Hillary’s campaign and the DNC broke the law. Of course, we knew that, but now it’s official.
Surprise –- the Federal Election Commission has actually been looking into the payments they made to law firm Perkins Coie to hide the funding of the Steele “dossier,” which played the central role in the whole “Russia Hoax” during and after the 2016 campaign. The Washington Examiner broke the story on Wednesday.
The Hillary campaign and the DNC did not admit to lying but essentially pleaded no contest.
As Nick Arama at RedState says of the “dossier” plot, “There probably has not been anything in history that has been so wrong and so damaging to the country against a political opponent.”
If you’re surprised that the FEC was daring to investigate anything having to do with HILLARY CLINTON, we were, too. Apparently, it took some doing to get this investigation off the ground. The Coolidge Reagan Foundation, self-described as “a First Amendment watchdog group,” filed a complaint in April of 2018, and I’m sure both Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan would be very proud of them for doing so. In our own digging, we found that the Foundation must have had trouble getting the FEC to act on their original complaint, so they filed suit, asking the court to declare that “the FEC’s failure to act on its administrative complaint is arbitrary, capricious, contrary to law, or an abuse of discretion and to compel the Commission to take action on its complaint.” Thank goodness the complainant persevered –- if they hadn’t made a stink, the FEC would’ve blithely let it drop.
In August of 2019, the Foundation filed a Notice of Dismissal without Prejudice, which I assume means the “capricious” FEC finally, grudgingly responded and opened their investigation. And now, the FEC has notified them by letter of their findings, though these won’t be published for another month.
Here’s a copy of the email letter that was sent by the FEC to Dan Backer at the Coolidge Reagan Foundation. You’ll see that the FEC, along with citing Hillary for America and DNC treasurer Virginia McGregor, did dismiss some other allegations that had been made against Christopher Steele, Marc Elias, Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS; we’ll have to look into what those statutes are. I imagine the FEC doesn’t want to touch those and has left that part of it to the special counsel. The FEC closed their case a few days ago, on March 25, and you know they had to be relieved to dispense with it.
As it turns out, the rules for describing payments/expenditures are very strict, and Hillary’s campaign and the DNC violated those rules when they slyly funneled payments to Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie. We knew they had transferred about a million dollars to Fusion GPS to pay for the “dossier,” but now we have an exact amount, to the penny: $1,024,407.97, which includes $849, 407.97 from the DNC and $175,000 from the Clinton campaign. (Did you know that out of the funds paid to Fusion GPS, Steele was paid only $168,000?) Instead of calling this what it was, “opposition research,” they falsely called it “legal services.” As grossly unethical as their actions were in creating that fake piece of garbage and hawking it to the FBI and the media, the legality or illegality of what they were doing, as far as the FEC was concerned, apparently came down to this one technical distinction.
“Opposition research,” the term that would've technically been legal, is quite a cleaned-up name for what this little “dossier” project was. In another example of laughable understatement, the FEC delicately said the DNC and Hillary campaign “misreported the purpose of certain disbursements.”
Chuck Ross at the Washington Free Beacon reported this story by saying the FEC had fined them for “secretly funding opposition research.” I think it’s important to make the distinction that they weren’t fining them for the research itself, as unethical as that was, but just for the “secretly” part. They didn’t report it right!
The Coolidge Reagan Foundation had wanted the findings of wrongdoing to go further, saying, “The fact that Hillary For America and the DNC procured something ‘of value’ from a foreign national --- provided by the Kremlin --- while failing to publicly acknowledge their relationship with Perkins Coie, amounts to false reporting in unprecedented fashion.” But the FEC chose not to go there, leaving it for John Durham’s special counsel to address.
As you might expect, President Trump has released a statement about this striking bit of news: “This was done, as I have stated many times, and is now confirmed, a hoax funded by the DNC and the Clinton Campaign. This corruption is only beginning to be revealed, is un-American, and must never be allowed to happen again. Where do I go to get my reputation back?”
The fines levied are a slap on the wrist: $105,000 for the DNC and just $8,000 for Hillary For America. (The amounts probably have to do with the size of the checks each wrote to Perkins Coie.) But the size of the fines is not the point. It has been officially determined that what they did was illegal.
That’s huge because it will likely have a bearing on other investigations and lawsuits in the works. Besides the special counsel investigation into the Russia Hoax, there’s also Trump’s sweeping lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the DNC and many others, under the RICO Act, filed in federal court in Florida just a week ago. It sure doesn’t hurt his case to have this determination that Hillary and the DNC broke the law.
Dan Backer deserves a huge pat on the back for his refusal to go away and his enormously significant win. We appreciate what he had to say: “Hillary Clinton and her cronies willfully engaged in the greatest political fraud in history --- destroying our nation’s faith in the electoral process, and it’s high time they were held accountable. I hope this is only the beginning.”
As for Hillary, she just can’t stop with the hoaxing. Long after the Russia Hoax has been shown to be, well, a hoax...she's trying to keep it alive. (It must be noted that Trump made it easier for her and her friends in the media to maintain her lie with his unfortunate suggestion that Putin offer up dirt on the Bidens. Has he learned nothing?) On the very day her campaign was fined, Hillary deflected by tweeting: “As Putin bombs civilians in Ukraine and the world condemns him as a war criminal, Trump is...once again asking him for help besting his political opponents.”
Hillary, the law is not done with you.