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FBI Lies and Entrapment Result in Probation Sentence for Former Republican Congressman


REPORTED BY: THOMAS J. NASH AND JOSEPH COSBY | JUNE 29, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/06/29/fbi-lies-and-entrapment-result-in-probation-sentence-for-former-republican-congressman/

congressman walks out of courthouse with wife

The FBI and the DOJ are guilty of doing exactly the things with which they charged Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. 

Author Thomas J. Nash and Joseph Cosby profile

THOMAS J. NASH AND JOSEPH COSBY

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Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska, has been sentenced to probation for lying to the federal government. But the only things we know for certain are that the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) lied to entrap Fortenberry, and used two men who broke campaign finance laws to betray the congressman in his zeal to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

A Los Angeles jury convicted Fortenberry in March on three felony counts of lying to the FBI and scheming to cover it up. The congressman faced a maximum sentence of 15 years — five years for each count. The prosecution had sought a six-month prison sentence. Tuesday, however, U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr. sentenced the former congressman to two years of probation, as well as a $25,000 fine and 320 hours of community service.

In handing down his sentence, Blumenfeld said that everyone, including the prosecution witnesses, attests that Fortenberry is “a man of exceptional character.” Fortenberry and his defense team are appealing the convictions.

Under 18 U.S.C. §1001, it is a federal crime to tell a government official or agency a “material” lie. That means a lie that, if the government were to believe it, would have the tendency of affecting an official’s or agency’s course of conduct. Ironically, the FBI and the DOJ are guilty of doing exactly the things with which they charged Fortenberry. 

Would I Lie to You?

The case stems from a February 2016 fundraiser in Los Angeles in which Fortenberry participated. Toufic Baaklini, a U.S. citizen, Maronite Catholic, and advocate for Christians in the Middle East, used the fundraiser to channel the money of a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire, Gilbert Chagoury, to Fortenberry’s campaign. Campaign donations from foreign nationals are illegal.

Baaklini, then a long-time friend of the congressman, testified at Fortenberry’s trial that he knew such conduit donations were illegal, but he misled Fortenberry by having $30,000 of Chagoury’s money divided among a number of people at the fundraiser so no red flags would be raised regarding the contributions.

Dr. Elias Ayoub, another Maronite Catholic who helped organize the L.A. fundraiser, also admitted in court that he has made a number of illegal campaign contributions using Chagoury’s money, including to U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. In addition, both Baaklini and Ayoub testified that Fortenberry didn’t know the contributions had come from Chagoury, and Baaklini testified that Fortenberry raised that very issue early in the fundraising process.

As KOLN-TV in Lincoln, Nebraska, reported this past March, Baaklini made a stark admission in court to John Littrell, Fortenberry’s lawyer, saying he didn’t want Fortenberry to know about the illegal nature of the contributions, even when the congressman specifically asked if there was anything wrong with the fundraiser.

“You lied to protect him, didn’t you?” Littrell asked Baaklini. Baaklini replied yes.

So why isn’t Baaklini facing possible prison time, as well as Ayoub? Because the FBI and the DOJ wanted a bigger fish—a sitting U.S. congressman—and used Baaklini and Ayoub as witnesses at Fortenberry’s trial.

A Man of Good Character

In serving Nebraska’s first congressional district since January 2005, Fortenberry has distinguished himself as a man of integrity in both his personal and professional life. In sworn testimony, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, a liberal Democrat and Chaldean Catholic who has worked with Fortenberry on aiding Christians in the Middle East, affirmed her Republican colleague’s character.

“I think he brings honor to what he does because of the individual he is,” Eshoo said. “He’s faith-filled, he’s honest. His word is always good, and I can’t say that about all members of Congress, and you find out the hard way.” Eshoo added that Fortenberry had a reputation of being a rule-follower.

Also, Fortenberry had been regularly targeted by opponents in his reelection campaigns, including because of his defense of the unborn and women harmed by abortion, yet he easily won reelection term after term. So, if Fortenberry is known by Democratic colleagues as being honest, and he directly asked Baaklini if the 2016 fundraiser in L.A. was tainted and was told everything was fine, how did the government make their case against the congressman?

