Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) likely violated federal law by not accurately describing payments made to a law firm that funneled the money to ex-British spy Christopher Steele, federal officials have ruled.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) determined that there was probable cause to believe that the Clinton campaign and its treasurer, Elizabeth Jones, and the DNC and its treasurer, Virginia McGregor, misreported the purpose of certain spending and violated federal law, according to documents made public on March 30.
The probable violations concern the $1 million payment that the law firm Perkins Coie, retained by the parties to provide legal services ahead of the 2016 election, made in 2016 to the company Fusion GPS.
The Clinton campaign paid $175,000 to Perkins Coie in mid-2016 for what it described in disclosure reports as “legal services.” The DNC paid $849,407 to the law firm at roughly the same time for what it described as “legal and compliance consulting.”
Federal law requires political campaigns to report the name and address of each person that they pay more than $200 per year and define the purpose of the payment.
Complaints lodged with the FEC stated that the Hillary for America campaign (HFA) and the DNC stated in 2018 that the parties made sure to hire operatives through Perkins Coie to shield their conduct from scrutiny.
“By intentionally obscuring their payments through Perkins Coie and failing to publicly disclose the true purpose of those payments, HFA and the DNC were able to avoid publicly reporting on their statutorily required FEC disclosure forms the fact that they were paying Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump with the intent of influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election,” the Coolidge Reagan Foundation stated in one complaint.
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