The opposition research firm that hired a former British spy to dig up dirt on Donald Trump is the same shady outfit that was hired by Planned Parenthood to put a positive spin on videos showing the sale of baby parts.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Washington D.C.-based Fusion GPS is the firm that hired Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the salacious but unsubstantiated 35-page Trump dossier that was published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal identified Steele, who runs a U.K.-based business intelligence firm called Orbis Business, as the author of the memo. (RELATED: Report Identifies British Spy Who Wrote Trump Dossier)
Steele, a former spy for MI6, the British equivalent of the CIA, relied on contacts in Russia, where he has served, to provide information about Trump’s business dealings, his visits to Russia and his campaign’s alleged contacts with Russian agents.
None of the allegations in the dossier have been verified, and BuzzFeed was hammered throughout the day for publishing the document. There have been conflicting reports about whether U.S. intelligence agencies informed Trump or President Obama about the dossier during classified briefings last week.
After Steele was identified, the next mystery was the identity of his employer.
The Times cleared that up by identifying Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm started by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson in 2010.
According to The Times, Fusion GPS was hired to research Trump in Sept. 2015 by a wealthy GOP donor who was vehemently opposed to the real estate billionaire.
But after Trump emerged as the GOP nominee, the unidentified Republican donor dropped the project. But Democrats who support Hillary Clinton had an interest in the information, according to The Times.
The newspaper reported that Steele, who is reportedly highly regarded in spy circles, gave the information he had compiled to the British government. The dossier also ended up in the hands of FBI director James Comey last month. Arizona Sen. John McCain gave Comey the information last month. McCain has said he had no idea if the information in the memo was legitimate but that he believed it should be looked into.
Fusion GPS is not listed in any campaign finance reports, and it is still unclear which Democratic groups hired the firm.
When Fusion GPS has made the news, it has usually been for similarly sketchy reasons.
In 2015, Planned Parenthood hired Fusion GPS to produce a “forensic report” that looked at videos released by the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the purchase of fetal tissue.
As The Weekly Standard reported, Fusion GPS pushed the report to Politico, which reported that the videos bore evidence of “manipulation.” There was no evidence that the videos had been manipulated, though they had been edited.
Fusion GPS was involved in activities similar to the Trump dossier project in 2012. The Wall Street Journal reported then that a Democratic super PAC hired the opposition research group to go after an Idaho billionaire named Frank VanderSloot after he donated $1 million to a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC.
The Journal reported that a researcher hired by Fusion GPS visited courthouses in Idaho looking for negative information about VanderSloot. Negative stories about him soon began circulating around Idaho and Washington.
As with its contract with the mysterious anti-Trump GOP donor, Fusion GPS’s name is not found in any campaign finance disclosure report.