- The Democracy Integrity Project, a nonprofit that receives funding from George Soros, paid firms tied to Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele more than $3.8 million in 2017.
- Tax filings show that The Democracy Integrity Project provided its research to “government entities.”
- The groups founder, a former staffer for Dianne Feinstein, has described it as a “shadow media organization” that helps the government.
A nonprofit group partially funded by billionaire activist George Soros paid firms tied to Fusion GPS and dossier author Christopher Steele more than $3.8 million in 2017 to provide research and analysis to “government entities,” according to IRS filings.
The payments made by The Democracy Integrity Project are more than three times what the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS and Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign to investigate Donald Trumps possible ties to Russia.
Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the DNC and Clinton campaign, paid $1 million to Fusion GPS in 2016 to investigate Trump. Fusion GPS in turn paid Steele, a former MI6 officer, nearly $170,000 for a project that resulted in the infamous Steele dossier.
Steeles report, which alleged a “well-coordinated conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the special counsels findings in the 22-month Russia probe.
Daniel J. Jones, a former staffer to California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, founded TDIP on Jan. 31, 2017, seemingly to resume Democrats investigation of Trumps possible links to Russia.
Jones operated what he called a “shadow media organization helping the government” to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He also told the FBI in March 2017 that he received funding from a group of between seven and 10 wealthy donors and that he planned to provide information to federal investigators, the press and lawmakers.
TDIPs tax filing confirms some aspects of what has been reported about the group.
The group planned to work with a “network of experienced organizations and individuals” to gather information on foreign actors efforts to interfere in democratic elections around the world,” according to TDIPs 2017 form 990, which is listed in a database maintained by ProPublica,
TDIP also says it provides “original, credible, and fact-based information” to a variety of organizations, including “government entities.”
The 990 form lists five separate independent contractors, including four that provided “research consulting,” and one law firm, Zuckerman Spaeder.
The group paid $3.3 million to Bean LLC., the holding company that controls Fusion GPS. Another $250,000 was paid to Walsingham Partners Ltd., a London-based firm owned by Steele and his partner, Christopher Burrows.
TDIP paid another London-based intelligence firm called Istok Associates Ltd. nearly $150,000, also for “research consulting.” The company has released investigative reports looking into whether Russia helped fund the Brexit campaign.
Nearly $130,000 was paid to Edward Austin Ltd., a London-based intelligence consultancy operated by Edward Baumgartner, a Fusion GPS contractor. Another $148,000 was paid to the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder, which has represented Fusion GPS in a variety of dossier-related legal matters.
List of independent contractors for The Democracy Integrity Project (2017 IRS Form 990)
The full extent of TDIPs work remains a mystery, as do the identities of most of the organizations donors.
Real Clear Investigations reported on March 20 that TDIP sends out daily newsletters with a roundup of news stories about the special counsels investigation and other Trump-related matters.
Jones has also taken credit for planting anti-Trump news stories. Adam Waldman, an attorney with links to Christopher Steele, revealed text messages showing that Jones took credit for a Reuters news article that raised questions about Russian purchases of Trump properties in Florida.
“Our team helped with this,” Jones wrote Waldman on March 17, 2017, in a text message provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Waldman testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee in November 2017 that Jones told him that Soros, the progressive billionaire financier, was one of TDIPs backers.
That was confirmed in October, when The New York Times reported that Soros donated at least $1 million to TDIP.
TheDCNF has since found that a California-based nonprofit called the Fund for a Better Future (FBF) contributed nearly $2.1 million to TDIP in 2017. It is not clear who provided the donation to FBF as the group does not disclose its donors. (RELATED: Cabal Of Wealthy Donors Funding Fusion GPS-Linked Group)
According to TDIPs tax filings, Jones group received just over $7 million in contributions in 2017 and spent close to $5 million. Of that, Jones received a salary of $381,263. Another $95,914 was spent on travel.
TDIPs link to Istok Associates has not been previously reported.
The companys founder is Neil Barnett, a former journalist who has recently investigated possible Russian influence in the Brexit campaign.
Barnett co-authored a report released on Oct. 17, 2018, for The Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C. think tank, which focused on British businessman Arron Banks contributions to the Brexit campaign.
Barnett also suggested in the report that the Trump campaign received millions of dollars in illicit donations, possibly from foreign adversaries. Barnetts argument hinged on a large amount donations under $200, which is the cutoff point where donors are required to disclose their names and addresses.
Politicians typically hype small-dollar donations, which are seen as one gauge of grassroots support for political campaigns. But Barnett seemingly saw something more nefarious in the outsize ratio of small-dollar contributions flowing to the Trump campaign.
“Trumps campaign team has presented these statistics as a positive, positioning him as a candidate with genuine support from grassroots donors. But, because it is without a doubt technically possible to automate and anonymize these donations electronically, the money actually came from unknown sources,” reads Barnetts report, entitled “Democracy in the Crosshairs.”
Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
There is no evidence that TDIP was involved in Barnetts report for The Atlantic Council.
One of TDIPs founders and board members is Adam Kaufmann, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorneys office. In private practice, Kaufmann served as an attorney for Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan firm that has come under scrutiny for money laundering and embezzlement.
Derwick hired Fusion GPS in 2014. Read More – Source