We have previously discussed allegations that Marc Elias, the former general counsel for the Clinton Campaign and partner at the firm Perkins Coie, lied to conceal the campaign’s funding of the infamous Steele Dossier. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has now fined the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for violating election rules in hiding that funding. Elias has previously been sanctioned for his conduct in litigation and recently lost an effort to gerrymander the Maryland voting districts. The alleged Elias’ lies would ordinarily seem a professional liability for any attorney but they seem an actual professional attraction for Elias.
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.
“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 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.”
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.