Clinton Campaign, DNC Fined Over Steele Dossier

FEC found they misreported spending on opposition research as 'legal services'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2022 10:25 AM CDT
Clinton Campaign, DNC Fined Over Steele Dossier
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the New York State Democratic Convention in New York on Feb. 17, 2022.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee will pay for their alleged violation of campaign finance laws related to the infamous Steele dossier. The DNC has been fined $105,000 and the Clinton campaign has been fined $8,000 for not properly disclosing opposition research on Donald Trump, following years-old complaints from the Campaign Legal Center and Coolidge Reagan Foundation, the Federal Election Commission writes in a letter to the latter, dated Tuesday. Any specific expenditure over $200 must be disclosed and explained to the FEC, per CNN.

The FEC found the money used to fund the dossier compiled by retired British spy Christopher Steele—which claimed, among other things, that Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election—was misreported as "legal services" and "legal and compliance consulting." The Clinton campaign and DNC paid just over $1 million to Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie, which hired opposition research company Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Steele. In its letter, the FEC notes complaints against Steele, Fusion GPS, and Perkins Coie were dismissed. It adds the Clinton campaign and DNC agreed to pay the civil fines, but without admitting to misreporting of spending.

Sean Cooksey, one of the FEC's Republican commissioners, joined two Democrats and an independent in voting for the agreement—which was signed for the Democratic groups on Feb. 16, per Politico—while Republicans Trey Trainor and Allen Dickerson were opposed, Axios reports. A DNC rep confirms to CNN that the "aging and silly" complaints were settled. The disclosure comes shortly after Trump sued Clinton and the DNC, alleging they invented connections between his 2016 campaign and Russia beginning in July 2016. But according to Washington Post correspondent Philip Bump, Trump "accidentally" refuted his own argument in citing documents stolen from the DNC by hackers as part of Russia's campaign to boost Trump as a candidate. (More Hillary Clinton stories.)

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