American Bridge, a liberal super PAC founded by left-wing operative and longtime Clinton ally David Brock, spent $200,000 to bring forward accusations of sexual misconduct against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump before Election Day in 2016, but the group never disclosed the payment on its 2016 tax returns, according to a new report.
New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel tweeted Tuesday that "@American_Bridge did not disclose on its 2016 tax return that it paid $200k to @LisaBloom's law firm to help bring forward sexual assault accusations against TRUMP."
INTERESTINGLY: David Brock nonprofit @American_Bridge did not disclose on its 2016 tax return that it paid $200k to @LisaBloom's law firm to help bring forward sexual assault accusations against TRUMP. https://t.co/LdY8xEaKE6 pic.twitter.com/ZihktELnKq
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) January 2, 2018
Feminist attorney Lisa Bloom seized on the political potency of the multiple sexual harassment accusations against Trump shortly after he secured the Republican presidential nomination in July 2016, reaching out to the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC for money to help her law firm vet claims against Trump, the New York Times reported.
That case collapsed one week before Election Day, but as a result of the attention it generated, several donors reached out to Ms. Bloom "asking how they could help," she said. She told them that she was working with "a few other women" who might "find the courage to speak out" against Mr. Trump if the donors would provide funds for security, relocation, and possibly a "safe house."
Ms. Bloom would not identify the donors. But two Democrats familiar with the arrangements said a nonprofit group founded by Mr. Brock, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, gave $200,000, while the fashion entrepreneur Susie Tompkins Buell, a major donor to Mr. Brock's suite of groups, gave $500,000 to Ms. Bloom's firm for the last-ditch effort.
Bloom's efforts failed after one woman asked for $2 million and then later backed out of coming forward. Other women followed suit by not coming forward against Trump
After the failed effort, Bloom said that she refunded most of the donations, keeping only "some funds to pay for our out-of-pocket expenses" accrued while conducting the vetting and preparing the cases. She went on to say that she did not receive any legal fees for the work conducted and that she was not coordinating with the Clinton campaign "on any of this."
"It doesn't cost anything to publicly air allegations," Bloom said. "Security and relocation are expensive and were sorely needed in a case of this magnitude, in a country filled with so much anger, hate, and violence."
Bloom's law firm kept the money from American Bridge, but refunded the money from Buell, according to Democrats familiar with the financial arrangements.
Brock and Buell, a longtime friend and financial supporter of Clinton, declined to comment on the financial agreements, but Buell did say that she was frustrated by Trump not facing repercussions like other powerful men in political circles and the entertainment industry.
This is not the first time that Brock has been involved in an effort to get dirt on Trump. In September 2016, Brock helped orchestrate a "TrumpLeaks" project with Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton super PAC that he founded. The objective of the project was to obtain damaging video or audio of Trump and use it against him during the general election.
"TrumpLeaks is an effort to uncover unreported video or audio of Donald Trump so voters can have access to the Donald Trump who existed before running for president and before his recent affinity for teleprompters," the website said of the project. "TrumpLeaks can provide some compensation to those who have usable, undoctored video or audio that has been legally obtained or is legally accessible."
The super PAC's website has been offline since December 2016, following the presidential election.