Editor's Note: Folks, you have good days and bad days--and this was the latter. I mixed up Ryan Fournier and veteran journalist Ron Fournier. It was Students for Trump chair Ryan Fournier who sent the tweet concerning the dossier. The post has been updated, with sincerest apologies to veteran journalist Ron Fournier for botching the attribution. The post has been updated and corrected to reflect the changes.
Bombshells were dropped last week—and I’m not talking about the Washington Free Beacon’s somewhat wholly unrelated relationship with the research firm that was behind the unverified Trump dossier. That effort was solely focused on the GOP field in 2016—and all information was from public sources. Russia was not a topic of concern or inquiry. Also, any information Fusion GPS gave to the Free Beacon did not turn up on the dossier. That document was compiled by a former British intelligence operative using Kremlin officials and bankrolled by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Marc Elias, the lawyer for the Clinton campaign at the time, who was also retained by the DNC, set up the arrangement. The Democrats solely funded the dossier effort. So, was President Obama involved in this rather intricate web that has now ensnared the Democrats and Hillary Clinton?
Ryan Fournier, chairman of Students For Trump, tweeted “Who wants to bet that President Obama knew about the Clinton-DNC funded dossier on President Trump?” And The Federalist’s Sean Davis was there to catch this pop fly. It turns out that Obama’s campaign organization pumped almost a million dollars into Perkins Coie, the law firm where Elias is a partner, since April of 2016. The same law firm that got Fusion GPS to work for Clinton and the Democrats regarding getting the goods on Donald Trump using a former MI6 operative.
The spouse of a top Fusion GPS employee worked directly for Obama in the West Wing at the time. https://t.co/0a51gmBPFK— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 27, 2017
Who wants to bet that President Obama knew about the Clinton-DNC funded dossier on President Trump?— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) October 27, 2017
During the 2016 cycle, nearly 25% of all OFA spending was to the firm that was funneling payments to Fusion GPS. https://t.co/pmCKNVE281— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 29, 2017
In the same month that Clinton/DNC hired Fusion GPS, Obama's campaign sent nearly $100k to the same law firm. https://t.co/pmCKNVE281— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 29, 2017
April of 2016 was around the time when Hillary and the DNC hired Fusion GPS to dig into Trump—and Organizing for Action (OFA), Obama’s campaign arm, gave Fusion GPS $800,000 that year alone. The payments were labeled “legal services.” Elias was also a lawyer for OFA. Davis has more on this connection, but the Obama White House’s campaign arm doling out big bucks to the law firm that sanctioned the dossier makes for some good questions [emphasis mine]:
Former president Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show.
The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been independently verified. Lawyers for Steele admitted in court filings last April that his work was not verified and was never meant to be made public.
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.
Federal records show that Hillary Clinton’s official campaign organization, Hillary For America, paid just under $5.1 million to Perkins Coie in 2016. The DNC paid nearly $5.4 million to the law firm in 2016.
The timing and nature of the payments to Perkins Coie by Obama’s official campaign arm raise significant questions about whether OFA was funding Fusion GPS, how much Obama and his team knew about the contents and provenance of the dossier long before its contents were made public, and whether the president or his government lieutenants knowingly used a partisan political document to justify official government actions targeting the president’s political opponents named in the dossier.
According to the Washington Post, Fusion GPS was first retained by Perkins Coie on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in April of 2016.
At the same time that Hillary’s campaign, Obama’s campaign organization, and the DNC were simultaneously paying Perkins Coie, the spouse of one of Fusion GPS’s key employees was working directly for Obama in the West Wing. Shailagh Murray, a former Washington Post reporter-turned-political operative, was serving as a top communications adviser to Obama while the Obama administration was reportedly using information from the dossier to justify secret surveillance of Trump campaign staff. Murray is married to Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was hired by Fusion GPS in December of 2016.
We’ll see how this all turns out, though it’s quite interesting how the crosshairs have moved away from Trump and towards Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s direction.