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A nonprofit heavily backed by liberal donors was set up to combat “disinformation,” but new tax documents reveal that the group paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2020 to the researchers who created the discredited Steele dossier.
The Democracy Integrity Project paid out $521,000 to Christopher Steele and $405,000 to Fusion GPS last year, according to recently publicized tax forms.
“[Democracy Integrity Project] seeks to protect the integrity of democratic elections around the world primarily by engaging and managing a network of experienced organizations and individuals who work to uncover details, through research and data analysis, of efforts by foreign actors, including foreign governments, to interfere in democratic elections and to educate the general public about such activities,” the organization states on its 990 tax form.
The tax form goes on to say that the nonprofit “reports original, credible, and fact-based information” and that their mission is to “educate the public on matters such as foreign election interference, global extremism, corruption, and coordinated disinformation.”
The Democracy Integrity Project paid generously for “research consulting” from Walsingham Partners Ltd. and Bean LLC. Steele is the director of Walsingham Partners Ltd, and Bean LLC is a subsidiary fund operated by Fusion GPS.
Steele worked with Fusion GPS, a research firm hired by Marc Elias, a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC, to compile the Steele Dossier, a document that became the subject of an intense media frenzy after it falsely asserted connections between former President Trump and the Russian government. It also claimed that the Kremlin had blackmail material on Trump, including a tape of prostitutes urinating on him in a Moscow hotel.
Special Counsel John Durham indicted Russian national Igor Danchenko, who is believed to be a sub-source of Steele’s used in the dossier, earlier this month. The authenticity of information in the dossier was questioned early on, though the situation quickly spun into a media circus, with multiple mainstream news outlets pushing the disinformation as legitimate.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post was forced to quietly edit and add notes to over a dozen articles that inaccurately identified one of the key sources dossier, saying that they “could no longer stand by the accuracy” of those elements in their reporting.
CNN, who repeatedly hyped the Steele dossier, published a piece earlier this month saying “the credibility of the dossier has significantly diminished.”
“A series of investigations and lawsuits have discredited many of its central allegations and exposed the unreliability of Steele’s sources,” CNN reporter Marshall Cohen wrote. They also raise serious questions about the political underpinnings of some key explosive claims about Trump by shedding new light on the involvement of some well-connected Democrats in the dossier, and separate efforts to prod the FBI to investigate ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.”
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.