The former head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman both claim that they had no idea their organizations were behind the funding of the unverified Trump-Russia dossier — despite being in charge of their organizations.
Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told federal investigators —who are investigating alleged, and unproven, ties into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials — that they had no idea that their respective organizations were involved in funding the dossier, CNN reported on Thursday.
A report by The Washington Post on Tuesday revealed that Marc Elias, a lawyer who represented Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, hired Fusion GPS to create the dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired former British spy Christopher Steele to conduct the research and compile the dossier which included interacting with people inside Russia to gather information.
Senate intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) told CNN that the fact that Fusion GPS was paid by Clinton’s campaign and the DNC will trigger more investigations into the actions taken by Democratic officials.
“This provides us the ability to connect some dots that we couldn't do before this,” Burr told CNN on Wednesday. “And any investigation when you have a revelation this big, it begins to clarify some pictures that you were already trying to understand. This ... will require us to dig a lot deeper in some areas that maybe a week ago we weren't planning to.”
The disclosure that the Clinton campaign and DNC funded the dossier already has triggered legal responses as The Campaign Legal Center, which is a non-partisan group, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The complaint stated that the Clinton campaign and the DNC broke campaign finance laws because they did not accurately report financial records as they paid Elias’ law firm, Perkins Coie, millions of dollars:
The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015 — though it’s impossible to tell from the filings how much of that work was for other legal matters and how much of it related to Fusion GPS.