A new complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General alleges that the whistleblower whose allegations touched off House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry may have violated federal law by indirectly soliciting more than a quarter-million dollars from mostly anonymous sources via a GoFundMe page.
The complaint, which was filed anonymously 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 under ethics laws.
The GoFundMe pitch has raised more than $227,000 to date, the network reported.
The GoFundMe page was started by John Tye a former State Department official who came forward in 2014 as a whistleblower seeking to publicize the government’s electronic surveillance tactics who is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit law firm Whistleblower Aid.
“A US 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,” Tye wrote on the page.
He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The complaint also raised the possibility that some of the donations may have come from improper sources, and asked the ICIG to look into whether any “foreign citizen or agent of a foreign government” contributed.
Tully Rinckey, the New York law firm representing the person reporting the allegations, was guarding the identity of their client, though Fox News learned that the individual holds a top-secret security clearance and has served in government.
“I have not seen anything on this scale,” Anthony Gallo, the managing partner of Tully Rinckey, 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.”
The complaint alleged that the donations through the GoFundMe page constituted a “gift” for a federal employee, and that they were made due to the whistleblower’s official “status, authority or duties.”
“[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 … which would appear to my client to be a clear abuse of the federal employee’s authority and access to classified information,” Gallo wrote to IG Michael Atkinson, the same government watchdog who originally received the Ukraine complaint from the whistleblower.
The whistleblower, reportedly a member of the intelligence community, filed a complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he asked for probes of Joe Biden, his son Hunter and Ukraine’s purported role in the 2016 elections.
The call came as the president was withholding nearly $400 million in security aid at a time that Ukraine was battling Russian-nacked insurgents in the country’s east.
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