1/4/18, "Judge Denies Fusion GPS Bid to Block House Subpoena for Bank Records," National Law Journal, Cogan Schneier [Article now available only by subscription. May be available at Free Republic]
"The firm behind the so-called Trump dossier argued the subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee was overly broad."
"A judge on Thursday denied a request from the firm behind the so-called Trump dossier to block a House committee’s [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] subpoena for its bank records.Fusion GPS sued the House Intelligence Committee late last year to block a subpoena for its bank records as part of the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. U.S. District Senior Judge Richard Leon of the District of Columbia wrote in his opinion that the court did not have the authority to rule the committee’s subpoena was overbroad, as the research firm argued.
“While Fusion is correct that ‘Congress’ investigatory power is not, itself, absolute,’ and that it ‘is not immune from judicial review,’ … this court will not-and indeed may not-engage in a line-by-line review of the committee’s requests,” Leon wrote.
The firm is represented by a team of lawyers that includes Zuckerman Spaeder’s William Taylor and Steven Salky, a group from Cunningham Levy Muse and Gibson Dunn and Crutcher partner Ted Boutrous.
Though the bank remains anonymous in the litigation, it’s believed to be TD Bank, and is represented by Duane Morris‘ Joe Aronica and Alexander Bono. The committee is represented by Thomas Hungar.
Fusion GPS dropped an initial lawsuit against the subpoena in November, and negotiated with House investigators in November to narrow its scope. But, the firm ultimately disagreed with the committee over 70 documents.
Those documents included bank records related to transactions between Fusion GPS and 10 law firms. Fusion argued that those law firms did not contract with the firm on any work related to Russia or the dossier, on which Fusion GPS worked, and were therefore not pertinent to the committee’s investigation.
Leon wrote that he could only block the subpoena if there was “no reasonable possibility” that the materials would produce information “relevant to the general subject” of the committee’s investigation. In November, it was revealed that two firms, Perkins Coie and Baker and Hostetler, paid Fusion GPS for research in the 2016 election.
“This fact alone provides a reasonable basis to believe that Fusion’s transactions with other law firms during the same time frame may reveal similarly relevant information,” Leon wrote.
Leon added that the committee also has “intelligence” that suggests Fusion directed the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, to meet with at least five major media outlets to discuss the dossier.
The judge said it was therefore reasonable for the committee to pursue records about Fusion’s work with journalists and media companies.
Fusion GPS also made a First Amendment argument that complying with the subpoena would force the firm to reveal private relationships with customers, exposing political associations. Leon dismissed this argument as well, writing that there was no case law to support the argument that the First Amendment’s promise of freedom of association protects financial records.
“While the opposition research Fusion conducted on behalf of its clients may have been political in nature, Fusion’s commercial relationship with those clients was not, and thus that relationship does not provide Fusion with some special First Amendment protection from subpoenas,” Leon wrote."
Added: FBI, using US tax dollars, paid some expenses of Fusion GPS employee Christopher Steele who compiled Golden Showers Anti-Trump dossier:
3/1/2017, "FBI reimbursed some expenses of dossier author," CNN, Evan Perez
"The FBI reimbursed some expenses of the former British intelligence operative who produced a dossier containing allegations of President Donald Trump's ties to Russia, people familiar with the matter said.
The short-lived arrangement before the US election ended abruptly in part because of the frustration of [UK businessman] Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy, that the FBI wasn't doing enough to investigate the Trump-Russia ties.
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that the FBI and Steele had sought to reach a payment arrangement.
An official familiar with the discussions said the FBI didn't hire Steele as an informant, but that the arrangement instead allowed for expenses to be paid. It couldn't be learned how much he was paid and for how long.
The FBI obtained a version of Steele's dossier last summer and investigators there used it to compare to some of their own work related to Russia's attempts to influence the US election. The FBI used its own sources and worked with US intelligence agencies to try to check aspects of Steele's work. The FBI was able to match some communications that the dossier described as happening between people described and on the dates the dossier described.
[UK businessman] Steele had previous paid deals with the FBI and with other US government agencies dating back years, according to people familiar with the matter. He had helped uncover information that aided the FBI's corruption investigation of FIFA, the world soccer governing body.
In the case of the Trump-Russia dossier, Steele initially had been hired by a Washington research firm working on behalf of Trump's political opponents -- initially in the Republican primary and then later Democrats."
Comment: CNN article above says FBI "didn't hire" Steele, "instead" gave him US taxpayer dollars for "expenses," though, it "couldn't be learned" how many US taxpayer dollars were given trying to throw the election to Hillary. FBI won't reveal if documents exist related to its Steele dealings "pursuant to its national security and foreign intelligence functions." They must've been laughing when they rolled that excuse out.
Added: Fusion GPS was heavily involved with Russian interests including Prevezon Holdings, a Russian state-owned company. From page 7, 1/4/18 US District Court decision: