Posted on September 08 2019
Patriot Legal Expense Fund and Trust
In early 2018 the beltway was buzzing. If you don’t live or work here it’s somewhat hard to describe. What I can tell you there were a lot of whispers and lots of “I can’t put this in writing but call me”...what was the buzz about? Trump, his White House Staffers and the growing Legal F5-Tornado forming in the nondescript office at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
In early April, I wrote about the Patriot Legal Expense Fund & Trust (PLEFT), found here. Today’s entry will be a much deeper and a far more fulsome at that. Like many when this “into PLF&T because my previous entry was me “phoning it in” and naturally howvelse am I going to spend a rainy Saturday.
Keyboard fully engaged.
As a primer, below is the April 19, 2018 which PLEFT published via their YouTube account. This video has only netted 369 views. Me is not sads about that. At a later date I plan to do a bit more digging into who produced PLF&T’s video because there’s something oddly familiar with this video. The lack of unique views/hits, one could argue that’s not exactly viewer saturation or the level of sophisticated use of social media that we’ve all come to expect from Trump-Land.
For now let’s set this aside this sad promotional video and move on to The Who/Why/What/How of PLEFT
At all relevant times I will link to the original data source. As many of you know by now, I have zero issue with showing my homework. Insofar as detractors try to claim there’s no there there. Having original data source tends to undercut the predicable counter argument of, show me the facts. And unlike some on twitter, I’m not one to ever forge documents. Those who do, understand that is a straight up Russian Active Measures tactic, intellectually dishonest and I’m not down with subversion.
So let’s start with the very basics. (full disclosure, some of this will be repeatetive data, previously explained in early April of 2018) The Office of Government Ethics (OGE), pushed this 51 page document at first glance it all looks pretty normal, right?
Please do not tag me with Walter Shaub. That man accused me of being a Russian Agent and actively working to damage our democracy. On November 8th Shaub’s unprofessional conduct and unwarranted attacks on Twitter where he not only made baseless accusations, he then deleted his attacks and blocked me. As far as I am concerned Shaub’s consistent abusive behavior is well documented. He does in fact have a history of randomly attacking people and then deletes his attacks, thus under cutting his credibility. As of late you will notice there’s one thing he literally screams (his use of the caps lock button) about public protest. It’s weird and I want no part of the Shaub drama-train.
Apologies for that drama-train detour, I felt like I needed to take a brief moment and remind you what Shaub did. Again a while back Shaub publicly shamed me for using the word “fat”. Unlike Shaub I took his criticism, educated myself and then made a full throated public apology for my insensitive “fat” tweet about Trump.
Moving along to the OGE document, on pages 1 & 2, I’ve highlighted a few details that should be scrutinized. The date of January 29, 2018 seems relatively innocuous, right?
And granted I am sure it’s not a big deal that on January 29, 2018 PLEFT OGE submission included their Covenants Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for a Corporate Entity that had yet to actually file in the State of Delaware. Right? I mean there’s no way that the CC&Rs for PLEFT would have filed with Delaware’s State Corporation Commission ID # 6739300 on February 27, 2018
Moving along to the CC&Rs pages 2-3. One thing to keep in mind the OGE document, PLEFT clearly indicates the CC&Rs are a “draft”. Which makes me wonder, why the OGE hasn’t updated the PLEFT file with an actual ratified (signed) CC&Rs .
If I were in Congress, I would have the following questions:
1) How are the actual recipients, for example current or former White House Staffers, current or former Campaign Staffers (not the payees, such as law firms) reporting the “income” on their taxes and what mechanism has PLEFT ratified to delineate who’s “legal” bills are paid? What is the reporting schedule for such recipients.
1a) What internal accounting mechanism are in place as to bifurcate “political action” versus paying legal expenses?
1b) Are there any Joint Defense Agreements in place, if so please disclose with whom? Have Mutual Non-Disclosures and/or non-disparagement Agreements executed as a rider or primary condition for those who’s have their legal expenses paid by PLEFT..
WHEREAS, the Fund was formed pursuant to the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act, 6 Del. C. §18-101, et seq., as amended from time to time (the “Act”) by virtue of the filing of the Fund’s Certificate of Formation (as amended from time to time in accordance with the provisions hereof, the “Certificate of Formation”) with the Delaware Secretary of State on January , 2018;
WHEREAS, the Fund was formed to provide assistance paying legal expenses for persons involved in the investigations by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, the inquiries by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and related matters, and any inquiries by other Committees of the U.S Senate or House of Representatives...
