EXCLUSIVE: A recently filed complaint to the Director General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG) argues that the whistleblower whose allegations related to the House Democrats' investigation into violations may have violated federal law by indirectly requesting more than a quarter of a million dollars via a GoFundMe page.
The complaint, filed last week and received by Fox News, claimed the donations of approximately 6,000 individuals "clearly constitute" gifts to a current intelligence official that may be restricted by the employee's official position under 5 CFR 2635.203 and other statutes. To date, GoFundMe has raised over $ 227,000.
READ THE COMPLAINT
The complaint also raised the possibility that some of the donations came from banned sources and asked ICIG to investigate whether any "foreign national or agent for a foreign government" contributed.
Tully Rinckey PLLC, the law firm representing the individual reporting the allegations, carefully monitors their clients' identities, even though Fox News says the individual is the holder of a top secret SCI security clearance and has served in the government.
"I haven't seen anything on this scale," Anthony Gallo, executive partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC, told Fox News, citing the gathering. "It's not about my client's politics ̵
"COUP HAS BEEN," WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY NOTICE 2017
In September, Fox News reported that the nonprofit Whistleblower Aid was working with Whistleblower Lawyers at Compass Rose Legal Group to launch GoFundMe.
Visselpiper's lawyers have called GoFundMe a way to "help support the intelligence community's whistleblower [to] raise money", and the GoFundMe page itself says "An American intelligence service … needs your help" in the form of a "crowdfunding effort to support whistleblower's lawyers."  On the fundraising page, it is claimed that "donations will only be accepted from US citizens." But the majority of GoFundMe donors to the whistleblower campaign were not appointed, and legal experts have told Fox News that ICIG would probably need to set up the site to get more information about their origins.
Fox News has reached out to comment on attorney Mark Zaid, who is investigating the complaint. ICIG's office declined to comment when Fox News was reached.
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) warned federal government employees earlier this year that they "may not accept any gift given because of the employee's official status," meaning that the gift "would not have been granted if the employee had no status, authority or obligations associated with the employee's federal status. "
OGE also warned that gifts cannot be accepted from "prohibited sources", including anyone who "conducts activities regulated by the employee's agency" or who "has interests that may be affected by the performance or lack of official data of the employees." "
The new ICIG complaint stated that the donations via the GoFundMe site really constitute a" gift "for a federal employee, and that they were made because of the whistleblowers' official" status, authority or obligations. "It further argued that the whistleblower and his legal team seemed to take advantage of their access to classified information.
"[M] The y client believes … that the federal employee you are protecting and their attorneys have obviously strategically armed their alleged whistleblower activities in a very lucrative money-making company with the help of a charity incorporated under a name other than the trade name it uses for fundraising purposes, which seems to my client to be a clear abuse of federal employee authority and access to classified information, "Gallo wrote in the letter to ICIG Michael Atkinson, the same government watchdog who originally received the Ukraine complaint from the whistle.
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That paragraph was a reference to Whistleblower Aid, also called Values United, founded by Zai d. (Valued United States tax documents show that it paid $ 258,085 for advertising and consulting services to the West End Strategy Team, whose founder Matt Dorf was quoted on the group's website as saying he "influences progressive politics and skillfully shifts the conversation to achieve the goals of West End Strategy Customers. ")
" We ask that you investigate whether [criminal statutes or regulations have] has been violated by the federal employee whom you protected when they allegedly requested an investigation of a matter for which they had no direct personal knowledge and reason of which they were able to receive significant gifts from unknown persons because of their official duty, "concluded Gallo.
Ukraine's whistleblower complaint – about President Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine to announce politically favorable investigations – triggered an inquiry into impeachment that will turn into a public phase this week with the launch of House hearings. However, Trump's GOP allies have been trying to learn more about the whistleblower motivations, and Trump himself has criticized Zaid – after Fox News reported last week that the lawyer had tweeted about the beginning of a "coup" against the president in 2017.  Zaid later defended tweets that reflect the "emotions of millions of people" at that time. The law firm has also urged the White House to stop attacking the whistle and reportedly said that Trump's rhetoric and business are putting the individual at risk.
The latest ICIG complaint, meanwhile, noted that the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation department has been notified.
GoFundMe campaigns have gained popularity in recent months, as former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI Agent Peter Strzok each have established campaigns that raised tens of thousands of dollars.
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But these campaigns began after McCabe and Strzok left the government, making Whistleblower GoFundMe a unique fundraiser. Fox News is told that ICIG usually responds quickly to complaints.
"I hope it acts quickly," Gallo told Fox News. "The time is ripe to deal with these problems."
Fox News & # 39; Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.