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The RNC made payments to a Virginia-based firm, Hamiliton Trading Group, which has expertise in Russia. The firm’s work was handled by Gennady Vasilenko, a former Russian spy and turned friend of the firm’s founder.
RNC intended to prove conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and her work while secretary of state. The documents concluded Clinton’s interventions in Bulgaria and Israel were made on behalf of energy companies who were previous Clinton Foundation donors.
The payments to Hamilton Trading Group came out to $41,500. When the RNC reported these payments to the Federal Election Commission, the RNC alleged the money was to establish security measures at its headquarters.
The firm’s co-founder and former CIA officer, Ben Wickham, explained his initial statements were not misleading. “I’m not denying that I wasn’t totally forthcoming, but I’m telling you why,” Wickham told Politico. “The security stuff that we did, which is legitimate, was not covered by any kind of a confidentiality agreement, so I can discuss that.”
Although the firm claimed the money had no connection whatsoever to Russia, the firm’s members have done security work in Moscow.
Nidia Cavazos is a multimedia journalist with an emphasis on political reporting. She's contributed to Univision, KXAN, and USA Today College, and she was named one of six NBC Fellows by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2017.