I’d like to bring to your attention, sections 2.6 and 2.8, specifically the last sentence of Section 2.6 Purpose because that is in fact confirmation that PLEFT isn’t just paying for staffers legal bills but they are also a political organization. Section 2.6 which reads in part:
(1) to serve as a legal expense fund to raise money and pay for or help defray legal expenses, which can include attorneys’ fees, court filing fees, litigation costs, or other related fees and costs incurred by an Eligible Recipient in connection with the Investigations; and
(2) in doing so, to engage in any lawful act or activity permitted under the Act, or permitted for an entity organized and operated as a political organization within the meaning of Section 527 of the Code.
I think it’s important to correct the record, numerous major news organizations reported that the OGE “approved” the Patriot Legal Expense Fund and Trust. I would argue that’s slightly inaccurate, the OGE did not approve or disapprove, yes I know that’s a crazy attempt at parsing words but that’s verbatim what the OGE letter states. On February 27, 2018 at 4:23 EST PLEFT pushed their First Press Release.
GREEN FOR GO. Let the money roll in. Make it rain bigly Benjamin’s up in here. Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems. I got 99 problems and $1. Who knew that working for Trump would be so expensive and I’m not talking strictly about monetarily expensive, can you really put a price tag on your dignity?
When Donald J Trump asked: “What do you have to lose?” Besides your actual dignity, your professional & Reputational standing within your community (both professional and personal), your overall credibility.
I am not exaggerating when I say I personally know dozens of people and numerous law firms that were asked to join “Team Trump” the resounding response was: I need to think about that of just a flat out NOPE that’s a HARD pass. What I find oddly comical is in Trump-Land if you decline, then you are immediately labled as a terrible and unpatriotic American because Donald J Trump is mah lord and savior. (NOT). The Trump supporters tend to exhibit a cult like mentality. There’s literally zero amount of facts, Indictments, plea deals that will convince his supporters that Donald J Trump is a pathological liar and conman. The fact Trump supporters think they have exclusivity on the word “Patriot” is equally comical. Maybe I’m in the minority but Patriotism means you do NOT support a Person who likely sold our Country to the highest bidders who have repeatedly (unjustly) enriched Trump and his family.
Recipients of the fund may include employees, consultants, or volunteers to the Campaign, Transition, and the Administration who have been involved in the investigations. For purposes of complying with federal ethics rules, thefund will have at least two separate accounts: one for government employees and one for non-government employees.
President Donald J. Trump and his immediate family members are excluded from the def i nition of eligible recipients of this fund.
Legal expenses incurred on behalf of any party which arise from the defense of any charge or indictment for dishonest, fraudulent or criminal activity fall outside the scope and purpose of this legal expense fund.
Sorry for that tiny snarky detour, I’ve been holding that in the tank for a while and finally had to release the beast. Back to the fubar that is PLEFT and the distinction of the 527 status, beyond being a tax exempt “entity” the 527 status allowed PLEFT to also engage in Political Activties. As detailed in the last sentence of Section 2.6
That last sentence referencing Section 527 of the Code, is the IRS Code. This IRS 527 paper is an excellent and informative primer and I encourage you to read it. However if that’s not your cup of tea, allow me to give you a cliff-note summary: a 527 Organization is in fact a big loophole. Unlike the FEC statutes that limit contributions, a 527 Organization has no such financial limitations. But one of the most underrated things about a 527 Group, by the IRS Code they ARE required to report their contributions and expenditures to the IRS.
True story, you can run (again ALL public information) a 527 Entity search on the IRS’ website, via this link with relatively zero effort.
PLEFT Original IRS Filing: 02/27/2018 06:48 PM
If the firm, Wiley Rein rings a bell, well it should. This firm has a long standing relationship with the RNC
See 2015/2016 FEC disbursements made to Wiley Rein, found here.
See 2017/2018 FEC disbursements made to Wiley Rein, found here.
Congressional Leadership Fund FEC ID: C00504530, I now refer you to page 51 of their May 2017 FEC Filing
Republican National Committee, FEC ID: C00003418, I now refer you to Page 8498 & 8499 of the RNC October 2016 Report
PLEFT May 2018 form 8872 $22,000 donation:
What you may not know, there are two options to make fillings, electronic or paper (as in hand/mail deliver). When you use the later that actually adds days, weeks or even months for those filings to be uploaded to a public database. Which means we, the American people did NOT know about Proactive Communications, LLC March 2018 donations until August 2018. This delay in “knowing” can be explained by PLEFT opted to file via paper, as confirmed by the IRS 527 database:
What is of keen interest to me is who’s behind the curtain of Proactive Communications, LLC, enter Mark Serrano. In numerous news articles surrounding this (highly questionable) Defense Fund, Serrano is listen as PLEFT’s spokesperson. A cursory search of his hundreds of TV appearances on the Trump/State TV, dangit, I mean Fox News you would have never known in 2017 he was secretly on Trump’s 2020 campaign and was paid tens of thousands of dollars, see Washington Post Article here.
