- A mysterious nonprofit group backed partially by George Soros and linked to Fusion GPS has investigated President Donald Trump and potential Russian interference.
- The Democracy Integrity Challenge has largely remained a thriller, however The Every day Caller Information Basis has discovered new particulars concerning the group’s board of administrators.
- One board member is an lawyer who has labored intently with Fusion GPS prior to now. The lawyer, Adam Kaufmann, has labored for Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan energy firm accused of bribery and cash laundering.
Days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, a nonprofit group opened up store in Washington, D.C., to proceed a personal investigation into the president’s attainable ties to Russia.
Just a few particulars of the group, the Democracy Integrity Undertaking, have trickled out over the almost two years since its founding.
The group’s founder, a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer named Daniel J. Jones, employed opposition analysis agency Fusion GPS and file writer Christopher Steele as a part of the initiative, he advised the FBI in March 2017. And it has been revealed that billionaire financier George Soros has given a minimum of $1 million to the group and is contemplating giving extra.
However The Day by day Caller Information Basis has obtained Demand Integrity Challenge’s articles of incorporation displaying that a white collar protection lawyer who has labored with Fusion GPS prior to now and a former State Division official have been additionally on the group’s board of administrators. (RELATED: Cabal Of Rich Donors Financing $50 Million Trump-Russia Investigation)
Paperwork obtained by way of a public data request present that Adam Kaufmann, a associate on the agency Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, and Dafna Hochman Rand, the previous deputy assistant secretary of state within the bureau of democracy, human rights and labor, are listed together with Jones as Democracy Integrity Venture board members.
Rand is listed on the preliminary registration for the Democracy Integrity Undertaking, which was filed on Jan. 31, 2017. Her LinkedIn profile says that she labored on the State Division by way of January 2017, although the precise date of her departure is unknown. Rand is just not listed as a board member in a March 31, 2017, submitting, suggesting that she left the group shortly after becoming a member of.
She didn’t reply to a request for remark.
However it’s Kaufmann’s hyperlink to Democracy Integrity Challenge that’s particularly noteworthy.
The former chief investigator on the Manhattan district lawyer’s workplace, Kaufmann has labored up to now with Fusion GPS on behalf Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan energy firm reportedly underneath investigation for bribery and cash laundering.
Kaufmann additionally just lately commented for a New York Occasions story about Trump’s household taxes.
“All of this smells like a crime,” Kaufmann advised The Occasions in a prolonged story revealed in October that particulars numerous tax shelters utilized by the Trump actual property empire. His position with the Democracy Integrity Venture was not talked about.
However a DCNF search couldn’t discover Kaufmann offering quotes for another information tales throughout Trump’s tenure. Jones has stated that considered one of Democracy Integrity Challenge’s aims is to offer info to the FBI, lawmakers and the press.
Neither Kaufmann nor Jones responded to a number of requests for remark.
At Lewis Baach, Kaufmann has represented Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan energy firm reportedly underneath investigation for a bribery and kickback scheme. Along with his work for Derwick, Kaufmann has can also be representing Francisco Convit Guruceaga, a Venezuelan nationwide and Derwick Associates director charged by the Justice Division in July in a cash laundering case involving Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, PDVSA.
For Derwick, Kaufmann labored alongside Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch, allegedly to kill unfavorable tales about their shopper.
Thor Halvorssen, an activist who heads the Human Rights Basis, submitted written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 26, 2017, alleging that Kaufmann and Fritsch met in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2014 with Wall Road Journal reporter Jose de Cordoba, a former colleague of Fritsch’s who was investigating Derwick’s actions.
Halvorssen testified that de Cordoba informed him that Fritsch and Kaufmann confronted him in an try and derail his investigation of Derwick. Fritsch additionally offered de Cordoba with a file of unfavorable info on Halvorssen and different Derwick critics, Halvorssen claimed. A former senior U.S. authorities official advised The Day by day Caller in 2017 that de Cordoba informed him that Fritsch pressured him to melt his protection of Derwick.
