(Article republished from JonathanTurley.org)
On March 29, the FEC imposed a relatively small fine of $8,000 for Clinton and $105,000 for the DNC. However, it is the basis rather than the size of the fine that is so notable.
The FEC found that Clinton campaign and DNC payments to Fusion GPS were funneled through Perkins Coie and Elias. As the campaign denied funding the dossier, these payments were concealed as “legal advice and services.” The FEC said the law firm, Perkins Coie, paid Fusion $1,024,407.97 for the dossier in 2016.
Elias has featured prominently in the filings of Special Counsel John Durham. The key to many of these operations is someone referred to by Durham as “Campaign Lawyer-1,” who is now known to be Elias. Elias was called before the grand jury.
It was Elias who made the key funding available to Fusion GPS, which in turn enlisted Steele to produce his now discredited dossier on Trump and his campaign.
During the campaign, a few reporters did ask about the possible connection to the campaign, but Clinton campaign officials denied any involvement. It was only weeks after the election that journalists discovered that the Clinton campaign hid payments for the Steele dossier as “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to Perkins Coie.
New York Times reporter Ken Vogel said at the time that Elias denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”
“It was not just reporters who asked the Clinton campaign about its role in the Steele dossier. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was questioned by Congress and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress.”
Elias’ former partner, Michael Sussmann, has been indicted by Durham.
It is not known if Elias is a target for possible indictment.
Elias also was the subject of intense criticism after a tweet that some have called inherently racist. Democrats used the recent Georgia election law as a rallying cry for federalizing elections by labelling the law, as described by President Biden, “Jim Crow on steroids.” Biden has been repeatedly called out for demonstrably false statements about the law. Elias argued that Georgia voters could not be expected to be able to read their driver’s licenses correctly — a statement that seemed to refer to minority voters who would be disproportionately impacted by such a requirement.
Elias was back in the news on another defeat in court last week. He filed in support of an abusive gerrymandering of the election districts in Maryland that a court found violated not only violated Maryland law but the state constitution’s equal protection, free speech and free elections clauses. The court found that the map pushed by Elias “subverts the will of those governed.”
Elias has been accused of making millions from gerrymandering and challenging election victories by Republicans (while condemning such actions by Republicans as “anti-Democratic”). He was involved in the New York redistricting that was ridiculed as not only ignoring the express will of the voters to end such gerrymandering but effectively negating the votes of Republican voters.
It is clear that none of these controversies will alter Elias’ conduct or such tactics. Indeed, they appear to be a draw from some Democrats and the media. CNN recently asked Elias “what should we be doing differently” in covering elections. He chastised the media for not having enough of a a “pro-democracy slant,” which appears to mean a more Democratic slant.
After the FEC fine, DNC spokesman Daniel Wessel called the complaints over their hiding the funding of the dossier (and public denials before the election) are “silly.”
It has been a bad week for Elias, but these headlines only seem a draw for some in Democrats that Elias is the precisely the type of attorney that they want in case pursuing gerrymandering and election challenges.
Read more at: JonathanTurley.org