The Barack Obama presidential campaign hired Fusion GPS in 2012 to dig up dirt on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to a book released on Tuesday.
The Obama campaign hid its payments to Fusion GPS through its law firm, Perkins Coie. The arrangement is similar to the one that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee used to pay Fusion for its investigation of Donald Trump in 2016.
That contract led to the creation of the infamous Steele dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
“In 2012, Fusion GPS was hired to do opposition research on Mitt Romney for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign,” reads “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and Donald Trump’s Election.”
The book is written by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, two veteran reporters who met during the 2016 campaign with Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
“As had become standard practice in the shadowy world of ‘oppo’ research, the Obama campaign’s payments to Fusion GPS were never publicly disclosed; the money paid to the investigative firm was reported on campaign disclosure reports as legal bills to the campaign’s law firm, Perkins Coie,” the book reads.
The Obama for America committee paid Perkins Coie around $3 million during the 2012 election cycle, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, A vast majority of the payments were earmarked for “Legal Services.”
It is not clear how the law firm paid Fusion GPS for its research on Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.
Perkins Coie received more than $12 million from the Clinton campaign and DNC during the 2016 election cycle. Fusion GPS was paid just over $1 million for its research on Trump. The oppo firm paid Steele just under $178,000 for his work on the dossier.