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Lawsuit: Biden Campaign Broke The Law By Not Reporting Collusion With Intel Officials To Discredit Laptop Story

The intel letter ‘was a campaign contribution of substantial value’ to Biden, who ‘failed to report the contribution,’ the suit claims.


The attempt by former intel officials to discredit reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 election represented a contribution to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign that the campaign never reported, in violation of federal law, a lawsuit filed on Sunday alleges.

Filed by America First Legal (AFL) against the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the suit contends the letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials was developed to help Joe Biden win the 2020 election, and therefore constituted a contribution to the Democrat presidential candidate’s campaign. AFL had previously filed a complaint with the FEC against the Biden campaign in October for its failure to disclose such alleged contributions to the agency, as required by federal law. The FEC has yet to respond to the complaint, according to the suit.

“Biden for President, Biden Victory Fund, DNC Services Corp/Democratic National Committee, and Biden Action Fund (collectively, the ‘Respondents’) failed to report the direct contributions, indirect contributions, and coordinated communications made in connection with the ‘Letter of 51’ to the Federal Election Commission,” the lawsuit reads.

In April 2023, House Republicans released testimony from Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA who signed onto the infamous letter, revealing that “on or around October 17, 2020,” then-Biden campaign official and now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken “reached out to him to discuss the Hunter Biden laptop story,” which had been published in the New York Post on Oct. 14. According to Morell, Blinken’s outreach “set in motion the events that led to the issuance of the public statement” that baselessly asserted the laptop was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

When pressed by House investigators if he had any intent to write the statement prior to Blinken’s call, Morell said he “did not,” confirming the call “absolutely” pushed him to write it. Blinken later emailed Morell an article from USA Today that same day “alleging that the FBI was examining whether the Hunter Biden laptop was part of a ‘disinformation campaign.’”

Morell was also in contact with Biden campaign chair Steve Ricchetti, and told investigators that Ricchetti reached out following the Oct. 22 debate between Biden and then-President Donald Trump to personally thank him “for putting the statement out.” Biden used the “Letter of 51” to try and discredit the Post’s reporting during his debate with Trump.

“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what … he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant,” Biden said at the time.

An email included in AFL’s lawsuit shows Morell soliciting signatures from intel officials prior to the letter’s release, confirming The Federalist’s reporting about the agency’s heavy-handed role in its development.

“Can I add your name to this list?” Morell wrote to former CIA Director John Brennan on Oct. 19, 2020. “Trying to give the [Biden] campaign, particularly during the debate on Thursday, a talking point to push back on Trump on this issue.”

Brennan, along with former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, was among the former intel officials who signed the statement.

Morell also testified that the Biden campaign “helped to strategize about the public release” of the letter, telling Nick Shapiro, his former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser at the CIA, that “[b]etween us, the campaign would like” the letter to be sent first to a specific reporter at The Washington Post. Shapiro later “crafted an email for three separate media outlets and sent the content of the email to the Biden campaign’s Director of Rapid Response, Andrew Bates, stating, ‘This is what I gave them,'” according to the suit.

Morell claimed in his congressional testimony that there were two motives for releasing the statement, one being for former intel officials to share their alleged “concern[s] with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue.” The other was to “help Vice President Biden.”

“You wanted to help the vice president, why?” asked Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, to which Morell replied, “Because I wanted him to win the election.”

“Because Morrell, Brennan, Clapper, and the other signatories were supposedly ‘nonpartisan’ national security and intelligence experts, their public statement was a campaign contribution of substantial value to the Respondents, who solicited the ‘Letter of 51’ from them for the express purpose of influencing the 2020 Presidential election,” AFL’s suit reads. “Yet, the Respondents failed to report the contribution and to identify the individuals who made it.”

AFL has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to declare the FEC’s “failure to act on [its] administrative complaint is contrary to law,” force the FEC to “conform with this declaration within 30 days pursuant” to federal law, award it “costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees” associated with filing the aforementioned complaint, and grant other relief the court “may deem just and proper.”

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