The Democracy Integrity Project — or TDIP — was founded in January 2017 by Daniel J. Jones, a former staffer to California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, with the overt goal of aiding government investigators in their search for Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
A recent investigative report from Real Clear Investigations examined the links between TDIP and Fusion GPS, as well as former British spy and author of the infamous Russia dossier, Christopher Steele. The RCI piece also noted that one of the products of the organization was a daily roundup of Russia collusion-related news articles sent to Hill staffers and friendly news outlets with the express outlet of keeping the story in the news. In short: TDIP was conducting opposition research and sending “news” tips to respected outlets to lend them credibility. The practice of planting stories has gone by another name in other countries: propaganda.
In a new report, The Daily Caller reiterates the relationship TDIP had with key players in the collusion narrative and also notes that one of the backers of the organization was progressive billionaire George Soros. In all, The DC finds that TDIP paid other research and consulting firms “more than three times what the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS and Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign to investigate Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia.” The final amount TDIP paid out to help keep the Russia collusion narrative going was almost $4 million.
The DC deconstructs TDIP tax filings and finds the following:
The group planned to work with a “network of experienced organizations and individuals” to gather information on foreign actors’ efforts to interfere in democratic elections around the world,” according to TDIP’s 2017 form 990, which is listed in a database maintained by ProPublica,
TDIP also says it provides “original, credible, and fact-based information” to a variety of organizations, including “government entities.”
The 990 form lists five separate independent contractors, including four that provided “research consulting,” and one law firm, Zuckerman Spaeder.
The group paid $3.3 million to Bean LLC., the holding company that controls Fusion GPS. Another $250,000 was paid to Walsingham Partners Ltd., a London-based firm owned by Steele and his partner, Christopher Burrows.
TDIP paid another London-based intelligence firm called Istok Associates Ltd. nearly $150,000, also for “research consulting.” The company has released investigative reports looking into whether Russia helped fund the Brexit campaign.
Nearly $130,000 was paid to Edward Austin Ltd., a London-based intelligence consultancy operated by Edward Baumgartner, a Fusion GPS contractor. Another $148,000 was paid to the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder, which has represented Fusion GPS in a variety of dossier-related legal matters.
In October, The New York Times reported Soros himself donated at least $1 million to TDIP. There’s a lot more to the DC report and it reads like a labyrinth of connections and associations, all working toward the same goal: keep Russia collusion in the news and in the collective hive mind of Hill staffers.
Jones described his firm as a “shadow media organization.” Apt description indeed.