Dossiergate and Wisconsin

James Wigderson follows up on the big twist in Donald Trump’s Russian dossier:

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the creation of a dossier of scandalous claims about President Donald Trump. While Democrats have denied any connection to the creation of the dossier, the Washington Post is reporting that Marc E. Elias, a Clinton advisor and DNC lawyer, hired Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

The dossier, compiled by a former British spy working for Fusion GPS, contained allegations of odd sexual conduct and supposed connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The contents of the dossier have been debunked, but not until they were leaked and published by Buzzfeed.

“Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC,” the Washington Post reported. The Clinton campaign, through Elias and Perkins Coie, continued to pay Fusion GPS through the end of October 2016. Fusion GPS has refused to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee regarding the funding of their research. Perkins Coie was paid

Elias and his law firm Perkin Coie are well known to Wisconsin Democrats.

Elias, a well-known political “fixer,” was hired by Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin after her office ignored warnings about problems at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Tomah, WI. According to a report in the Washington Free Beacon, two “dark money” groups founded by Elias, Majority Forward and Vote Vets PAC, then ran ads attempting to defend Baldwin’s record. The money for those groups came from a “Super PAC” associated with former Senator Harry Reid, D-Nevada, called Senate Majority PAC.

The law firm of Perkins Coie was paid $90,000 for the work by Elias for Baldwin.

A call to Baldwin’s Washington D.C. office asking for comment on her ties to Elias was not returned by deadline.

Republicans criticized Baldwin for her ties to Elias and Perkins Coie.

“After helping Senator Baldwin cover up her roll in the Tomah VA scandal, Marc Elias and Perkins Coie have been caught once again lying to the voters in order to protect the political future of Democrats,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “Wisconsin families deserve better and Senator Baldwin needs to immediately denounce the reckless actions of her Tomah crisis attorney.”

The campaign of Kevin Nicholson, the Delafield Republican running for Baldwin’s U.S. Senate seat, also issued a statement critical of the senator. “Tammy Baldwin spared no expense trying to keep the Tomah VA scandal quiet, so it’s sadly not surprising to learn the fixer she hired has a history of spreading sordid allegations to help liberal candidates and causes,” said Michael Antonopoulos, spokesman for Nicholson for Senate. “Tammy Baldwin will say and do anything to hang onto power.”

So this is just a Washington scandal, right? Not really:

Baldwin is not the only Wisconsin Democrat with ties to Perkins Coie and Marc Elias.

Tim Burns, a candidate for the state Supreme Court, and Josh Kaul, a Democratic candidate for state Attorney General, are attorneys with the Perkins Coie law firm. Both campaigns were reached by phone Wednesday, but neither campaign responded to the request for a comment on their law firm’s role in the scandal or if the candidates were personally aware of the work by Perkins Coie and Marc Elias.

According to the Washington Post, “The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in ‘legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015.”

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