The DNC was fined $105,000 and the Clinton campaign fined $8,000, according to a letter from the Federal Election Commission to a conservative group asking for an investigation.
Political candidates and groups are required to disclose their spending to the FEC, and they must explain the purpose of specific spending over $200. The FEC concluded that the Clinton campaign and DNC misreported the money funding the dossier, masking it as “legal services” and “legal and compliance advice” rather than opposition investigations.
The file was compiled by retired British spy Christopher Steele. It contained unverified and lecherous allegations about Donald Trump, including claims that his campaign colluded with the Kremlin to win the 2016 election. Trump’s campaign had numerous contacts with Russian agents and embraced Russian aid, but no one was ever formally charged with conspiring with Russia.
The money trail behind the Steele dossier has been the subject of intense political investigation for years. More than $1 million flowed from the Clinton campaign and DNC to the law firm Perkins Coie, which then hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS. That company later hired Steele and asked him to use his foreign contacts to dig up dirt about Trump’s ties to Russia.
Steele has maintained that his investigation was unverified, required further investigation and was not intended for disclosure. But his memos leaked in January 2017, weeks before Trump took office. Over the years, a series of investigations and lawsuits have discredited many of Steele’s central allegations of collusion and exposed the unreliability of Steele’s procurement.
In the letter announcing the fines, the FEC also revealed that it has dismissed related complaints against Steele, Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS, all of which have previously denied wrongdoing.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC never admitted to violating campaign finance laws, but they agreed to drop their pushback and accept the civil fines, according to the FEC letter.
A DNC spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday that it has resolved “age and silly” FEC complaints about 2016.
An attorney representing the Clinton campaign in the FEC case did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. Both entities previously said they did not know the details of Steele’s work in real time. They’ve also said the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia posed a national security risk — which had come to the same conclusion by a 2020 Senate bipartisan inquiry.