From The Federalist
Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show.
The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been independently verified. Lawyers for Steele admitted in court filings last April that his work was not verified and was never meant to be made public.
OFA, Obama’s official campaign arm in 2016, paid nearly $800,000 to Perkins Coie in 2016 alone, according to FEC records. The first 2016 payments to Perkins Coie, classified only as “Legal Services,” were made April 25-26, 2016, and totaled $98,047. A second batch of payments, also classified as “Legal Services,” were disbursed to the law firm on September 29, 2016, and totaled exactly $700,000. Payments from OFA to Perkins Coie in 2017 totaled $174,725 through August 22, 2017.
FEC records as well as federal court records show that Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie lawyer whom the Washington Post reported was responsible for the payments to Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, also previously served as a counsel for OFA. In Shamblin v. Obama for America, a 2013 case in federal court in Florida, federal court records list Elias as simultaneously serving as lead attorney for both OFA and the DNC.
OFA, which managed Obama’s successful re-election campaign in 2012, retooled after that campaign to focus on enacting the president’s agenda during his final term in office. The group reorganized again after the 2016 election and planned to use its staff and resources to oppose President Donald Trump. During the entire 2016 campaign cycle, the group spent only $4.5 million, according to FEC records.
Federal records show that Hillary Clinton’s official campaign organization, Hillary For America, paid just under $5.1 million to Perkins Coie in 2016. The DNC paid nearly $5.4 million to the law firm in 2016.
The timing and nature of the payments to Perkins Coie by Obama’s official campaign arm raise significant questions about whether OFA was funding Fusion GPS, how much Obama and his team knew about the contents and provenance of the dossier long before its contents were made public, and whether the president or his government lieutenants knowingly used a partisan political document to justify official government actions targeting the president’s political opponents named in the dossier. According to the Washington Post, Fusion GPS was first retained by Perkins Coie on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in April of 2016.
At the same time that Hillary’s campaign, Obama’s campaign organization, and the DNC were simultaneously paying Perkins Coie, the spouse of one of Fusion GPS’s key employees was working directly for Obama in the West Wing. Shailagh Murray, a former Washington Post reporter-turned-political operative, was serving as a top communications adviser to Obama while the Obama administration was reportedly using information from the dossier to justify secret surveillance of Trump campaign staff. Murray is married to Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was hired by Fusion GPS in December of 2016. While at the Wall Street Journal, King worked alongside Fusion GPS’s core team, even sharing bylines with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS executive who personally hired Steele to probe Trump’s alleged Russia connections.
The importance of the dossier funded by Democrats, commissioned by Fusion GPS, and compiled by Steele, is difficult to overstate given that its contents were reportedly briefed to both Obama and then-President-Elect Trump. The dossier was eventually published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10. On January 12, according to CNN then-FBI Director James Comey had briefed Trump on the allegations in Steele’s dossier. Steele admitted in court filings that he had shopped much of the information in his dossier to numerous media outlets beginning in September of 2016.
Fusion GPS, which has been accused of illegally operating as an undisclosed agent of foreign governments, is currently facing multiple congressional inquiries into its activities and its clients. Bill Browder, whose attorney was allegedly murdered by Russian authorities after publicizing explosive allegations of Russian fraud and money laundering, alleged in congressional testimony last July that Fusion GPS was paid by Russians to undermine U.S. sanctions against the country. Late last week, Fusion GPS reportedly struck a deal with U.S. House investigators regarding a federal subpoena of the firm’s bank records. And in September, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reportedly requested that the U.S. Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit provide his committee with all suspicious activity reports related to Fusion GPS’s bank transactions.
……What is the company hiding? Fusion GPS describes itself as a “research and strategic intelligence firm” founded by “three former Wall Street Journal investigative reporters.” But congressional sources say it’s actually an opposition-research group for Democrats, and the founders, who are more political activists than journalists, have a pro-Hillary Clinton, anti-Trump agenda.
“These weren’t mercenaries or hired guns,” a congressional source familiar with the dossier probe said. “These guys had a vested personal and ideological interest in smearing Trump and boosting Hillary’s chances of winning the White House.”
Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump. In 2012, Democrats hired Fusion GPS to uncover dirt on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And in 2015, Democratic ally Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to investigate pro-life activists protesting the abortion group.
Moreover, federal records show a key co-founder and partner in the firm was a Hillary Clinton donor and supporter of her presidential campaign.
In September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated money to Hillary’s campaign.
Property records show that in June 2016, as Clinton allies bankrolled Fusion GPS, Fritsch bought a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Bethesda, Md., for $2.3 million.
Fritsch did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Fusion GPS said the firm’s work is confidential.
Sources say Fusion GPS had its own interest, beyond those of its clients, in promulgating negative gossip about Trump.
Every GPS and Dem operative who had a hand in concocting this fake dossier for the purpose of a political smear, should be subpoenaed and compelled, under oath, to testify before Congress. If they invoke the 5th, they should sit in a jail cell until they decide to come clean.