Stephen K. Bannon could barely finish his sentences as he implored the listeners of his Breitbart News radio show to see the new movie “Clinton Cash.”
It was July 20, the homestretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, and Bannon was describing Bill and Hillary Clinton as “scumbags” and “bandits” who had made millions of dollars through political connections.
“Hillary and Bill Clinton are the two single-biggest grifters ever to run for president of the United States,” Bannon told his guest, Peter Schweizer, the author of the book behind the movie.
Bannon, now President Trump’s chief strategist, framed his radio show that day as an urgent effort to reveal important information for voters — but there was more to it.
The show and “Clinton Cash” were components of an intricate multimedia machine comprising nonprofit organizations and private companies that Bannon had leveraged to advance his conservative, populist agenda and bring in millions of dollars. That effort ultimately helped propel Trump into the White House and Bannon into national prominence.
A close look behind Bannon’s radio broadcast that day offers insights about how that machine worked.
As it happened, the research behind “Clinton Cash” had been funded by the Government Accountability Institute, or the GAI, a tax-exempt public charity that Bannon had created a few years earlier and that had paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars as executive chairman, documents show.