Marc Elias, Democratic Campaign Arm Hit With FEC Complaint For Allegedly Misclassifying Legal Payments

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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Democratic lawyer Marc Elias and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are the subjects of a complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that they misclassified payments.

The Elias Law Group was paid nearly $5.2 million by the DCCC from Oct. 2021 to July 2022 for legal services classified as “RECOUNT LEGAL SVCS,” despite no federal recounts taking place in that time period, and months to go until the Nov. 2022 midterm elections, according to an FEC complaint brought on April 10 by the Committee to Defeat the President, an anti-Biden Super PAC. (RELATED: Biden’s HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Violated The Hatch Act, Office of Special Counsel Says)

After July 2022, Elias’ group received an additional $7.3 million for recount-related services for the midterm elections, the complaint alleges. Elias’ firm was tasked with preparing for potential recounts, monitoring the conduct of the election and handling post-election disputes.

“The more likely explanation is the DCCC, with the cooperation of the Elias Law Group, misreported the purpose of some or all of this $5.2 million in payments to the Elias Law Group to shield their activities from public scrutiny,” the complaint states. The Committee to Defeat the President’s complaint, an April 11 letter from the committee to the Justice Department and an April 17 letter from the FEC acknowledging the complaint were obtained by the Daily Caller.

“I hope that you will not allow the Biden Administration’s political appointees within the Department of Justice to allow President Biden’s close political allies to gain an unfair advantage in the electoral process by violating federal criminal law with impunity,” Committee to Defeat the President lawyer Dan Backer wrote to the Justice Department.

In addition to the “recount” payments, the DCCC also paid Elias Law Group over $1 million for “legal services rendered” and “headquarters legal services” from 2021 to 2022 and reported the payments as “other federal operating expenditures.”

Elias was let go by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in April over “strategic differences,” ending a relationship that began in 2009. He infamously spearheaded the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign’s work with opposition research firm Fusion GPS to create a dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

The resulting Steele Dossier became a central component of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign for allegedly colluding with Russia during the 2016 election. Mueller’s probe did not find collusion between Trump and the Russians, and the Steele Dossier was largely debunked after the investigation concluded.

Clinton’s failed presidential campaign and the DNC were fined by the FEC in 2022 for misreporting payments towards the dossier as legal expenses instead of as opposition research.

“For years, the infamous Marc Elias and the corrupt Democrats in his orbit have violated federal campaign finance laws, and it’s high time to hold them accountable. Americans deserve to know the truth about the Democratic Party’s shady money laundering schemes, especially when campaign funds are supposed to be spent in one way and they get spent in another,” Backer said in a statement.

“Based on the Committee’s robust research, and Elias’ own shady past, it seems pretty clear that Elias and other Democrats have engaged in false reporting, and that cannot go unchecked.”

Elias Law Group and the DCCC did not respond to requests for comment.