The failure of the Clinton campaign to disclose that it had spent over $10 million to fund research that led to the infamous “Trump-Russia dossier” may amount to money laundering, said Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
Speaking in an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the Republican representative for South Carolina accused the Clinton election campaign of failing to observe transparency rules for election spending.
He was referring to the Washington Post’s revelation last week that a lawyer representing the 2016 Clinton campaign, along with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), paid millions of dollars to Fusion GPS. The firm had hired former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to research alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the Republican primaries on behalf of a GOP sponsor; the Democrat money helped this investigation to continue.
The money allegedly went through the law firm Perkins Coie and was reported as legal fees by the Clinton campaign. Gowdy argued that this may amount to money laundering.
“I’m not an election law expert, but the good news is you don’t have to be to understand the absurdity of believing that you can launder all of your campaign money by just hiring a law firm,” he said.
“Imagine if you and I were running for Congress, and we just hired a law firm and said ‘Hey, you go to all the oppo [research], you go buy all the television, you go buy all the bumper stickers, you go hire all the experts, and we will launder all of this through a law firm.’ I can’t think of anything that defeats the purpose of transparency laws more than that.”
He also criticized the Democratic camp for the inability to identify particular individuals who had authorized funding the research.
“I am also interested in sharing some memory tricks with folks at the DNC because no one can remember who paid 10 million dollars to a law firm to do oppo research. I find that stunning – 10 million dollars and no one can remember who authorized it, who approved it, who said this is a very good idea. So you’ve got two issues, a memory issue and then the lack of transparency by laundering money through a law firm.”
Steele’s research resulted in the now infamous ‘dirty dossier,’ which accused the Trump campaign of having strong ties with the Russian government. The content of the dossier was made public by BuzzFeed in January 2017. However, some US media reports at the time claimed at least part of the dossier had been known to some US officials and reporters for months.
In the same interview, Gowdy also complained that the Democratic Party was more interested in undermining President Donald Trump by accusing him of collusion with Russia than investigating the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“For a long time we’ve heard about the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, for which there is no evidence, and – lo and behold – despite serious Democrat opposition we have uncovered that the DNC was working with Russian actors to try to besmirch Donald Trump’s reputation,” he said. “Whether it is collusion, coincidence, cooperation – I don’t know it yet.”
The “Russian actor” Gowdy was referring to is Fusion GPS, which had been hired to do research for a litigation case, unrelated to the Trump-Russia dossier, by a firm owned by a Russian man. The firm has been targeted by a US Senate investigation over its role in the scandal.