Anatomy of an Abusive Prosecution

Even though the DOJ had zero evidence that Fortenberry had committed any crime, they had Ayoub tape a June 2018 conversation with the congressman. After the call, Fortenberry was concerned enough to tell his wife, his chief of staff, and his lawyer that he had renewed concerns about the 2016 fundraiser.

Then, in March 2019, the FBI came to Fortenberry’s home in Nebraska and deliberately lied to him and his wife, saying they were there for a national security issuenot a criminal matter. That lie disarmed Fortenberry, striking him as believable because of his service on a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee whose work deals with U.S. foreign relations.

The FBI agents also quizzed Fortenberry on various matters, and later said Fortenberry lied about not knowing Ayoub. In fact, the congressman didn’t recognize a 10-year-old photo of Ayoub, as it showed him with dyed-black hair and black eyebrows, whereas, Ayoub, now 77, has silver hair and silver eyebrows.

An FBI agent did ask Fortenberry whether he knew that lying to a federal agent was a crime. The congressman responded that he did. His recollections of his unbeknownst-taped conversation with Ayoub the previous June were sketchy, not because he lied, but because of faulty recall and Fortenberry’s tendency to multi-task during fundraising calls, as his wife Celeste testified, because he didn’t enjoy doing them.

In the process, Fortenberry missed Ayoub’s point that Chagoury had likely contributed to the 2016 fundraiser. His failure to recall that was another instance, the DOJ argued, which showed the congressman’s intent to deceive, as well as Fortenberry’s assertion on the same call that he’d be interested in doing another fundraiser with Ayoub.

In a July 2019 interview in Washington, D.C., the FBI also lied to Fortenberry and his attorney, Trey Gowdy, the former Republican congressman from South Carolina. Gowdy specifically asked the FBI agents whether Fortenberry was a target of their investigation. They said he wasn’t.

That wasn’t true, and the FBI and DOJ cobbled together a case, saying that Fortenberry had not only lied but had deliberately tried to deceive the FBI. Part of making their case was that Fortenberry’s former lawyer testified she couldn’t recall the contents of her June 2018 conversation with Fortenberry, but she said she would’ve definitely remembered had he mentioned anything about possible illegal donations.

A Stickler for the Law Who Also Deliberately Deceives?

Never mind that this same attorney testified that Fortenberry was in the habit of calling her a lot—a virtue that affirms Eshoo’s assessment that Fortenberry is committed to adhering to the law. Nevertheless, based on the attorney’s testimony, the DOJ argued that Fortenberry had further willfully withheld self-incriminating evidence about the fundraiser, even though, again, Baaklini had testified that the congressman had directly asked whether the contributions were illegal early in the process and he—Baaklini—had lied to Fortenberry in saying they weren’t.

In addition, Fortenberry’s alleged crimes took place while he was on the phone in his Nebraska home. Nevertheless, because the prosecution argued his actions had relevance to their investigation in California, they succeeded in changing the legal venue to Los Angeles, a well-known leftist region where seating a jury unfavorable to the congressman was much more likely than in Nebraska, Fortenberry’s congressional home.

The venue issue is a likely ground for Fortenberry’s appeal, as is the argument that Fortenberry didn’t materially lie to the FBI.

Lying Is Okay if the Government Does It

Meanwhile, the government’s conduct in this case is very disturbing. An FBI agent admitted at the March trial that he had lied to Fortenberry at his home in March 2019, but he said that is part of the FBI’s normal tactics to extract the truth.

However, the DOJ and the FBI, both agencies of the executive branch of the U.S. government that includes the president as chief executive, had no substantive basis to pursue a criminal investigation of Fortenberry, a sitting congressman who had a sterling reputation for integrity. Instead, even though they knew that Baaklini and Ayoub had clearly violated the law, and despite Baaklini’s admission that the congressman had directly asked him whether the L.A. fundraiser was tainted, they pursued Fortenberry.

In short, they went on a legal fishing expedition to concoct a case against the congressman. Fortenberry’s failure to be attentive during his fundraising calls, and errors in his recall, are evidence of personal imperfections. But they are certainly not the basis of a legitimate criminal prosecution, let alone convictions.

