Clinton campaign, Democratic Party to settle campaign finance inquiry for $113K

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have settled a campaign finance inquiry, agreeing to pay a collective $113,000 in fines that stemmed from the controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, known as the Steele Dossier. 

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined the campaign $8,000 and the DNC $105,000 for failing to properly report money spent on research for the dossier. The financial penalties came to light in a letter the FEC sent to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a conservative group, after it filed a complaint. 

The FEC determined that Clinton’s campaign disclosed the $175,000 it spent on research for the dossier as “legal services,” but the complainant alleged it was meant for “opposition research done by Fusion [GPS].” 

The funds went to Perkins Coie, the law firm that recruited opposition research group Fusion GPS, which brought on retired British spy Christopher Steele. 

The regulatory agency noted that political committees must disclose the purpose of expenditures or disbursements that are larger than $200. 

“The ‘purpose of disbursement’ entry, which is considered along with the identity of the disbursement recipient, must be sufficiently specific to make the purpose of the disbursement clear,” the agreement reads

The FEC said the DNC paid more than $849,000 to Perkins Coie, which was disclosed as “legal and compliance consulting” on disclosure reports, though complainants asserted the funds were used for “opposition research done by Fusion [GPS].” 

Conservative lawyer Dan Backer filed the complaint with the FEC as a representative from the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which he heads. 

The FEC wrote in the letter that it “found probable cause to believe” that the Clinton campaign and DNC breached campaign finance laws. 

The commission said it accepted “signed conciliation agreements” from the Clinton campaign and the DNC last month. 

A DNC spokesperson responded to news of the fines in a statement, telling The Hill “We settled aging and silly complaints from the 2016 election about ‘purpose descriptions’ in our FEC report.”

Former President Trump touted the fines in a statement Wednesday night, declaring, “This was done to create, as I have stated many times, and is now confirmed, a Hoax funded by the DNC and the Clinton Campaign.” 

“This corruption is only beginning to be revealed, is un-American, and must never be allowed to happen again. Where do I go to get my reputation back?” he added. 

The Hill reached out to the Clinton Foundation for comment. 

Updated 10:11 a.m.

Tags 2016 presidential election Christopher Steele DNC Donald Trump FEC Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Steele dossier

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