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Non-profit Files FEC Complaint Against Clinton Campaign, DNC over Dossier

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reacts as she listens to a question from the audience during a campaign event at Uncle Nancy's Coffee in Newton, Iowa on September 6.
SCOTT MORGAN/REUTERS

The non-profit Coolidge Reagan Foundation on Thursday filed a Federal Election Complaint against Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee, their law firm Perkins Coie, and Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy that authored the “pee dossier,” for violating campaign finance laws.

The non-profit charged that those parties hid payments made to and received by Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele to produce the dossier, in violation of finance laws.

Democrats have accused the Trump administration of colluding with foreigners, when in reality it was the Democrats who colluded with foreigners, the non-profit charged.

“For over a year, Democratic officials have accused the Trump Administration of collaborating with foreign interlopers to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. In reality, it was the Clinton-backed Democratic machine that conspired with foreigners in violation of both federal campaign finance law and basic decency to manipulate the election,” it said in a complaint.

“The Clinton campaign weaponized American intelligence and law enforcement communities — led by Democratic appointees of President Barack Obama —through false, malicious, wholly manufactured lies about the Republican nominee, now President, Donald J. Trump,” it said.

The Coolidge Reagan Foundation is described in the complaint as a not-for-profit charitable organization whose mission is to “defend, protect, and advance liberty, and particularly the principles of free speech enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

The 22-page complaint walks through in detail how Clinton and DNC officials colluded with Steele and anonymous former and current Russian officials to produce a dossier aimed at influencing the 2016 elections, and violated election laws while doing so.

The complaint describes how the Clinton campaign hired Perkins Coie lawyer Marc Elias for the 2016 presidential election cycle. Elias then hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump. The Clinton campaign and the DNC then funneled over $1 million through Perkins Coie to Fusion GPS. Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook personally approved the payment to Perkins Coie, the complaint said.

The non-profit argued that that since Fusion GPS’s work was to further the Clinton campaign and the DNC’s political goals, rather than providing legal advice or assisting with any litigation, it was not protected by attorney-client, work-product, or any other privileges.

However, the Clinton campaign and the DNC hid their payments to Fusion GPS in campaign finance filings. The Clinton campaign reported all of its payments to Perkins Coie from January 2016 through December 2017 as being for the purpose of ”LEGAL SERVICES,” but did not mention Fusion GPS.

Meanwhile, the DNC reported its payments to Perkins Coie between January 2016 and December 2017 as being for the following purposes:

● “LEGAL AND COMPLIANCE CONSULTING,”
● “LEGAL AND COMPLIANCE SERVICES,”
● “OFFICE SUPPLIES/EXP,”
● “TRAVEL,”
● “PRINTING & COPYING,”
● “DATA SERVICES SUBSCRIPTION,”
● “POSTAGE AND SHIPPING,”
● “CATERING,FOOD & BEVERAGE,”
● “INTERNET,”
● “CELLULAR/MOBILE,”
● “ADMINISTRATIVE FEES,”
● “FED/STATE FEES & LICENSE,”
● “RESEARCH CONSULTING” (a single entry on August 16, 2016, for $66,500), and
● “DATA ANALYTICS.”

“None of these entries accurately describe the DNC’s payments to Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s opposition research into Donald Trump,” the complaint said.

“By using Perkins Coie as a straw man intermediary for this pervasively political, non-legal work, [Hillary for America] and the DNC were able to mask their relationship to Fusion GPS from the public in the critical weeks before the 2016 presidential election, in direct violation of federal campaign finance law,” it said.

The complaint details how Fusion GPS paid a total of approximately $168,000 to Steele and/or his company Orbis, and how Steele solicited foreign nationals — particularly current and/or former members of the Russian government and intelligence service — for information relating to Trump.

“Thus, a foreign citizen controlled the collection and dissemination of information, largely from foreign government agents and other foreign nationals, intended to influence a federal election,” the complaint said.

Steele then produced a dossier based on “dubious, unverified, and largely unverifiable information” he received from his “confidential sources of questionable credibility.” The dossier was then given to Fusion GPS, then to Perkins Coie, and then the Clinton campaignprovided a copy of the dossier to Fusion GPS, who provided it to the Clinton campaign and/or the DNC, the complaint said.

The Obama Administration’s Justice Department went on to use the dossier to seek a secret surveillance warrant on the Trump campaign, without informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that it was funded by, and developed at the behest of, the Clinton campaign or the DNC, it said.

Steele also gave a copy of the dossier to Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn, who wrote an article days before the election entitled “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.”

“His intent in providing that material to Corn was to influence the outcome of the election by preventing Donald Trump from becoming President, either by sparking an investigation into Trump or by inducing voters to vote against him, due to concerns about his relationship to Russia,” the complaint said.

The Coolidge Reagan Foundation lists seven counts of FEC violations against the Clinton campaign, the DNC, Marc Elias, Perkins Coie, and Steele.

They include: False Specification of Expenditure Purpose; False Identification of Expenditure Recipient; False Identification of Expenditures’ Purpose and Recipient; Solicitation of Donations (or Contributions) from Foreign Nationals; Substantially Assisting Solicitation of Donations from Foreign Nationals; Donation or Expenditure by a Foreign National; and Foreign National Participation in Political Committees’ Decisionmaking Processes Concerning Expenditures.

In summary, the complaint says:

“Using their law firm, Perkins Coie, LLP, as a front to shield their illegal machinations from public scrutiny, Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) worked with British national Christopher Steele to generate and disseminate the so-called “Steele Dossier”—a collection of lies and spurious allegations against the President compiled at great cost.

“The dossier was valuable due to the substantial and illegally unreported cost of generating it, its use in attempting to sway the outcome of the election, and the veneer of credibility it possessed as a result of the various sources of information from which it was derived and the obfuscation of its origin as a politically motivated campaign trick. Many of the dossier’s allegations against President Trump stem from current and former Russian government officials.

“Thus, the Clinton campaign, not Trump, collaborated with the Russians in a desperate, and ultimately failed, attempt to steal the election. Though the American people ultimately rejected Clinton, both the Trump Administration and the nation as a whole still languish in the aftermath of her campaign’s impropriety.”

“The interminable investigations into the President ultimately stem from the collection of fabrications covertly funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign. Their funding of the Steele dossier allowed foreign nationals to directly, substantially influence the 2016 election in favor of Clinton. Steele, a foreign national acting without actual or apparent authority from the DNC or Clinton campaign, unilaterally decided to release the Steele dossier to the American media (as well as the FBI) in an attempt to swing the election in Clinton’s favor.

“Compiled from lies, innuendo, and fabrications from foreign nationals, the dossier itself was a vehicle through which current and former agents of the Russian government were able to attempt to undermine Donald Trump’s candidacy. This Commission should immediately investigate and pursue these violations to the full extent of the law.”

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