A House Republican threw one curveball of a question at Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler, asking the Biden administration official on Tuesday to answer under oath whether he facilitated payment for British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s now-discredited anti-Trump dossier.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) ended his contentious line of questioning during the final moments of a House Financial Services Committee hearing by hearkening back to Gensler’s role as chief financial officer on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“Did you facilitate the payment for the Steele dossier since you were CFO of the Hillary Clinton campaign?” he asked.
Gensler, who was shaking his head, began to answer with, “Sir,” after which Donalds said, “Yes or no.” This happened twice before Donalds reminded the witness that he was under oath. “I know,” Gensler replied before offering an answer: “It was not something I was aware of.”
The exchange, and the hearing at large, ended there.
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It is already well established that funds from Clinton’s failed campaign and the Democratic National Committee went toward Steele’s dossier, which was packed with salacious allegations tying former President Donald Trump to Russia that have been picked apart by federal investigators.
In fact, both parties were fined by the Federal Election Commission for not properly disclosing the roughly $1 million that made its way to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele, from the Perkins Coie law firm.
Gensler’s name came up when the Clinton campaign’s chairman, John Podesta, testified to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017. Podesta mentioned Gensler as being the person who “established the financial controls” and he stressed that “Gary” was “at the top,” handling payments to Perkins Coie, a transcript shows.
Devin Nunes, the Republican former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who left Congress to head Trump’s media company, said this week that his panel “outed” Gensler as the individual who “wrote the check to Fusion GPS.”
During a “Just the News Not Noise” interview, Nunes also criticized Gensler and the SEC for the extended holdup on a planned merger between the Trump Media & Technology Group, which runs the social media platform called Truth Social, and Digital World Acquisition Corp.
This follows Trump Media’s general counsel requesting in February that Congress investigate the SEC over an “endless” review described as “an unprecedented attempt to kill the deal without any finding of wrongdoing.”
Donalds endorsed Trump earlier this month, at the time making him the third GOP lawmaker from Florida to back the former president’s 2024 White House campaign.