A Disturbing Legal Precedent

Our federal government, based on a system of checks and balances that the founders established almost 250 years ago, presumes that the respective branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—will conduct themselves with integrity in interacting with each other. When trust is undermined, our system of government is jeopardized. By abusively wielding power to intimidate a legislator, the FBI and DOJ threaten that delicate balance. 

Unhealthy competition between the branches will consume them and devour any chance that public officials will rise above petty bickering and destructive partisanship to cooperate in the best interests of the country. By enlisting the judiciary to turn that threat of prison into a potential reality, the FBI and DOJ have turned the system on its head.  What the founders intended as an aggressive but civil competition is now in danger of becoming a deadly serious game which menaces the civil liberties and freedoms of those who dare to undertake public service.

This episode should be especially disconcerting to all faithful Catholics and other Christians concerned about their place in a society that is increasingly hostile to religion. Indeed, Fortenberry ended up a prosecutorial target precisely because of his work defending the right of Middle Eastern Christians to live and practice their faith. Christians especially must answer the call, and stand up against this most troubling evolution in the DOJ and FBI’s battle with Congress.


Tom Nash is a journalist, theologian, and author who has served the Catholic Church for more than 30 years, including as a theology advisor at the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Joseph Cosby is a seasoned attorney with more than 30 years of experience litigating cases in federal court. He practices law in Washington, D.C.

Ann Coulter Letter: Hush Little Porn Star, Don’t Say a Word


Commentary by Ann Coulter | Posted: Feb 27, 2019 4:05 PM

Hush Little Porn Star, Don't Say a Word

If that’s the best he’s got, Trump should demand we hold the election this coming Tuesday.

Cohen was referring to Trump’s 2017 reimbursement of the $130,000 hush money he paid to porn star Stormy Daniels to stay quiet about her claim that she’d had sex with Trump, aka Cohen’s client — meaning much of Cohen’s testimony is barred by attorney-client privilege. But who cares about this sacred legal privilege? We’re trying to get Trump!

Neither the media nor Cohen seem to realize that Cohen wasn’t doing anything illegal when he paid the “hush money.” (Just because Trump thinks every Jewish lawyer is Roy Cohn doesn’t mean you have to, too, New York Times.)

Words like “hush money” and “porn star” make the payments sound unsavory — especially to The New York Times, known during the Clinton era as Defender of Inappropriate Presidential Sex — but there’s nothing criminal about paying money to suppress embarrassing information, even in the middle of a political campaign.

If it wasn’t illegal for Cohen to pay the hush money, it’s certainly not illegal for Trump to reimburse him for it. Cohen was, after all, Trump’s lawyer. He got reimbursed for a lot of things.

But we have to have days of hearings in hopes of establishing that Trump violated the campaign finance reporting requirements with these payments, in which case, OH MY GOSH, HE’D HAVE TO PAY A FINE.

I’d be more impressed if they got Trump on a jaywalking charge.

President Obama had to pay $375,000 in fines for actual campaign violations during his 2008 run, and I don’t think we needed 16 prosecutors, half of Congress and the entire media on the case.

The theory of Trump’s alleged campaign finance violation is that if you’re running for office, all normal life expenses suddenly become campaign-related. According to these neurotics, ANY money Trump or his companies spent during the campaign is a potential campaign finance expenditure.

Paying your gardeners is a campaign expense — because who would vote for a man who can’t even keep the hedges tidy at Mar-a-Lago? If Trump had gone to the hospital for an appendectomy — well, he got his appendix cut out because he feared that if he died of appendicitis, he wouldn’t get the nomination.

1) Trump, with his fine legal mind, knew he was violating the law; and

2) He authorized the payments only because he was running for office.

So prosecutors have a fantastic case, provided they can get Trump to admit on the stand, Oh no, I wasn’t worried that these allegations would hurt my brand at all. I didn’t care about what my grandkids or Melania would think. I had Cohen pay off a porn star for the sole purpose of misleading the public into voting for me on the basis of my character.

Such an argument would be absurd with anyone, but we’re talking about Donald Trump. He didn’t exactly hold himself out to the voting public as a moral paragon.

