CHANGE OF HEART
Jill Stein Cooperated With Congressional Russia Investigators
The Green Party candidate had initially protested information requests from lawmakers.
Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate in the 2016 campaign, has now fully complied with congressional investigators scrutinizing Kremlin efforts to meddle in that race, her spokesman told The Daily Beast.
The cooperation is a change in posture for Stein, who in late 2017 and early 2018 protested Senate intelligence committee requests for documents related to her campaign. In the months after that request was made, Stein’s legal team wrote that she would voluntarily provide some of the requested documents. But her lawyers objected to queries about communications with Russians, insisting that the request suffered “from substantial defects, from using vague and ambiguously defined language in certain material respects to being so overbroad in reach as to demand constitutionally protected materials.”
Those objections appear to have been overcome. New legal filings show Stein’s campaign has paid the lawyers handling her Russia-inquiry matters as recently as last December. Stein’s spokesman, David Cobb, said that the campaign had “fully cooperated with the Senate inquiry.” And a source familiar with the Senate probe told The Daily Beast that Stein ultimately satisfied investigators with her participation in the probe.
To date, Stein’s campaign committee has paid the firm handling her legal exposure on the Russia inquiry—a nonprofit called the “Partnership for Civil Justice” (PFCJ)—tens of thousands of dollars for its work. At the end of May 2018, FEC filings showed her committee had paid PFCJ more than $66,000 on top of a $31,536 payment it had made in January. The Jill Stein for President committee—which raised money, in part, on promises to finance recount challenges of the 2016 election results—submitted its year-end filing to the FEC on Wednesday. It showed another $11,232 payment to the nonprofit group.
Cobb said the campaign expected there to be “final bills from PFCJ relating to the completion of their work.” But he stressed that the committee’s funding was still devoted to “oversee litigation and related communication to push for accountable transparent elections” including cases in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Staffers were still being employed, he added, to follow up on the 2016 recount efforts and to assist federal regulators in an “ongoing” auditing of the campaign itself. They were not plotting another White House bid.
“Dr. Stein is not contemplating a presidential run in 2020,” Cobb said
Stein’s interactions with powerful Russians in 2016 raised eyebrows. In December of 2015, she attended a gala for Russian state-run TV channel RT, sharing a table with Vladimir Putin and Michael Flynn (who cooperated with the Robert Mueller probe for more than a year after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI). She sat next to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s long-time spokesman, who told CNN any Russian meddling in American elections would have been “simply impossible.”
In December of 2018, NBC reported that two reports that cybersecurity experts prepared for the Senate committee found that Russian bots enthusiastically boosted Stein’s long-shot campaign. The pro-Stein agitation was part of an effort to help Trump’s campaign by encouraging voters on the left to back her instead of Hillary Clinton. And the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm helmed by close Putin ally Yevgeniy Prigozhin, ran the operation. That revelation came almost a year after Mueller indicted the IRA and a number of its employees for wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiring to defraud the United States.