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FEC fines DNC, Clinton's 2016 election campaign over violating disclosure rules

FEC fines DNC, Clinton's 2016 election campaign over violating disclosure rules
The 2016 presidential campaign for former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have been fined more than $100,000 for failing to properly disclose expenses to the election watchdog. Pool File Photo by Win McNamee/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- The Federal Election Commission has fined the Democratic National Committee and Hilary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign a combined $113,000 for not properly disclosing funds spent on opposition research that produced the so-called Steele dossier.

The federal election watchdog said in a letter to the conservative Coolidge Reagan Foundation dated Tuesday that it has fined the DNC $105,000 and Hillary for American $8,000 over reporting payments to an international law firm as "legal expenses" when the money went toward funding research on then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

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The Steele dossier, named after Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled it, contained claims -- some of which have either been refuted, debunked, or unproven -- concerning alleged ties between the now-former president and Russia.

In the letter, the FEC said it has entered into a conciliation agreement with the DNC and Clinton's campaign to resolve all allegations against them.

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According to the document, the two parties entered into the agreement with the FEC for the the sole purpose of "settling this matter expeditiously and to avoid further legal costs."

It continues that Clinton's campaign and the DNC do not concede wrongdoing but will not further contest the commission's findings.

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The Coolidge Reagan Foundation is one of two organizations along with the Campaign Legal Center to file complaints back in 2018 and 2017, respectively, urging the FEC investigate the funding of the dossier.

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According to the agreement, law firm Perkins Coie was retained by Clinton's campaign and the DNC during the 2016 election cycle. That year, the company hired research consulting firm Fusion GPS to provide services related to Clinton's campaign, paying it more than $1 million to do so.

Between July 15 and Aug 26, 2016, the two parties paid Perkins Coie for "opposition research done by Fusion," according to the complaints. However, they reported on disclosure forms that the money was paid to Perkins Coie for legal services.

The DNC had argued that it had filed the relevant reports in accordance with the law while contending that Perkins Coie retained Fusion GPS as part of its legal services and that its actions would assist the law firm with legal advice.

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"Respondent further contends that the fact that Fusion GPS may have conducted research relating to an opposition candidate does not mean that the research was not conducted in furtherance of legal services that Perkins Coie was performing on behalf of" the DNC and Clinton's campaign, the document states.

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The FEC, however, dismissed a slew of other allegations against Clinton's campaign, the DNC, Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS.

UPI has contacted the DNC for comment.

A DNC spokesperson told The Washington Post that: "We settled aging and silly complains from the 2016 election about 'purpose descriptions' in our FEC report."

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