FEC Fines Clinton Campaign, DNC Over Spending on Trump-Russia Dossier

  • The FEC fined Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
  • The agency said Clinton and the DNC improperly reported money used to fund the Trump-Russia dossier.
  • Political candidates and groups are legally required to disclose their spending to the FEC.

The Federal Election Commission earlier this month fined Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee for failing to properly report funding on opposition research into the 2017 Steele dossier, which examined former President Donald Trump’s alleged links to Russia.

In a letter sent by the FEC to both parties on Tuesday, the agency said the Clinton campaign and the DNC improperly reported the money they spent funding the dossier, labeling the spending as “legal services,” and “legal and compliance consulting” instead of opposition research.

Political candidates and groups are legally required to publicly disclose their spending to the FEC, which is responsible for enforcing campaign finance law in the US, and explain the purpose of any cost that exceeds $200.

The FEC fined the Clinton campaign $8,000 and the DNC $105,000 for the misconduct, the letter said.

Clinton’s campaign is still technically in operation with more than $181,000 cash on hand, according to a January 2022 filing — more than enough to pay the FEC fine.

A source familiar with the situation told Axios that the FEC commissioners voted 4-2 to approve the fine agreement, with all three FEC democrats voting in favor along with Republican commissioner Sean Cooksey. The board’s two other Republicans reportedly voted against the conciliation.

The infamous dossier in question was prepared by former UK intelligence officer Christopher Steele and included a trove of prurient but unverified claims regarding the alleged relationship between Trump and members of the Russian intelligence community, as well as assertions that his campaign colluded with the Kremlin in the 2016 election.

While a few allegations were corroborated (which Insider’s Sonam Sheth broke down), much of the information within the document has since been refuted. Steele has said that he was still investigating and his research was not meant for public viewing, but his memos were leaked just weeks before Trump took office in January 2017.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC paid more than $1 million to the law firm Perkins Coie, which hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research, the FEC letter said. Fusion GPS then hired Steele to create the dossier.

In the Tuesday letter, the FEC said it dismissed similar complaints against Steele, Perkins Coi and Fusion GPS.

Neither the DNC, nor a representative for Clinton immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment.

The Clinton Campaign and the DNC did not admit to violating campaign finance laws, according to the FEC letter, however, they did agree to accept the civil fines to settle the matter.

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