De Cordoba didn’t reply to a request for remark. However TheDCNF has obtained an 18-page letter that Kaufmann despatched to de Cordoba on July 14, 2014, responding to the reporter’s questions on Derwick. Kaufmann makes reference within the letter to a gathering he had scheduled with de Cordoba in Caracas.
De Cordoba did do some reporting on Derwick, however his protection was principally associated to authorized developments involving the facility firm. He reported on Aug. eight, 2014, that federal prosecutors and prosecutors in Kaufmann’s former workplace in New York Metropolis had opened an investigation into Derwick’s contracts for energy generators.
Halvorssen, who has since filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit accusing Fusion GPS and Derwick of retaliation, was unwavering in his criticism of Kaufmann, asserting that he shouldn’t be working for a gaggle that calls itself the Democracy Integrity Challenge.
“Adam Kaufmann personifies the polar opposite of transparency and integrity,” Halvorssen informed TheDCNF. “The very idea that Adam Kaufmann is involved in any project that has the word ‘integrity’ means that the project is stillborn and has no credibility.”
Fritsch, who allegedly traveled with Kaufmann to Caracas, has had an identical run-in with one other journalist from his former newspaper.
Fritsch accompanied legal professionals for Theranos, the now-defunct medical gadget firm, at a gathering at WSJ’s workplace in June 2015.
WSJ reporter John Carreyrou was on the time reporting aggressively on Theranos and its fraudulent blood testing equipment. In an try and kill tales that Correyrou was engaged on, Fritsch joined David Boies, the lead associate on the infamous agency, Boies Schiller, and different Theranos legal professionals.
Carreyrou has described the assembly as contentious. Fritsch warned him that he was reporting too aggressively on Theranos, in response to The Washington Publish. Days later, based on New York Journal, Boies despatched a letter to WSJ threatening authorized motion if Carreyrou continued together with his reporting.
Carreyrou’s reporting led to investigations of Theranos, which has since gone out of enterprise. Its former CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, was indicted in California on fraud costs on June 15.
Fusion’s work with high-powered legal professionals is a part of the oppo agency’s modus operandi. The firm was technically employed to research Trump through the marketing campaign by Perkins Coie, the regulation agency that represented the Democratic Nationwide Committee and the Clinton marketing campaign. Fusion has cited attorney-client privilege in lots of its dossier-related authorized proceedings.
It’s unclear what work Kaufmann has achieved for Democracy Integrity Venture since its founding, or even when he stays affiliated with the nonprofit group.
The group’s work general has remained a thriller, however there’s some indication that the group has been behind unfavorable tales about Trump alleging illicit ties to Russia.
Jones offered probably the most perception into Democracy Integrity Venture’s actions throughout an interview with the FBI in late March 2017. He additionally revealed a few of his group’s secrets and techniques that very same month to Adam Waldman, a lawyer who has hyperlinks to a number of gamers within the Russia saga, together with Steele, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
Jones, who additionally operates a consulting agency referred to as Penn Quarter Group, informed the FBI that he employed Fusion GPS and Steele with the aim of “exposing foreign influence in Western elections.”
He claimed he had acquired $50 million in funding from a consortium of between seven and 10 rich philanthropists.
Jones despatched textual content messages to Waldman suggesting that his group was behind a number of anti-Trump information tales. In a textual content message introducing himself as being with the Democracy Integrity Challenge, Jones advised Waldman that “Chris wanted us to connect,” seemingly referring to Steele.
“Our team helped with this,” Jones wrote in a textual content that linked to a March 17, 2017, article from Reuters about Russian investments in Trump’s Florida actual property properties.
Jones additionally despatched a hyperlink to an article revealed by McClatchy alleging that the FBI was investigating whether or not Russians had used bots to affect the unfold of articles at conservative retailers like Breitbart and InfoWars.
Waldman informed TheDCNF that Jones informed him in a gathering in March 2017 that he was working with Fusion GPS. He additionally claimed to have acquired funding from Soros.
The Soros funding was confirmed by The New York Occasions in a report on Oct. 31. A spokesman for the billionaire advised the newspaper that he had given $1 million to Jones’ group and was contemplating donating extra.
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