A campaign watchdog has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that a political action committee supporting Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee broke the law by failing to disclose payments in connection to a now-infamous dossier claiming connections between members of the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
In a statement released Wednesday, The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) claims that Clinton PAC, Hillary for America, and the DNC did not disclose details about payments made to a law firm for work in relation to assembling the dossier — actions they say violate federal law.
Throughout the election, Hillary for America and the DNC paid law firm Perkins Coie more than a combined $12 million for “legal services,” FEC filings show. On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that these payments partially funded the dossier, as the law firm retained Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research, which ultimately resulted in the Steele dossier.
In their complaint, the CLC claims this payment scheme violates federal campaign finance laws, which require campaigns to state the purpose of all expenses over $200. They say the PAC and the DNC gave money to a law firm — which can invoke attorney-client privilege to shelter a money trail — with the intention of obfuscating payments to Fusion GPS for opposition research.
Stating that the payments were for “legal services” when they were actually for opposition research is not a sufficiently specific description of the purpose for the payout, the complaint states.