Although the Trump dossier is sleazy and inaccurate, there is actually no US election law that explicitly prohibits those works by a foreign national, according to the federal government.
Since it has been revealed that the British spy, Christopher Steele, was paid by the Democratic party to write the dossier, Republicans have questioned its legality and legitimacy.
The Washington Times asked the Federal Election Commission, which enforces the Federal Election Campaign Act, “Does the act bar campaign payments to foreign nationals such as Mr. Steele?”
“‘The act and commission regulations do not speak to a prohibition on campaign expenditures for services performed by a foreign national,’ a spokesman said.”
This reveals that there are no FEC regulations or campaign act sections that make the pay scheme that Clinton used illegal. The Federal Election Campaign Act outlaws four types of donations from foreign nationals to US campaigns. Foreigners can not donate any money to be used for federal or state elections, advertising, or a presidential inaugural committee.
Foreigners are also prohibited from making “decisions involving election-related activities.” This includes making management decisions and directing campaign funds.
However, this act does not seem to apply to Steele. The money went through lawyer Marc E. Elias, who is representing the DNC and the Clinton campaign.
Clinton first talked about the dossier on “The Daily Show” on Nov. 1, including the piece about President Trump’s involvement with prostitutes. She also noted that the dossier was a “perfectly legal campaign expenditure.”
“‘It’s part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try make sure anything you put out into the public arena is accurate,’ Mrs. Clinton said. ‘So this thing didn’t come out until after the election, and it’s still being evaluated.'”
Steele briefed political reporters during the campaign about the dossier. Some even wrote about the charges in the stories.
The credibility of the dossier is in serious question, but the FBI remains to rely on it, in part or in whole, to begin the investigation of the Trump campaign. Additionally, Republicans are questioning the legality of not disclosing the payments to the research firm Fusion GPS. The Clinton campaign’s finance disclosure shows payments adding up to millions of dollars to Elias’ law firm, Perkins Coie. The dossier cost $168,000.
Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio questioned the entire dossier payment.
“‘I’m not and never was a prosecutor, but I did some criminal defense work back in the day when I practiced law for almost 20 years,’ Mr. Chabot said. ‘It seems to me that a presidential campaign using a law firm as a conduit to pay for activities with which the campaign itself doesn’t want to be directly associated is more than just dirty politics. It’s also quite possibly illegal.’
‘To me, it seems that this is at least a violation of campaign finance laws for failure to accurately disclose the actual recipients of campaign disbursements,’ he said. ‘However, this type of arrangement is not illegal, if it’s not illegal under current law, I fear that we’re risking opening Pandora’s box with all sorts of underhanded activities by campaigns being laundered through law firms and shielded under attorney-client privilege.'”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the witness of that day, refused to answer any questions about the dossier, saying it was part of Robert Mueller’s investigation.