FEC Complaint: Hillary for America & DNC Failure to Disclose
Counsel for Campaign Legal Center
Oct 25, 2017
CLC filed a complaint with the FEC alleging the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign committee violated campaign finance law. They failed to accurately disclose the purpose and recipient of payments for the dossier of research alleging connections between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia, effectively hiding these payments from public scrutiny, contrary to the requirements of federal law.
The complaint was filed October 25th at FEC. Here is the basic information:
1- Based on recent information, there is reason to believe that the DNC and Hillary campaigns have failed to file accurate reports which is a violation of FECA 52 USC Code 30101 and commission regulations.
2- DNC and Hillary campaigns reported dozens of payments totaling millions of dollars to the law Firm Perkins Coie for the purpose of “legal services” or “legal and compliance consulting”. In reality, at least some of those services, included payments earmarked for “Fusion GPS” for the purpose of conducting opposition research on Donald Trump. By failing to file accurate reports, they undermined the vital public information role that reporting is intended to serve.
3- If the commission receives a valid complaint, it SHALL according to FECA 53 USC 30109(a)2 make an investigation of such allegation.
Their facts included a Washington Post October 24, 2017 article posted by Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman which stated “Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.” According to the article, “Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.” Also, “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.”
The Campaign Legal Center stated that the alleged media report in the Washington Post had been confirmed by the Perkins Coie’s general counsel, Matthew Gehringer, on October 24th. He acknowledged that Fusion GPS approached Perkins Coie in March 2016 who was at that time representing the DNC and the Hillary Campaign. Subsequently in April 2016 Fusion GPS was retained to “provide a variety of research services for the Hillary Campaign during the 2016 election cycle.”
Those payments to Fusion GPS were not disclosed on reports filed with the FEC Commission.
According to this filing, there were 37 payments to Perkins Coie in the election cycle totaling $5,631,421 whose purpose was listed as “legal services” by the Clinton campaign. There were 345 payments made by the DNC totaling $6,726,407 for a “variety of purposes.” The DNC total also included a payment of $66,500 payment to Perkins Coie on August 16, 2016 for “research consulting.”
Causes of Actions:
1- Failure to report purpose of disbursements.
2- Failure to report recipient of disbursements.
I doubt Perkins Coie can be held in violation though they certainly did not check on how their receipts appeared in the FEC “disbursements” for either the DNC or the Hillary group or if they did maybe they could be fined or something for not making an effort to report any perceived improprieties.
However, this is just another Karma demon in that legal Clinton/DNC/ and hopefully Obama Pandora’s box of items that once allowed out will hopefully come back to bite both the DNC, the Clintons, and maybe by association Obama (he did after all state for all to hear that she was THE most qualified to hold the office).
FEC cannot ignore the complaint. They have to investigate. Can they drag their heels, pull some legal manuever to suppress, or censor what is posted as public information is more likely the problems that will play out. Still if they find there is cause for a court case, they do have to proceed or at least…I think they do….who knows at this point.