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FEC complaint alleges Blinken, 51 intel leaders broke law to boost Biden over Trump

By Jake Beardslee · November 10, 2023

In brief…

  • Officials accused of illegal "in-kind contribution" by dismissing laptop as Russian disinfo before 2020 election
  • Complaint cites Biden team's alleged role in drafting and spreading intelligence officials' statement
  • Argues letter provided cover for censoring Biden laptop story to aid his campaign against Trump
A conservative legal group has filed an FEC complaint alleging that Antony Blinken and 51 intelligence officials violated campaign finance law through their pre-election efforts to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story.  Joe Biden: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (source: Joe Biden)/Wikimedia

A conservative legal group has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and 51 former intelligence officials violated campaign finance law through their efforts to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story in the lead up to the 2020 election, Fox News Digital reports.

America First Legal submitted the complaint in late October, claiming the officials engaged in an “unreported in-kind contribution” by releasing their “Letter of 51” dismissing the laptop revelations as having the “classic earmarks” of Russian disinformation. The letter was published just weeks before the election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Signatories included Obama-era intelligence leaders like John Brennan, James Clapper, and Leon Panetta. The complaint states that Panetta and Clapper made donations to Biden’s campaign in 2020. It also cites testimony from former acting CIA Director Michael Morell that Biden adviser Blinken had contacted him to discuss the laptop story.

Morell said the Biden campaign helped “strategize” about the letter’s release with the goal of assisting Biden in the election. The complaint alleges the letter provided cover for social media platforms to suppress the story. It argues the statement was a “coordinated political operation” that should have been reported as an in-kind contribution.

America First Legal’s Reed Rubinstein said in a press statement: “In 2020, many of these same officials again interfered in a presidential election, lying about Hunter Biden.” He said the FEC must act if election integrity is to be protected.

The complaint claims the intelligence officials’ statement was part of a coordinated effort involving the Biden campaign to influence the election. It alleges the campaign worked on drafting and spreading the letter to undermine the laptop story for Biden’s benefit.

A 2022 survey from the Technometrica Institute of Policy and Politics found four out of five Americans who followed the laptop saga thought honest reporting could have swayed the election outcome. The complaint says the disinformation effort should be considered an unreported “coordinated communication.”