WASHINGTON — Empower Oversight sent a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics urging it to investigate whether staff or members of the Senate Armed Services Committee may have violated the “Gift Rule” in soliciting free investigative research services into the Alfa Bank “covert server” link allegations.
According to recent court filings, in 2017, a Senate Armed Services Committee (Committee) staffer provided to Daniel J. Jones and The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) information the Committee obtained about “DNS look-ups” purportedly relating to Alfa Bank (a Moscow-based financial institution) and Trump Organization servers.
Jones and TDIP agreed to perform research for the Committee, spent a year analyzing the data, hiring technical experts, and preparing a detailed report free of charge.
Providing free professional services or other gratuities to Senate employees raises questions about compliance with the Senate’s “Gift Rule” when the gratuities are worth more than $100.
Special Counsel John Durham announced on September 16, 2021, that a grand jury has indicted an attorney for the Hillary Clinton campaign for allegedly lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in connection with his efforts to advance the claims about Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, following the FBI’s independent investigation, found the claims were “not true.” It is unclear, however, whether the data described in Special Counsel Durham’s indictment is the same data that was obtained by the Committee and provided to Jones and TDIP for analysis.
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