A complaint was filed last week to the Intelligence Community Inspector General alleging the ‘whistleleaker’ Eric Ciaramella may have violated federal law by illicitly soliciting more than $250,000 from anonymous donors through a GoFundMe page.
BREAKING: A new whistleblower has filed an official complaint with the Intelligence Community Inspector General asking him to investigate whether Adam Schiff's "whistleblower" is breaking the law https://t.co/vXB3t3WB4k
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) November 12, 2019
The complaint raised the possibility that donations may have come from ‘foreign citizens’ or ‘agents of a foreign government’ — both prohibited sources according to ICIG.
Fox News reported:
The complaint, which was filed last week and obtained by Fox News, alleged the donations from roughly 6,000 individuals “clearly constitute” gifts to a current intelligence official that may be restricted because of the employee’s official position pursuant to 5 CFR 2635.203 and other statutes. To date, the GoFundMe has raised over $227,000.
The complaint also raised the possibility that some of the donations may have come from prohibited sources, and asked the ICIG to look into whether any “foreign citizen or agent of a foreign government” contributed.
Tully Rinckey PLLC, the law firm representing the individual reporting the allegations, is closely guarding the identity of their client, though Fox News is told the individual is the holder of a top-secret SCI security clearance and has served in government.
“I have not seen anything on this scale,” Anthony Gallo, the managing partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC, told Fox News, referring to the fundraising. “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.”
Eric Ciaramella’s lawyers have promoted the GoFundMe and other fundraising efforts such as ‘Whistleblower Aid’ for their client claiming only US citizens can donate.
We would appreciate any and all support US citizens can give. https://t.co/mqoJ8cTvJR
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) September 26, 2019
The majority of the donors to the GoFundMe are anonymous and a legal expert told Fox News that the ICIG likely would need to subpoena the website to obtain more information on their origins.
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) warned federal government employees in February 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 said employees may not receive gifts from prohibited sources such as 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.”
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.
“[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,” Gallo wrote in the letter to ICIG Michael Atkinson, the same government watchdog who originally received the Ukraine complaint from the whistleblower.
The complaint made a reference to Whistleblower Aid, also know as Values United, co-founded by Mark Zaid.
“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, according to Fox News.