must Be A “Detailed Description.” “The Committee must report all funds disbursed for legal fees and expenses as operating expenditures, noting the payee’s full name, address, and a detailed description of the purpose of the payment.” (Advisory Opinion 2008-07, Federal Election Commission , 9/9/08)

Whether A “Purpose” Is Adequate For Specificity Purposes Is Measured By “Whether A Person Who Is Not Associated With The Committee Could Easily Discern Why The Disbursement Was Made By Reading The Name Of The Recipient And The Purpose.” “As a general rule, consider whether a person who is not associated with the committee could easily discern why the disbursement was made by reading the name of the recipient and the purpose.” (“Purposes Of Disbursement,” Federal Election Commission , Accessed 10/25/17)

A New Complaint Filed With The Federal Election Commission Argues That The Clinton Campaign And The DNC Violated Campaign Finance Regulations

The Campaign Legal Center Filed A Complaint On October 25, 2017, With The Federal Election Commission Accusing The DNC And The Clinton Campaign Of Violating Campaign Finance Law By Failing To Accurately Disclose Money Spent On The Dossier. “The Campaign Legal Center filed the complaint Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, accusing the DNC and Clinton’s campaign committee of breaking campaign finance law by failing to accurately disclose the money spent on the Trump-Russia dossier.” (Alex Pappas, “Fusion GPS Scandal: Clinton, DNC Broke Campaign Finance Law With Dossier Funding, Complaint Says,”Fox News , 10/25/17)

  • The Campaign Legal Center Is A Nonpartisan Organization. “Danielle Lang, senior legal counsel at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which focuses on election law, said she was not surprised by the complaints from within the commission.” (Kurtis Lee, “Democrats On Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission Urge Leaders To Be More Transparent,” Los Angeles Times , 10/25/17)

According To The Hill, The Clinton Campaign And The DNC Disclosed Paying Perkins Coie For Legal Services, But None For Opposition Research. “The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign funded some of the research by the firm Fusion GPS, but routed the monies through a law firm. Their campaign reports listed no payments to Fusion GPS and the expenses attributed to the law firm Perkins Coie are described as legal work, not opposition research, the paper noted.” (Alexandra Oliveira and Alison Spann, “Clinton, DNC Connections To Trump Dossier Funding Could Create Election Law Issues,” The Hill , 10/22/17)

According To Jan Baran, An Election Law Expert, There Are No Signs Of A FEC Filing By The Clinton Campaign Or DNC For The Opposition Research That Led To The Dossier. “Federal Election Commission expert Jan Baran told The Hill that while it is not illegal and improper for campaigns to hire opposition research, questions are raised when they fail to accurately report the money they spend on it. …Baran added that thus far, there are no signs of a FEC filing by the Clinton campaign or DNC for the opposition research expenses incurred for this dossier.” (Alexandra Oliveira and Alison Spann, “Clinton, DNC Connections To Trump Dossier Funding Could Create Election Law Issues,” The Hill , 10/22/17)

Baran Said The Clinton Campaign Could Be “In Trouble For Not Accurately Disclosing Its Payments To The Law Firm” On FEC Filings. “But Baran added that he believes the Clinton campaign could be in trouble for not accurately disclosing its payments to the law firm. ‘The committees spent money to hire an opposition research firm,’ he said. ‘However, there is no payment that describes having done so. The law requires such disclosure on reports filed with the FEC.’” (Steven Nelson, “Did Hillary Clinton Break The Law Hiring Trump Dossier Author,” Washington Examiner , 10/25/17)

Both The Clinton Campaign And The Democratic National Committee Funded Fusion GPS’ Research Through The End Of October 2016. “The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.” (Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid For Research That Led To Russia Dossier,” The Washington Post , 10/24/17)

  • Perkins Coie Was Paid Approximately $5.6 Million In Legal Fees By The Clinton Campaign Between June 2015 And December 2016. “Perkins Coie was paid $5.6 million in legal fees by the Clinton campaign in a time period ranging from June 2015 to December 2016, The Post reported, citing campaign finance records.” (Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid For Research That Led To Russia Dossier,” The Washington Post , 10/24/17)
  • Perkins Coie Was Paid Approximately $3.6 Million By The DNC For Work Whose Purpose Is Described As “Legal And Compliance Consulting.” “The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in ‘legal and compliance consulting” since November 2015 – though it’s impossible to tell from the filings how much of that work was for other legal matters and how much of it related to Fusion GPS.” (Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid For Research That Led To Russia Dossier,” The Washington Post , 10/24/17)

It Is A Federal Crime To Knowingly And Willfully Make A False Statement To A Federal Agency

It Is A Federal Crime To “Knowingly And Willfully” Make A False Statement To A Federal Agency. “(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry…” ( 18 U.S.C. 1001 , Accessed 10/26/17)

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