With the release of a whole new batch of Wikileaks documents this week covering the email correspondence of the DNC, many journalists rushed to examine the trove of 19,000 emails and 8,000 attachments in search of a big story. In no time at all, we were hearing what sounded like an astounding revelation: that the Democratic National Committee had made payments to Donald Trump. However, upon closer examination, it is clear that the spreadsheet in question is merely a list of donations and donors to the Trump campaign. How did the DNC get a copy of that list? Very simple. All presidential candidates are required to disclose this information in an FEC report. Once filed, these documents are available to the public at Federal Election Commission site.
The spreadsheet in question, listing May donations to the Trump campaign, was an attachment to an email from Lindsey Miller to the Democratic National Committee, discussing the financial status of each of the campaigns for the presidency of such diverse candidates as Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and organizations such as the Great America PAC and the RNC Convention Fund.
One of the interesting tidbits in the email was about Chris Christie: “The RNC and NRSC both paid to rent his lists. I’m going to check to see if they did the same for the other drop outs or if this was a favor to help him pay off his debt,” Miller wrote.
However, there was nothing in the email or any of the attached spreadsheets to indicate that the DNC had made payments to Donald Trump or his family. The attachments were all public documents that any one of us could have gotten access to at the Federal Election Commission. If there had been a deep, dark conspiracy between the DNC and Donald Trump, it would not be lying in plain view on a government website.
The great bulk of leaked emails is full of not-very-surprising facts that are not so secret after all. So did the DNC pay Donald Trump to run against Hillary? There is not a shred of evidence to support such an accusation. But it would make a good story!
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