(PatriotWise.com)- Officials with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) received notice on May 2 that they had paid fines after a federal agency found probable cause that they had violated election laws. The news was delivered to the judge who presided over the case against a former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer.
Durham filed the Federal Election Commission (FEC) opinion and conciliation agreements that the campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) entered into with the FEC, as well as paying the fines for what the FEC described as probable violations of laws governing the reporting of political entity disbursements by political organizations.
The relationship between the Democratic entities and Fusion GPS, a business specializing in opposition research, is disputed.
The entities principally compensated fusion GPS through a legal firm that they retained, Perkins Coie.
Attorneys for the Federal Election Commission claimed the funds were represented as supporting legal services, but they were used by Fusion to do opposition research on former President Donald Trump, who was Clinton’s primary opponent for the president at the time.
In the new filing, Durham informs U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, who President Barack Obama appointed, that the Federal Election Commission found “probable cause to believe” that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign improperly reported their payments to Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s opposition research as ‘legal and compliance consulting.”
The documents were attached to a motion by the special counsel to compel the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, Fusion GPS, and Perkins to produce documents that the parties are withholding or redacting based on claims containing attorney-client communications and other privileged information.
Durham contends that Fusion did not offer legal services to the other parties, using the FEC’s findings, rendering the privilege claims irrelevant. The FEC’s findings support this argument.
According to the parties, Fusion was assisting Perkins in its supply of legal counsel to the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee have made no public statements regarding the FEC’s decision.
Each agreed to pay fines and engage in conciliation agreements with the federal agency, but they did not admit fault or accept responsibility.
In addition to assisting in creating the dossier produced by former British spy Christopher Steele, Fusion provided other services. The charges included in the dossier against Trump, which was both lurid and unproven, were aggressively publicized by the Clinton campaign and Democrats in their efforts to elect Clinton and, eventually, impeach Trump.
Durham is prosecuting Michael Sussman, a lawyer who represented both the Trump campaign and the Democratic National Committee when he brought unverified information to the court’s attention that allegedly showed a secret backchannel between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
As a result, Durham claims that Sussmann lied when he told an FBI lawyer before giving over the material that the information was not being brought on behalf of a customer.
Sussmann’s attorneys have maintained that he did not lie. Even if he had, the falsehood would have made no difference to the authenticity of the provided information.
Sussmann’s trial is scheduled to begin later this month.