The Revolving Door Of Political Operatives And Journalism

Glenn Instapundit oft refers to Journalists as “Democratic Operatives with Bylines.” It would be amusing if it were less true.

Sketchy firm behind Trump dossier is stalling investigators

By Paul Sperry, the New York Post

A secretive Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party.

The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month threatened to subpoena the firm, Fusion GPS, after it refused to answer questions and provide records to the panel identifying who financed the error-ridden dossier, which was circulated during the election and has sparked much of the Russia scandal now engulfing the White House.

Fusion GPS, per their web site:

Fusion GPS is based in Washington, DC and provides premium research, strategic intelligence, and due diligence services to corporations, law firms, and investors worldwide.
We offer a cross-disciplinary approach with expertise in media, politics, regulation, national security, and global markets.

Their known activities suggest they are primarily and Opposition Research organization.

The NY Post continues:

Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump. In 2012, Democrats hired Fusion GPS to uncover dirt on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And in 2015, Democrat ally Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to investigate pro-life activists protesting the abortion group.

More, federal records show a key co-founder and partner in the firm was a Hillary Clinton donor and supporter of her presidential campaign.

In September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated money to Hillary’s campaign.

Property records show that in June 2016, as Clinton allies bankrolled Fusion GPS, Fritsch bought a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Bethesda, Md., for $2.3 million.

Fritsch did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Fusion GPS said the firm’s work is confidential.

Sources say Fusion GPS had its own interest, beyond those of its clients, in promulgating negative gossip about Trump.

Per cited sources on Wikipedia, the aforementioned Opposition Reseach projects included:

Opposition research on Mitt Romney[edit]
Fusion GPS was hired by Democrats in 2012 to do opposition research on Mitt Romney. Some of the work that received the most media attention was focused on investigating the marriage records of a large donor to the Romney presidential campaign, Frank VanderSloot.[2][3]

Planned Parenthood[edit]
In August 2015, Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to defensively investigate the veracity of a series of undercover videos released by pro-life activists that appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials agreeing to sell fetal tissues obtained through abortions to medical researchers.[2] Fusion GPS hired video and transcription experts to analyze the videos and summarized the findings in a forensic report.[4] The report attempted “to undermine the videos’ political, legal and journalistic value”.[5] It was provided to U.S. congressional leadership as evidence as they were considering funding and other issues related to Planned Parenthood operations.

Pro-Russia lobbying activities[edit]
During 2015 and 2016, Fusion GPS led a pro-Russia campaign to stop the Magnitsky Act, which places sanctions on Russian human rights abusers.[6][7] The act was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor who died while being held without charges in a Russian government prison after he revealed that the Kremlin had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from Hermitage Capital Management.

On March 30, 2017, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa called for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into connections between Fusion GPS and Russia, and an inquiry as to whether Fusion GPS was acting as an unregistered foreign agent.[6]

[2]/sup>Goodman, Alana (13 January 2017). “Meet the D.C. espionage firm which ordered dirty dossier on Trump”. Mail Online. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
[3]”The Sordid History of the Firm Behind the Trump-Russia Dossier”. Weekly Standard. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
[4] Hemingway, Mark (27 August 2015). “Politico & NYT Fail to Mention Report Exonerating Planned Parenthood Produced By Democratic Opposition Research Firm”. Weekly Standard. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
[5] Haberkorn, Jennifer (27 August 2015). “Report for Planned Parenthood finds sting videos manipulated”. POLITICO. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
[6] a b c Zimmerman, Malia (31 March 2017). “Company linked to Trump-Russian dossier has its own Kremlin connection, US senator says”. Fox News. Retrieved 16 April 2017. According to a complaint filed with the Justice Department, Fusion GPS headed the pro-Russia campaign to kill the Global Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions on Russians designated as human rights abusers.

One must wonder who hired them…

The revolving door issue centers on the partners who founded Fusion GPS:

The company was co-founded in 2009 by Glenn R. Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter. The other co-founders are Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catan, who are also former reporters for The Wall Street Journal.

As Charles Glasser, writing at Instapundit noted:

The fact is that that firms creating opposition research are often staffed with former journalists, who use their connections in the editorial world to redistribute this sort of thing. (Naturally, there are “right-leaning” as well as “left-leaning” firms of this sort.) Work in a newsroom long enough and you’ll begin to recognize “oppo” when you see it. Sadly, a number of journalists who were laid off by big news outfits and can’t find work elsewhere have resorted to doing this kind of work. As news organizations cut back on reporting, it’s easier than ever to get “oppo” published as news without sufficient fact-checking. What’s the opposite of a virtuous circle?

This could become very interesting indeed as the ball of secrecy is unraveled and parties have to start answering questions under oath…

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