Group files complaint against Federal Election Committee for failing to investigate
Despite growing pressure, the FEC is refusing to investigate allegations that $84 million was funneled through Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election campaign in an illegal money laundering scheme.
On Tuesday evening, CDP (the Committee to Defend the President) filed a motion in a Washington D.C. federal court seeking to supplement the original complaint it had filed against the Federal Election Committee in April 2018.
CDP has alleged that the agency responsible for investigating incidences of campaign finance fraud has failed to act on a complaint filed with FEC by the group.
The original complaint asserted that Democrats illegally funneled $84M through the Hillary Victory Fund to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election while coordinating on the alleged fraud with the Hillary Clinton campaign.
CDP’s lawyer Dan Backer says the “FEC has sat around and done nothing,” despite having “a detailed, comprehensive paper trail handed to them.”
The alleged scheme took advantage of loopholes in campaign-finance law and campaign contribution limits which were eventually exposed and led to the CDP filing a lawsuit against the FEC last April.
FEC records reviewed by CDP revealed a problem, however, when discrepancies between the amounts reported by the HVF, the DNC, and the state Democratic committees emerged.
According to the Federalist, public statements by former DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile further implicated Hillary Clinton with violating campaign finance laws during the 2016 election.
Brazile explained that “[a]s Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet.
“It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.”
Clinton campaign chief financial officer Gary Gensler similarly stated that the Democratic Party was “fully under the control of the Clinton campaign . . . .
“The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse.”
By controlling the DNC, the campaign contributions made to the national party qualified as donations to the Clinton campaign for purposes of federal campaign finance law, and if properly accounted for, they would exceed the legal contribution limits.
After uncovering evidence of this purported scheme, the CDP filed an administrative complaint with the FEC on December 15, 2017.
The CDP asked “the FEC to commence enforcement proceedings against Hillary Clinton, her campaign and its treasurer, the DNC and its treasurer, and the participating state Democratic committees.”
Attached to the administrative complaint were nearly 20 pages of Excel spreadsheets summarizing the evidence of the alleged misconduct.
By law, after receiving an administrative complaint, the FEC must notify those accused of wrongdoing of the charges then determine whether there was “reason to believe” a violation of campaign finance law occurred.
Following a finding by four FEC commissioners that there is “reason to believe” a violation has occurred, the FEC must then investigate the complaint.
Or if the FEC concludes there is no reason to believe a violation occurred, it will dismiss the complaint.
But the FEC did nothing from December 15, 2017, until April 2018, when the CDP sued the FEC seeking a court order directing the agency to rule on the administration complaint it lodged against the DNC, Hillary Clinton, and various state Democratic committees.
In response, the FEC filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing the CDP lacked standing, meaning it lacked the ability to sue. That motion has been under consideration since last summer.
Big story out that the FBI ignored tens of thousands of Crooked Hillary Emails, many of which are REALLY BAD. Also gave false election info. I feel sure that we will soon be getting to the bottom of all of this corruption. At some point I may have to get involved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2018
In Tuesday’s filing, the CDP tells the district court that its request to supplement its complaint will not affect the court’s consideration of the question of standing.
Rather, the CDP merely seeks to update its allegations concerning the FEC’s delay, to “allege that, for more than a year, the FEC has completely failed to complete its adjudication of, or even make a ‘reason to believe’ finding concerning, CDP’s Administrative Complaint.”
In a briefing filed with its motion to supplement the complaint, the CDP stresses that “in determining whether the FEC’s delay in addressing the Administrative Complaint is ‘unlawful,’ one of the most important factors this Court must consider is the length of time it has been pending before the agency.”
Thus, the CDP argues, “in determining whether the FEC’s ‘failure to act is contrary to law,’ the pertinent time period should now be over one year, rather than four months,” and the court should allow it to update the complaint accordingly.
Whether the district court will agree is another matter: The court might well conclude that there is no need to update the complaint merely to state that more time has passed since its filing.
It is equally plausible, though, that the court will allow the supplemental filing as innocuous.
The FEC has told the CDP—which in turn informed the court—that it opposes the motion to supplement the complaint.
These procedural machinations, however, serve solely as a sideshow to the real news: The FEC is not doing its job.
That is likely what prompted Dan Backer, the D.C.-based attorney representing the CDP, to push for supplementing the complaint—to expose the FEC’s inexcusable inaction.
“It’s outrageous that the FEC has sat around and done nothing – especially with such a detailed, comprehensive paper trail handed to them,” Backer told The Federalist.
“It smacks of the same Deep State culture that shielded April Sand,” he said, in reference to the former FEC attorney “who played politics on the job,” by among other things “participat[ing] in a Huffington Post Live internet broadcast via webcam from an FEC facility, criticizing the Republican Party and then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”
But Sand escaped criminal prosecution for violating the Hatch Act when the “Federal Election Commission recycled her hard drive before evidence could be recovered.”
Now, for more than a year, the FEC has ignored its statutory duty to address the CDP’s administrative complaint that laid out solid evidence that during the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and the state Democratic parties illegally laundered nearly $84 million in campaign contributions.
“But they also don’t want anyone doing the job they refuse to do,” Backer said in reference to the FEC’s motion to dismiss the CPF’s lawsuit.
Further, the FEC’s inaction holds significance far beyond the old news of Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential run: “The 2020 cycle has already started, and top-tier national Democratic contenders are already lining up,” Backer notes, adding that “Mark Elias of Perkins Coie, who represented both Clinton and the DNC during the 2016 campaign, is signed up with Kamala Harris.”
“If the FEC doesn’t get off its backside and act, or let others do it as the statute envisions, I have no doubt we’ll see multiple candidates repeating this scheme,” Backer warns.
The election-law lawyer is likely correct, although the candidates have likely learned a few tricks since Hillary’s presidential run: Make sure the paper trail shows the funds passing through the state Democratic parties’ accounts, and don’t publicly admit that a candidate controls the DNC.
Oh, and visit Wisconsin.