Secretary of State Antony Blinken and fifty-one former senior intelligence officials who claimed in 2020—without proof—that the disinformation on Hunter Biden’s laptop came from Russia might be charged with campaign funding violations.
In late October, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) received a complaint from America First Legal, a conservative organization headed by Stephen Miller, a former advisor to Donald Trump in the White House, claiming “organized communication” and an undetected in-kind role in the Joe Biden presidential campaign, along with associated organizations, in breach of federal law.
According to the 13-page AFL complaint with 110 pages of supporting documentation, the evidence indicates that the respondents failed to reveal coordinated expenditures that constituted in-kind donations in relation to the infamous “Letter of 51,” in which former intelligence officials said that Hunter Biden’s laptop story had “all the standard earmarks” of Russian misinformation.
According to the FEC complaint, the Democratic National Committee, the Biden Action Fund, the Biden Victory Fund, and the Biden for President 2020 campaign all failed to submit reports on their coordination efforts.
Released on October 19, 2020, the “Letter of 51” was out a few weeks before Biden and Trump’s Nov. 8 presidential contest.
Ex-CIA Director John Brennan, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta were among the Barack Obama-era officials who signed. Michael Hayden, a strong opponent of Trump and former DNI under George W. Bush, also signed.
According to the FEC complaint, Panetta and Clapper gave money to the 2020 Biden for President campaign as well as the Biden Victory Fund.
Acting Director and former CIA deputy Michael Morrell told the House Judiciary and Intelligence Panels in March that Blinken, the then-campaign adviser for Biden, had gotten in touch with him on October 17, 2020, to talk about the news about Biden’s laptop that had been broken by the New York Post.
The House Judiciary Committee’s April statement summarizing Morrell’s testimony was referenced in the lawsuit.
According to the press release from the House Judiciary Committee in April, Morell gave evidence that his conversation with Blinken was just one of his few interactions with the Biden campaign. He also mentioned that after the October 22 debate, he obtained a call from Steve Ricchetti, the chairman of the Biden campaign, thanking him for writing the statement. Morell added that planning for the statement’s public dissemination was aided by the Biden campaign. Morell went on to say that one of his two objectives in making the statement public was to support [former vice president] Joe Biden in the debate and help him win the election.
The intelligence officials’ letter gave social media behemoths like Facebook and Twitter cover and legitimacy to censor access to and dissemination of the Hunter Biden laptop story, which was initially leaked by the New York Post. In the end, the Washington Post and the New York Times confirmed that the laptop belonging to Hunter Biden was authentic. Additionally, in the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden, Biden described the story about the laptop as fake news from Russia.
Complaint to the FEC States
The complaint to the FEC states that there are grounds to suspect that the public statement made by 51 former intelligence officials was part of a planned political campaign to support Vice President Biden’s election as the 2020 presidential candidate, as explained below.
According to America First Legal’s senior counselor and director of monitoring and investigations, Reed D. Rubinstein, this follows a pattern of election involvement.
According to a statement released by Rubinstein, in 2016, senior federal intelligence officers tampered with a presidential election by fabricating claims of Russian connection in an unsuccessful attempt to elect Hilary Clinton.
Rubenstein went on to say that many of these same authorities meddled in a presidential race in 2020 by fabricating information on Hunter Biden. Election integrity is one of the duties of the Federal Election Commission; citizens have a right to know who is collaborating with federal candidates. However, the effectiveness of this right depends on the organization upholding it. Here, the FEC needs to take action.
For this report, neither the Democratic National Committee nor the Biden 2024 presidential campaign responded to questions.