A political group tied to the former president — Obama for America (OFA) — paid nearly a million dollars to the same law firm used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary for America to funnel money to Fusion GPS, The Federalist reported Sunday. Fusion GPS is the shady opposition research firm behind the unverified Steele dossier.
OFA has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, an international law firm, since April of 2016, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show.
As the Washington Post reported, last week, FEC filings show that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid Perkins Coie a combined $12.4 million in 2016. Marc Elias, general counsel to Hillary for America and a partner at Perkins Coie, retained Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on President Trump. In the spring and summer of 2016, Fusion GPS also received money indirectly from a senior Russian government official, according to Bill Browder, the CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last July.
Fusion GPS calls itself a “research and strategic intelligence firm” but is well known in Washington to be an opposition-research group for Democrats. The firm’s founders are reportedly “more political activists than journalists” and in 2016 had “a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda.”
Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, to compile a dossier on Trump.
The result was a salacious hodgepodge of unverified sexual allegations and political allegations that Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. According to top Russia expert David Satter, the dossier “employed standard Russian techniques of disinformation and manipulation.”
Via The Federalist:
OFA, Obama’s official campaign arm in 2016, paid nearly $800,000 to Perkins Coie in 2016 alone, according to FEC records. The first 2016 payments to Perkins Coie, classified only as “Legal Services,” were made April 25-26, 2016, and totaled $98,047. A second batch of payments, also classified as “Legal Services,” were disbursed to the law firm on September 29, 2016, and totaled exactly $700,000. Payments from OFA to Perkins Coie in 2017 totaled $174,725 through August 22, 2017.
FEC records as well as federal court records show that Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie lawyer whom the Washington Post reported was responsible for the payments to Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, also previously served as a counsel for OFA. In Shamblin v. Obama for America, a 2013 case in federal court in Florida, federal court records list Elias as simultaneously serving as lead attorney for both OFA and the DNC.
OFA, which grew out of Obama’s 2008 campaign, became “Organizing for Action,” a non-profit, tax-exempt group, in early 2013. The retooled organization was focused on building public support for his left-wing agenda in his second term. OFA relaunched again after the 2016 election to use its resources to oppose President Trump.
It remains to be seen whether Obama and his team knew about the “dodgy dossier” in 2016, when its unverified contents were being pushed to media outlets. Both the House and the Senate have launched investigations into whether the Obama administration used intelligence in the dossier as evidence before the FISA Court to obtain permission to spy on members of the Trump campaign and transition team.
According to Russia expert Paul Roderick Gregory in Forbes, the creation of the Steele Dossier may turn out to be Russia’s most damaging intervention in the 2016 campaign. That would mean that the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and apparently OFA were the prime sponsors of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.