As voters were well aware, Trump’s been married three times, has appeared in Playboy videos, and was a fixture on the Howard Stern show for years, discussing breast sizes and ranking women’s looks. In the very first GOP debate, Fox News reminded viewers that Trump had called women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.”

The reason the “Access Hollywood” tape failed so spectacularly was that Trump had never appealed to Americans based on his character.

To take a contrary example at random, off the top of my head: Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign was entirely premised on his boasting about how much he loved the poor and loved his cancer-stricken wife — and also loved his son, who died in a car accident and he’s never told anyone this story before …

About a year before Edwards was caught by a real newspaper, The National Enquirer, visiting his love child and mistress in the Beverly Hilton, Edwards droned on and on about the importance of marital fidelity to NBC’s Katie Couric. It was, he said, “fundamental to how you judge people and human character — whether you keep your word, whether you keep what is your ultimate word, which is that you love your spouse, and you’ll stay with them.”

In order to preserve this utterly false image, Edwards arranged for his campaign donors to fork over nearly a million dollars to keep his baby mama happy and quiet. These were donors — not Edwards’ personal lawyer — who ponied up because they wanted him in the White House, and the money was being spent to protect the candidate’s completely bogus public image.

But when federal prosecutors brought a case against Edwards for failing to report these rather more obvious campaign expenditures, the government was nearly laughed out of court. The media ridiculed the entire prosecution and the jury acquitted, presumably on the grounds that, however much Edwards didn’t want voters to know about the affair, he also didn’t want his wife to know.

Trump won the presidency not because he touted himself as a man of character, but because he said he was someone who could get things done. Like build the wall. If you’re going to impeach him, impeach him for that.

Libs Use Cohen to Push Guilt by Association, But Forget 5 Obama Pals Who Were 10x Worse


Reported By Lisa Payne-Naeger | August 22, 2018 at

2:37pm

It didn’t take long for liberal spin to conjure up the specter of guilt by association as the media  tried to build a case for impeachment of President Donald Trump due to the latest developments in the Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases.

On Tuesday Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney, pleaded guilty to eight charges of felony fraud and campaign finance law violations. In doing so, he also implicated the president, who he claims directed him to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels as well as a former Playboy model to buy their silence for alleged sexual encounters.

That alone would have made liberals happy. But the anti-Trump crowd was also crowing that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on the same day of eight charges of tax and bank fraud brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

A lot of nonsense takes place on social media, but sometimes bits of wisdom shine through. These particular comments put the spotlight on liberal hypocrisy that has no problem with smearing Trump with guilt by association, but was mysteriously blind when it came to former President Barack Obama.

Liberal memories are short when it comes to liberal sins, but author and conservative Twitter user Thomas Wictor reminds us all that guilt by association was — or should have been — a much bigger issue in the Obama administration.

He listed at least five egregious instances where guilt by association could be argued in relation to Barack Obama, and he starts with Obama associate Tony Rezko.

“(3) Obama fundraiser and member of his U.S. Senate campaign finance committee Tony Rezko. Sentenced to over ten years for public and private corruption. Served four.”
“(4) Obama fundraiser Courtney Dupree. Convicted of bank fraud.”
“(5) Obama bundler Willie Shepherd. Pleaded guilty to third-degree assault on his wife in exchange for dropping negligent child-abuse charges.”
“(6) Rod Blagojevich, Illinois governor. Doing 14 years in the federal pen for trying to sell Obama’s vacated seat.”

And he caps it off with this closing tweet.

To be fair, longtime Barack Obama buddy Bill Ayers was never implicated in murder during his spree as a bomber for the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground.

It’s also worth pointing out that Ayers’ girlfriend at the time, Diana Oughton, died in 1970 when a nail bomb she was helping to build exploded in a house in Grennwich Village. A Vanity Fair article from 2015 claims Ayers and his Weather Underground terrorists never intended to hurt people, but it’s safe to wonder if they were worried about who would be on the receiving end of those nails flying through the air with deadly, explosive force.

The Daily Caller points out some clarifying factors on the the guilt-by-association accusations against Trump.