As previously mentioned above, PLEFT’s Intitial Report shows donations:
- PROACTIVE COMMUNICATIONS 3/26/18 = $15,200
- PROACTIVE COMMUNICATIONS 3/30/18 = $6,800
The disbursements indicate:
- PETRA RMS 3/26/18 = $15,175 for Insurance
- PETRA RMS 3/30/18 = $6,791 for Insurance
PLEFT (filed LATE) Q2 2018:
Again PLEFT’s Q2 2018 IRS 8872 form was due on June 30, 2018, the IRS database shows PLEFT filed an “Amended” form 8872 on November 19, 2018. That’s not my opinion that’s what the official IRS record reflects:
At some point in the Summer of 2018 PLEFT severed their relationship with Wiley Rein and engaged Red Curve. But I am at a complete loss that the MSM didn’t pick up on the secondary point of contact for PLEFT a one Mr Bradley Crate. Why does that matter? See bottom of this blog entry, I promise it’s so worth it.
During this reporting period PLEFT received: $180,529.00 in donations:
- GEOFFREY PALMER, 6/30/18 = $100,000
- PHILLIP RUFFIN, 4/28/18 = $50,000
- CONTINENTAL RESOURCES, INC 5/21/18 = $25,000
- AGGREGATE BELOW THRESHOLD = $5,329
Disbursements reflect two areas, Insurance and Accounting:
- PETRA RMS, 6/30/18 = $20,341 for insurance
- CLIFTON LARSON ALLEN, 5/19/18 = $6,509 for accounting
PLEFT October 2018 Report:
For some unknown reason PLEFT filed this October 15, 2018 report but it’s labled as their “intital” report by all Appearance this is their Q2 2018 Report filed some 45+days after the deadline and of the four IRS filings this is the ONLY report that shows any disbursements to any law firms. During this reporting period PLEFT shows they received: $150,890 in donations.
- ANTHONY LOMANGINO, 7/24/18 = $50,000
- ANTHONY LOMANGINO, 9/24/18 = $100,000
- AGGREGATE BELOW THRESHOLD 9/30/18 = $690
Disbursements show two areas, law firms and insurance:
- PETRA RMS 7/25/18 = $6,780 Insurance
- SCHERTLER & ONORATO, LLP 9/28/18 = $8,438 legal consulting*
- AFS/IBEX 9/21/18 = $6,780 insurance
- AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD LLP 9/20/18 = $114,980 legal consulting**
- AFS/IBEX 8/22/18 = $7,119 Insurance
*SCHERTLER & ONORATO, LLP is the firm that is currently representing long time Trump body guard Keith Schiller. This firm currently represent Sam Patten, so there’s that awesome treason-nugget. What is of particular interest is it appears that the Donald J Trump campaign FEC ID: C00580100
- Payment of $5,333.33 made on 4/24/18 from Donald J Trump for President to SCHERTLER & ONORATO
- Payment of $22,957.92 made on 4/13/18 from Donald J Trump for President to SCHERTLER & ONORATO
- Payment of $66,459.12 made on 1/17/18 from Donald J Trump for President to SCHERTLER & ONORATO
Just take a wild guess who the Treasure of Trump’s campaign is? A one Mr BRADLEY T. CRATE. How is this legal or ethical? No really HOW IS THIS LEGAL.
It is NOT like Brad Crate has left the Donald J Trump for President campaign, how do I know this? Easy if you have a basic understanding of how to search the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) Database you can actually zero in on recent FEC Communications with various political groups. For example here is the October 12, 2018 FEC notification of violation letter to the Donald J Trump for President Campaign...wait that can’t be the SAME Brad Crate as PLEFT?
