NYT: Clinton supporters donated $700K to help Trump accusers

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Prominent Democratic donors gave at least $700,000 to women’s rights lawyer Lisa Bloom in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential race as she sought to publicize sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump, according to The New York Times.

American Bridge, a group associated with Democratic operative and longtime Clinton ally David Brock, gave $200,000 to the effort, sources told the Times. Fashion entrepreneur Susie Tompkins Buell, who has donated to Brock’s groups, gave Bloom another $500,000.

The efforts did not result in any women coming forward, according to the Times. Bloom told the paper that one woman requested as much as $2 million for her story, a sum she was unwilling to offer.

Democratic donors familiar with Bloom’s efforts say that Bloom kept the $200,000 from American Bridge but refunded the $500,000 from Buell.

In a statement, Bloom denied that the Hillary Clinton campaign had any knowledge of her efforts or that she had collaborated with Clinton’s team “on any of this.” She also denied that payments were needed before the women would come forward.

“It doesn’t cost anything to publicly air allegations,” Bloom said. “Security and relocation are expensive and were sorely needed in a case of this magnitude, in a country filled with so much anger, hate and violence.”

The Times report highlighted how payments, some accepted and some declined, are often in the mix before people make harassment allegations against public figures.

Right-wing activist Mike Cernovich, the Times notes, offered $10,000 in November for the details of sexual harassment settlements reached by members of Congress. Cernovich helped surface the details last year of one such settlement involving former Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who then resigned from Congress.

The Hill first reported last month that Bloom offered to sell the stories of Trump’s accusers in return for a commission, and she offered some victims as much as $750,000 in compensation.

“Donors reached out to my firm directly to help some of the women I represented,” Bloom told The Hill. She said any compensation she received went directly to her firm’s operational costs.

“Our standard pro bono agreement for legal services provides that if a media entity offers to compensate a client for sharing his or her story we receive a percentage of those fees. This rarely happens. But, on occasion, a case generates media interest and sometimes (not always) a client may receive an appearance fee,” she added.

“As a private law firm we have significant payroll, rent, taxes, insurance and other expenses every week, so an arrangement where we might receive some compensation to defray our costs seems reasonable to us and is agreed to by our clients,” Bloom said.

Tags American Bridge David Brock Donald Trump Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton John Conyers Lisa Bloom Sexual assault Sexual misconduct

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