Last week we learned the Hillary’s law firm, Pekins Coie, was paid a total of roughly $12 million in fees by Hillary’s campaign and the DNC. And while Hillary’s General Counsel, Marc Elias, admitted that some portion of that $12 million went to fund the now infamous Trump Dossier, what we didn’t know, until now, was precisely how much.
Now, according to Reuters, we learn that a total of just over $1 million was paid to Fusion GPS for their “opposition research,” of which $168,000 was sent to British spy Christopher Steele.
A Washington research firm paid a former British spy’s company $168,000 for work on a dossier outlining Russian financial and personal links to Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, the U.S. firm said in a statement on Wednesday.
Although it was public knowledge that Fusion GPS paid for the work, the amount had not been disclosed. Fusion GPS hired former MI6 officer Christopher Steele to collect information about Trump and his advisers.
Fusion GPS’ statement said it had told Congress about how $168,000 was paid last year to Orbis Business Intelligence, Steele’s company.
The money paid to Orbis was taken from $1.02 million it received in fees and expenses from the Perkins Coie law firm, the statement said. The law firm represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, although initial research by Fusion into Trump and other Republican primary candidates was commissioned by a conservative website.
Of course, while this incremental information is interesting, the far more important question is how much of the $1.02 million made it’s way into the hand of various Russian operatives on which Steele admittedly relied to collect facts for his salacious report?
As we’ve noted before, most of the sources listed in the dossier were based in Russia and include a “senior Kremlin official” as well as other “close associates of Vladimir Putin.” Moreover, as CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell noted recently, it’s highly likely that some portion of the funds paid to Perkins Coie by the DNC and Hillary campaign made it’s way into the pockets of those “senior Kremlin officials” as compensation for their services.
In the dossier, Steele cites numerous anonymous sources, many of which work in the upper echelons of the Russian government.
The first two sources cited in the dossier’s first memo, dated June 20, 2016, are “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” and “a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.”
A third source is referred to as “a senior Russian financial official.” Other sources in the dossier are described as “a senior Kremlin official” and sources close to Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft and a close associate of Vladimir Putin’s.
As we also pointed out last week, Hillary’s efforts to hide the payments to Fusion GPS by routing them through her law firm, prompted the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign committee violated campaign finance law by failing to accurately disclose the purpose and recipient of payments for the dossier of research alleging connections between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia. The CLC’s complaint asserted that by effectively hiding these payments from public scrutiny the DNC and Clinton “undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures.”
On October 24, The Washington Post revealed that the DNC and Hillary for America paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig into Trump’s Russia ties, but routed the money through the law firm Perkins Coie and described the purpose as “legal services” on their FEC reports rather than research. By law, campaign and party committees must disclose the reason money is spent and its recipient.
“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director, trial litigation and strategy at CLC, who previously served as the FEC’s Associate General Counsel for Policy. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”
“Questions about who paid for this dossier are the subject of intense public interest, and this is precisely the information that FEC reports are supposed to provide,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal and FEC reform at CLC. “Payments by a campaign or party committee to an opposition research firm are legal, as long as those payments are accurately disclosed. But describing payments for opposition research as ‘legal services’ is entirely misleading and subverts the reporting requirements.”
After a full year of mainstream media hysteria over alleged Trump-Russia collusion, wouldn’t it be supremely ironic if the Hillary campaign were the only one ultimately found to have funneled some portion of $1 million in cash to “Kremlin operatives” in return for political dirt…
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