Speaking of their other client, see twitter thread of W. Samuel Patten below
Cough- Patten & Konstantin Kilimnik go....waaaaaay back. https://t.co/0MBbbVzHD4— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) August 31, 2018
And you might as well read this twitter thread, W. Samuel Patten...oh so many unanswered questions:
I’m going to drill down on a few things I missed yesterday (I was hoping to take a few days off, la sigh)— SpicyFiles (@SpicyFiles) September 1, 2018
1) Senators Burr & Warner issued a joint statement regarding W. Samuel Patten
2) Patten’s 1st written proffer was on May 22, 2018
Grab some coffee data dump starts now https://t.co/DLN4JcyhJE
And yes sometimes I randomly watch CSPAN, Wait you’re telling me that you don’t. Well geez if you did then you would have known about a late night Unanimous Consent from Senator Flake shortly after 9PM on September 12, 2018. At the time I personally knew why this was a WHOA. For months the Senate Committees have REFUSED to turn over Transcripts to Special Counsel Mueller. For the Senate, House anc Judicial wonks we’ve known this has been a bitter fight, largely done behind the scenes but still a fight that rarely spills out into the public domain. So this motion was in fact a pretty big deal but sadly largely unnoticed:
September 2019 Update
The one beneficial aspect of how Trump’s, I mean Patriot Expense Fund and Trust was set up, pursuant to IRS regulations, they are are required to submit a various report. Although they have repeatedly been past due in their filings, so every 90 days or so I have a reminder set up in my calendar. Case in point versus filing electronically they decided to “paper file” their 8872-Form and the IRS didn’t upload their report until April 11, 2019
And even then - you’ll note the following - it’s a one page Report that appears to be for the second quarter of 2018, which was due to the IRS in July 2018 but Patriot Legal Expense Fund and Trust didn’t file until November 2018. Moreover their “out of cycle” report disclosed $180,529.00 in contributions and $27,096.00 in expenditures but they failed to attach the required Schedule A (contributions received) and the required Schedule B (expenditures paid out)
Which means that, we “the people” have no idea who donated and who or what] organizations were paid during this (delayed) Report. I’m certain there’s a plausible explanation and I’m equally certain that the IRS has various enforcement mechanisms. Although I’m not at all confident that Commissioner Rettig would do anything to upset his boss. Donald Trump is like a physically and emotionally abusive spouse. I’d actually go as far as to say he’s an emotional terrorist And it’s clear that the GOP is no longer the “big tent” and “big ideas” party.
Moving on to Patriot Legal Expense Fund and Trust 2019 mid-year Report (which was uploaded to the IRS on July 31, 2019) this covers from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019. They received $300.00 in contributions. Which is odd given the Mueller Investigation didn’t wrap up until late March into early April. Moreover the Congressional Investigations are still under way. Lest we forget the Hicks & Donaldson subpoenas, the Don McGahn subpoena, Sec Ross & AG Roy Cohn 2.0 held in Contempt of Congress...yes purportedly they only received $300.00 in six months...
What I do find odd are the actual expenditures, setting aside the expenditures to various law firms, the next category of funds paid out goes to various “insurance companies”. When you review their reports as a whole, they’ve spent tens of thousands with various “insurance companies” and I’m flummoxed on the who, why, what...
For Example oh February 28, 2019 Three Arbor Insurance paid $29,800. Absent reviewing the actual insurance policy it’s difficult to ascertain what exactly is “being insured” - granted on Three Arbors Insurance website, they list the following under “Our Services” Professional Liability or Errors and Omissions, Media Liability, Property Insurance, Director’s and Officers Liability, Cyber Insurance, General Liability, Worker’s Compensation.
Notwithstanding during 2018 (see IRS reports embedded and dissected above or simply review page 3, found here and here and June 2018 amended report found here. The fund paid Petra RMS throughout 2018 for insurance - yet in the later part of 2018 the Fund starting paying AFS/IBEX for “insurance” - See Pages 3 and 4, respectively - IRS report found here. Which is odd given AFS/IBEX is a Bank and I’m un
Not to belabor the point, when you reread the 2018 Patriot Legal Expense Fund and Trust - IRS Form-871 the purpose is literally in black and white - See Section III PURPOSE;
The purposes for which the Fund is organized are: (1) to serve as a legal expense fund to raise money and pay for, or help defray legal expenses of, eligible persons involved in the investigations by special counsel Mueller and US Senate and House Committees regarding Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and related matters; and (2) engage in any related activities permitted for a Section 527 political entity.
Again I’d really like to know exactly what was/is Insured and what “research consultant” Deloitte did on behalf of he Patriot Legal Expense Fund and Trust because they certainly spent hundreds of thousands with these two entities. And it doesn’t make any sense, at all -SpicyFiles Out
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