In the Manafort case, even though Manafort spent a short time with the Trump campaign to work specifically on the Republican National Convention, the media will fail to mention he was “fired over questions of his work as a lobbyist for foreign governments years earlier,” and all charges were related to actions of Manafort long before he ever joined Trump’s presidential run.

As The Daily Caller put it: “It’s guilt by association coupled with omission of relevant facts to paint the president as somehow associated with a guilty person’s actions.”

As far as Cohen is concerned, and as conservative radio host Mark Levin has pointed out, the charges of payoffs to two women for alleged sexual encounters are still not proven to be illegal. It is not not illegal for to pay for non-disclosure agreements in politics or any other sphere of the law.

Liberals have once again cast stones from their own glass houses. They should really think twice before they invent false scenarios.

Some sharp-minded Twitter members might just throw a litany of facts on their feed that blow their latest spin out of the water.

Summary

An enthusiastic grassroots Tea Party activist, Lisa Payne-Naeger has spent the better part of the last decade lobbying for educational and family issues in her state legislature, and as a keyboard warrior hoping to help along the revolution that empowers the people to retake control of their, out-of-control, government.

Media Celebrate Trump Mishandling $280k. Forget Obama Mishandled $88 Million.


Reported By Kara Pendleton | August 22, 2018 at

12:44pm

Another day, another “we’ve got him now. No, really, we’ve really, truly, madly, deeply got him, now!” series of headlines from the establishment media about President Donald Trump.

This time the focus is on campaign finance.

And once again, voters are left to their own devices to figure out what the truth really is and if there actually is a crime involved. Add to that the way the establishment media addressed the topic when President Barack Obama was involved in similar “scandals,” and you have more evidence as to why the establishment media outlets are so often called “fake news.”

The latest “Get Trump” establishment media feeding frenzy stems from a plea deal made by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen. On Tuesday, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges against him, including two alleged campaign finance violations. One involved a payment of $130,000 in 2016 from then-candidate Trump to porn star Stormy Daniels. The other involved coordinating a $150,000 payment by the National Enquirer’s publisher to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A great breakdown of the situation comes from radio and television personality Mark Levin, who is also a lawyer and worked in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration.

Appearing on “Hannity,” Levin offered his “help to the “the law professors, the constitutional experts, the criminal defense lawyers, the former prosecutors, and of course the professors” in regards to “what the law is” surrounding the campaign finance issue and Michael Cohen plea deal.

“The general counsel for the Clinton Mob Family, Lanny Davis, he had his client plead to two counts of criminality that don’t exist. These campaign finance violations that they are saying all over TV implicates the president directly.”

“First, let’s back up. It’s a guilty plea. It is a plea bargain between a prosecutor and a criminal. A criminal who doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in prison. That is not precedent. That applies only to that specific case,” Levin said.

“Nobody cites plea bargains for precedent. That’s number one.

“Number two: Just because a prosecutor says that somebody violated a campaign law, doesn’t make it so. He’s not the judge, he’s not the jury. We didn’t adjudicate anything–it never went to court. That’s number two.

“A campaign expenditure, under our federal campaign laws, is an expenditure solely for campaign activity. A candidate who spends his own money, or even corporate money, for an event that occurred not as a result of the campaign, it is not a campaign expenditure.”

Levin then gave some examples, one being a candidate for office having disputes with a vendor and not wanting the negative publicity. In this scenario, the hypothetical candidate instructs his private attorney to just pay the vendors and he (the candidate) will reimburse the attorney.”

Levin adds that this is “perfectly legal” and a “point” made that such an act would “influence an election” was “stupid.”

Earlier this year, Newsweek tackled the “the question of whether longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s $130,000 hush money payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels was an illegal campaign contribution.”  Ex-Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith told Newsweek in March that, “It looks like Trump has made these kinds of payments to people before unrelated to his campaign or as a candidate. It’s hard to show this payment was made solely because he was running for election.”

By way of comparison as to how the media handled a “campaign finance scandal” when it came to Trump’s predecessor, let’s first ask if anyone was aware there even was one.

In one of the few mainstream media reports about it, a U.S. News & World Report headline from 2013 announced, “Obama Campaign Fined Big for Hiding Donors, Keeping Illegal Donations.”

