The Free Beacon was Fusion GPS’ ‘Republican client’
Since the Washington Post revealed Tuesday that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the Russia dossier there have been questions about who the prior funder of Fusion GPS’ oppo-research was. Here’s the relevant paragraph from the Post:
Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the firm in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Prior to that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.
Today, the Washington Free Beacon revealed it was the “Republican client” which paid Fusion GPS for oppo-research from 2015 to early 2016. The Beacon posted a statement about the arrangement on its site which reads in part:
Since its launch in February of 2012, the Washington Free Beacon has retained third party firms to conduct research on many individuals and institutions of interest to us and our readers. In that capacity, during the 2016 election cycle we retained Fusion GPS to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton. All of the work that Fusion GPS provided to the Free Beacon was based on public sources, and none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier. The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele. Nor did we have any knowledge of the relationship between Fusion GPS and the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie, and the Clinton campaign.
The Washington Examiner posted a brief story explaining a bit more about the Beacon’s arrangement with Fusion GPS:
The original arrangement between the Free Beacon and Fusion GPS involved opposition research into multiple Republican candidates, not just front-runner Donald Trump.
Sources close to the Free Beacon stress that the project, when the Free Beacon funded it, had nothing to do with Russia and did not involve Christopher Steele, the former British spy who gathered anti-Trump dirt in Russia. Steele was retained by Fusion GPS when the project was funded by Democrats, and not in its initial phase, when the Free Beacon was involved.
No money from the Beacon went to fund the dossier because Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, wasn’t hired until after the DNC/Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPS. That was months after the Beacon’s relationship with Fusion ended. All of that was clear from the Post’s story this Tuesday but since then the shorthand has been to suggest that there was a Republican funder of the dossier. CNN even ran a chyron today which read, “Who’s the anti-Trump Republican who helped fund the dossier?”
In any case, it seems the distraction about the Republican funder is over. The Free Beacon hired Fusion GPS to do oppo-research on Trump and other GOP primary candidates but the dossier we’ve been talking about for a year now was funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.