A new whistleblower has emerged to file a complaint alleging that the anti-Trump “whistleblower” may have violated federal law by setting up a GoFundMe page and soliciting more than a quarter-million dollars, Fox News reported on Tuesday. “It’s whistleblower-on-whistleblower,” the new complainant’s attorney told Fox.
In a complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), the unidentified whistleblower alleges that the anti-Trump complainant has raised over $227,000 from approximately 6,000 individuals, which “clearly constitutes” gifts to a current intelligence official in possible violation of employee statutes.
The anti-Trump complainant has been identified online as Eric Ciaramella, 33, a CIA analyst, and partisan Democrat who strongly opposes President Trump’s Ukraine policies. ICIG Michael Atkinson received his Ukraine complaint in back in August.
The new complaint alleges that some of the GoFundMe donations may have come from prohibited foreign sources, and asks that the ICIG look into whether any “foreign citizen or agent of a foreign government” contributed. It further alleges that the anti-Trump complainant and his legal team seem to be exploiting their access to classified information.
According to Fox News, the individual reporting the allegations is “the holder of a top-secret SCI security clearance and has served in government.”
Tully Rinckey PLLC is the law firm handling the whistleblower’s complaint about the fundraising.
“I have not seen anything on this scale,” Anthony Gallo, the managing partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC, told Fox News. “It’s not about politics for my client — it’s whistleblower-on-whistleblower, and [my client’s] only interest is to see the government ethics rules are being complied with government-wide.”
The new ICIG complaint alleged that the donations through the GoFundMe page indeed constitute a “gift” for a federal employee, and that they were made due to the whistleblower’s official “status, authority or duties.” It further alleged that the whistleblower and his legal team appeared to be exploiting their access to classified information.
In a letter to Atkinson, Gallo wrote: “[M]y client believes … that the federal employee you are protecting and their attorneys apparently have strategically weaponized their alleged whistleblowing activities into a very lucrative money-making enterprise using a charity incorporated under a different name than the trade name it is using for fund-raising purposes, which would appear to my client to be a clear abuse of the federal employee’s authority and access to classified information.”
“We are requesting you investigate whether [criminal statutes or regulations have] been violated by the federal employee you are protecting when they reportedly requested an investigation into a matter that they had no direct personal knowledge of, and on account of which they were able to obtain sizeable gifts from unknown persons because of their official duty,” Gallo concluded.
The Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigations division has been notified, the Complaint noted.
By establishing a GoFundMe campaign, the anti-Trump complainant joins two other deep state operatives who have run into legal trouble—former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI agent Peter Strzok.
But, as Fox noted, those campaigns were different because they started after McCabe and Strzok had left government service.
“I hope that it’s acted on expeditiously,” Gallo told Fox News. “The time is ripe to address these issues.”
Fox News reported back in September that the nonprofit Whistleblower Aid (co-founded by “whistleblower” attorney Mark Zaid) worked with the anti-Trump “whistleblower’s” attorneys at the Compass Rose Legal Group (Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, who is also a lawyer for Whistleblower Aid) to set up the GoFundMe.
In other words, the anti-Trump complainant’s lawyers set up the GoFundMe.
Zaid and Bakaj called it a way to “help support the Intelligence Community Whistleblower [to] raise funds.”
The GoFundMe page itself states:
A U.S. intelligence officer who filed an urgent report of government misconduct needs your help.
This brave individual took an oath to protect and defend our Constitution.
We’re working with the whistleblower and launched a crowdfunding effort to support the whistleblower’s lawyers.
The fundraising page also states that “donations will only be accepted from U.S. citizens,” but, as Fox News pointed out, “the majority of the GoFundMe donors to the whistleblower’s campaign were not named.”
The ICIG will need to subpoena the website to obtain more information about the donors, legal experts said.
Earlier this year, according to Fox, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) warned federal government employees that they “may not accept any gift given because of the employee’s official position,” meaning that the gift would “not have been given had the employee not held the status, authority, or duties associated with the employee’s federal position.”
The OGE also stated that gifts may not be accepted from “prohibited sources,” including anyone who “conducts activities regulated by the employee’s agency” or who “has interests that can be affected by the performance or non-performance of the employee’s official duties.”
Asked about the complaint, Bakaj told Fox News that the fundraising has complied with the law.
“Any fundraising efforts for the Intelligence Community Whistleblower have complied with federal laws, including ethics requirements. Should any governmental agency properly inquire we would, of course, cooperate,” he said in a statement.
Interestingly enough, Whistleblower Aid has been paying a progressive PR group big money to help them with messaging, Fox News found.
The group’s founder Matt Dorf says on the West End Strategy Team website that he “influences progressive politics, skillfully shifting the conversation to achieve the goals of West End Strategy clients.”
On its “Values” page, Strategic communications claims that it “succeeds when it inspires change.”
West End Strategy Team partners with clients we believe in to achieve results that raise national public awareness, influence policy at all levels, and drive social change.
The group uses a photo from a protest during the failed Obama era “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign as its cover photo.
The anti-Trump complainant alleges that the president tried to pressure Ukraine to announce politically advantageous investigations, prompting the Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry.
Recently unearthed tweets revealed however that “whistleblower” attorney Zaid has been working toward the impeachment of President Trump since the early days of his administration. As Fox News reported last week, in addition to countless other anti-Trump tweets, the attorney in January of 2017 tweeted about the beginning of a “coup” against the president.
In response to Fox’s reporting, Zaid claimed that his tweets as reflected “the sentiments of millions of people” at the time.