The article went on to note that,The FEC levied one of its largest fines ever against Obama’s campaign committee, new documents show.” The Federal Election Commission fined his campaign $375,000 for “a failure to disclose or improperly disclosing thousands of contributions to Obama for America during the then-senator’s 2008 presidential run.”

More specifically, citing the FEC, the article stated that “the Obama campaign failed to disclose the sources of 1,300 large donations, which together accounted for nearly $1.9 million. Election Commission rules state campaigns must report donations of $1,000 or more within 20 days of Election Day.”

“Obama for America was also fined for ‘untimely resolution of excessive contributions,’ according to the conciliation agreement, FEC says,” the report continues. “The campaign accepted more than $1.3 million in contributions that came from donors who had already given $46,000 — the maximum allowed by FEC rules. The campaign eventually refunded the excess cash but did not do so within the 60-day window allotted for resolving such cases.

“In addition to failing to report big donors and excess donations in a timely manner, the Obama campaign incorrectly dated the filings dealing with $85 million in funds, the FEC claims. This error appears to have been primarily the result of one transfer to the campaign committee from the Obama Victory Fund, a fundraising group that includes money raised by the Democratic National Committee that is earmarked for the presidential race.”

Do you remember the media having a field-day with the news and screaming for Obama to be impeached?

Was anyone sent to jail over actual mishandling of actual campaign funds? (No Russians were implicated in the commission of those violations of federal election law, either.)

The sharp contrast between the two situations is undeniable.

To anyone with eyes to read, there is a distinct appearance of the establishment media using extreme measures to smear a sitting president and build public pressure for impeachment. Neither of which is the duty of a free press or an honorable Fourth Estate.

FEC Complaint: Clinton Campaign, DNC Violated Campaign Finance Law With Dossier Payments


Reported By Jack Davis | October 25, 2017 at 5:01pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/fec-complaint-clinton-campaign-dnc-violated-campaign-finance-law-dossier-payments/?

Former Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee broke the law in the way they handled their effort to dig up dirt on President Donald Trump, according to a complaint filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the Clinton campaign and the DNC funded development of a now-discredited dossier that claimed to document misbehavior by Trump while in Russia and also claimed Trump had close connections with Russian officials.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained the firm Fusion GPS to conduct the research into Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, to do the work.

Perkins Coie, the firm for which Elias works, was paid $12.4 million to represent the Clinton campaign and the DNC during the 2016 campaign.

The complaint from the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center said that by paying the firm of Perkins Coie to fund development of the dossier while not saying that’s what it was doing, the campaign and DNC broke the law.

The Clinton and campaign and the DNC “failed to accurately disclose the purpose and recipient of payments for the dossier of research alleging connections between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia, effectively hiding these payments from public scrutiny, contrary to the requirements of federal law,” the Center said on its website.

According to FEC reports, Clinton’s campaign reported 37 payments to the law firm and reported each disbursement as “Legal Services.”

The DNC reported 345 payments to Perkins Coie during the election cycle and marked the payments as “legal and compliance consulting,” “administrative fees,” “data services subscription” and others.

“The purpose of at least some portion of the payments to Perkins Coie was not for legal services; instead, those payments were intended to fund opposition research,” the complaint said. “This false reporting clearly failed the Commission’s requirements for disclosing the purpose of a disbursement.”

The CLC said the campaign and DNC tried to end run the rules.

“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at CLC. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money.

“The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action,” Noti added.

“Questions about who paid for this dossier are the subject of intense public interest, and this is precisely the information that FEC reports are supposed to provide,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at CLC.

“Payments by a campaign or party committee to an opposition research firm are legal, as long as those payments are accurately disclosed,” he said. “But describing payments for opposition research as ‘legal services’ is entirely misleading and subverts the reporting requirements.”

Writing on LawNewz, Rachel Stockman said there is a fine line separating legal fro illegal activities.

“It is legal under current campaign finance law for the Hillary Clinton campaign to commission an opposition research company to dig up dirt on Donald Trump,” she wrote. “What is not legal, according to campaign legal experts, is for the campaign to pay a law firm who then hires other to perform campaign related activities without reporting the purpose of the expenditures.”

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