Dems Seek Trump Dirt from Foreign Aid Agency

DNC and allied Super PAC filed FOIA requests for USAID support for Trump companies

Donald Trump
Donald Trump / AP
June 30, 2016

The Democratic Party and an allied Super PAC are looking to dig up dirt on Donald Trump by researching his companies’ work with a federal agency that doles out foreign aid, leaked documents reveal.

The research arm of the Democratic National Committee filed a Freedom of Information Act request in April seeking internal documents and communications from the U.S. Agency for International Development pertaining to Trump and 26 of his companies domiciled abroad.

The document, released by a hacker who claims to have breached the DNC’s computer network, sheds light on a Democratic research operation that got a late start but has recently kicked into high gear as the presidential race heats up.

American Bridge 21st Century, a Super PAC supporting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, is also seeking documents regarding Trump’s communications and interactions with USAID, according to the agency’s FOIA logs.

The details of that request, filed two weeks before the DNC’s, are not publicly available. However, the DNC’s, filed by research director Lauren Dillon on March 17, provides more detail on the records that Democratic opposition researchers are seeking.

Dillon’s request focuses on records from 1980 to present pertaining to USAID grants and other assistance for Trump companies. It also requests "any contact with your agency from January 1, 1980 to the present" from email addresses associated with Trump companies.

The FOIA request is one of a handful filed by Democrats and their allies early this year as the party stepped up its opposition research into Trump, which had been mostly dormant before then.

"It is a little surprising that it took them so long to get around to Trump," Steven Aftergood, a FOIA expert with the Federation of American Scientists, told E&E News in March. "Maybe it reflects a disbelief or negligence on their part."

Around that time, Dillon also filed FOIA requests seeking information on Trump from the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

American Bridge filed two requests with DOI around that time.

According to a Thursday report from the New York Times, the Super PAC is preparing to release a massive research file on Trump.

"It is maintaining an archive of digital video footage, with 6,500 clips of Mr. Trump speaking or being mentioned, going back to the 1980s, and 17,000 hours of footage over all. It has also compiled more than 5,000 pages of research on the presumptive Republican nominee and has 25 trackers monitoring him," the Times reported.