A complaint filed to the Intelligence Community's Inspector General has accused the Ukraine whistleblower, believed to be a CIA operative named Eric Ciaramella, of violating federal law by soliciting money and gifts via a GoFundMe page that has so far raised nearly $230,000, Fox News reports.
The GoFundMe page
Fox only just received a copy of the complaint, which was filed last week. It alleges that the donations from roughly 6,000 individuals "clearly constitute" gifts to a current intelligence official, which may be restricted because of the employee's official position pursuant to 5 CFR 2635.203 and other statutes.
The complaint also raised the possibility that some of the donations may have come from prohibited sources, and urged the ICIG to investigate whether any "foreign citizen or agent of a foreign government" contributed.
Tully Rinckey, the whistleblower's law firm, is refusing to comment on his identity despite several reports claiming to identify the whistleblower. However, they have at least confirmed that the holder of the top-secret SCI security clearance has served in government.
The fundraising page claims that "donations will only be accepted from US citizens." But most of the donors who have contributed were not named, and it's likely the ICIG will need to subpoena GoFundMe to learn the identities of all 6,000+ donors.
For the record, the whistleblower's law firm isn't trying to obscure the campaign. In fact, they have insinuated that they started the campaign on behalf of their client, perhaps because of the tremendous legal bills that he will likely be saddled with from his campaign to undermine the president.
The whistleblower's attorneys have called the GoFundMe a way to "help support the Intelligence Community Whistleblower [to] raise funds," and the GoFundMe page itself states that "A U.S. intelligence officer... needs your help" in the form of a "crowdfunding effort to support the whistleblower’s lawyers."
Though the ICIG's office refused to comment on the case for Fox, it's worth noting that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) warned federal government employees earlier this year 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."
Still, some pundits insisted they thought the fund raiser would probably qualify as legal. Others said one could argue that the donations count as a "gift", and are therefore illegal.
Whatever happens, it's a moot point. Because it's likely the whistleblower's law firm will take every cent of that money in "fees".
* * *
Full Complaint below: