In my recent article, I detailed how board members of the Super PAC, The Democratic Coalition, were paying thousands of dollars to their personal firms. Scott Dworkin’s consulting firm, Bulldog Finance Group, received $79,500 and Jarad Geldner’s firm, FWD Communications, was paid $18,500 by the Super PAC, while they sat on the board of The Democratic Coalition.
As I looked back through The Democratic Coalition’s expenditures, I noticed that the Super PAC had also made payments to the law firm Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams and Sheppard LLC. The most current FEC reports show that they made four $5,000 installments adding up to a total of $20,000 during the 2017-2018 calendar year to the firm.
This is where the story gets interesting.
Looking through New York court records, I found that a Dr. Rafik Benaissa had filed a lawsuit accusing Keep America Great PAC, also known as The Democratic Coalition, of defamation. Why? His lawyers argued that in a press release The Democratic Coalition made claims that Dr. Benaissa “conducted major business dealings with the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more,” according to court documents. In addition, the suit charges the Super PAC with “blatant racial profiling.”
Why would The Democratic Coalition make false claims about Dr. Benaissa? He insists it was because he gave the maximum donation of $2,700 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. When looking through court documents, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP were listed as representing The Democratic Coalition, thus accounting for the $20,000 paid to the law firm through the Super PAC.
According to NY Daily News, one board member stated on record:
“Since we started this Super PAC, our mission has been to expose Donald Trump’s lies, his improprieties and his ties to illicit business practices,” said Jarad Geldner, a senior adviser to the PAC who is also named as a defendant in the complaint. “Our work to that end has relied entirely on previous reporting by well-respected journalists and publicly available information. We intend to defend ourselves vigorously against this frivolous lawsuit, and rest assured, it will not dissuade us from working to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.”
On September 19, 2017, the parties settled. As of now, it is yet to be determined what that settlement was. The Democratic Coalition hasn’t filed its year-end FEC report yet, making records impossible to trace. Attempts to reach Dr. Benaissa were unsuccessful.
This is yet another instance of The Democratic Coalition, which claims to be part of “The Resistance,” using donor money to cover expenses that have nothing do with “resisting” Trump. In this case, the Super PAC made grossly inaccurate claims about an individual, leading to a lawsuit and paying out legal fees and (yet to be determined) settlements. It is certain that at least another $20,000 will not make its way to The Resistance.