Clinton campaign, DNC fined by FEC for lying about Steele file payments

The Federal Election Commission has fined both Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee for lying about how they spent money to fund the now-debunked Steele dossier on former President Donald Trump.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC will be forced to pay $8,000 and $105,000 respectively for mislabeling payments that eventually went to Fusion GPS, the consulting firm that ordered the file, according to FEC documents viewed by the Post .

The fines stem from a complaint originally filed in 2018 by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which was notified of the outcome on Tuesday.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC together paid more than $1 million to the powerful Democratic law firm Perkins Coie, which enlisted Fusion GPS to dig for dirt on Trump. Fusion GPS, in turn, hired former British spy Christopher Steele — whose namesake file included allegations that Russian security forces owned a Trump tape in a Moscow hotel room with prostitutes allegedly urinating on a bed where the Obamas had previously stayed.

The FEC said Clinton and the DNC claimed the money given to Perkins Coie to hire Fusion GPS had been used on disclosure forms for “legal advice and services” rather than opposition investigations.

Christopher Steele is a former British intelligence officer.
Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

The commission ruled that it had found probable cause that both the Clinton campaign and the DNC had violated electoral law by not being “sufficiently specific” about the purpose of the payments and by failing to include detailed information about Fusion GPS in the disclosure forms.

Both the Clinton campaign and the DNC did not admit the FEC’s findings, but said they “will not further contest the committee’s findings on a likely cause,” according to documents reviewed by the Post.

Attorneys from both Democratic entities claimed the payments were reported “in accordance with the law and Commission guidelines,” and argued that Fusion GPS’s work would assist Perkins Coie in providing legal advice. They also argued that Fusion GPS’s work was protected under attorney-client privilege.

Hillary Clinton rally
The Clinton campaign and the DNC paid a total of more than $1 million to law firm Perkins Coie.
Chad Rachman/New York Post

Despite its obscure provenance, between October 2016 and September 2017, the dossier was used by the FBI to successfully file warrants for surveillance against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

In November, Igor Danchenko, described as a key source of information on the file, was arrested and charged with lying to the FBI about the sources he had used for his dubious intelligence.

Danchenko was arrested as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which Trump has long insisted was a witch hunt.

Former President Donald Trump said the ruling confirmed his belief that the 2016 Democratic candidate had perpetrated a major hoax against his campaign.

Wow! Just that the 2016 Clinton campaign and the DNC paid the FEC today for breaking the law by failing to disclose that their payments for ‘legal advice and services’ to law firm Perkins Coie were in fact a cover for countless employing companies, all of whom are now named defendants in my lawsuit, to try to take down and illegally destroy your favorite president, me,” he said in a statement.

“This was done, as I have often stated, and now has been confirmed, to create a hoax funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. This corruption is only beginning to be exposed, is un-American and must never happen again. Where do I go to get my reputation back?”

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