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Democratic Super PAC to Pay for Dirt on Donald Trump

Correct the Record is taking the unusual step of offering bounties for unflattering information about Donald Trump.
Image: Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to the crowd during a rally, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in Canton, Ohio.Evan Vucci / AP

Hillary Clinton ally David Brock wants your Donald Trump dirt, and he’s willing to pay top dollar for it.

Correct the Record, one of the well-funded super PACs Brock founded, is creating a WikiLeaks-style project to pay anonymous tipsters for scoops, which they’re calling Trump Leaks.

While the effort is focused on uncovering previously unreleased audio and video recordings, Brock is interested in just about anything on Trump — as long as it’s new, unflattering and procured legally.

“We’re chasing everything,” Brock told NBC News. That could be internal documents about Trump’s business empire, his tax returns or perhaps something more personal.

Correct the Record, which is allowed to directly coordinate with the Clinton campaign, has set no financial cap on what they’re willing to pay.

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Posting a bounty for dirt on a political opponent is highly unusual in modern politics and seems to cross a new line in the rules of war. “We’re going to extraordinary lengths because this is an extraordinary situation,” Brock said.

But Brock is no stranger to high-profile stunts. Just this summer, he lined up an anonymous donor who promised to give $5 million to a Veterans charity if Trump released his tax returns. And it's not entirely unprecedented. For instance, Penthouse publisher Larry Flint once offered $1 million to anyone who could prove they had an affair with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Media outlets generally refuse to pay sources for information due to ethical concerns, and Brock suspects that’s kept potential sources from going public with sensitive information. “I understand the prohibition on press paying for stories, but we’re not the press,” he said.

Paid stories have occasionally had major political impact. The scandal that brought down former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford started with a source trying to sell a video of Ford allegedly smoking crack. Entertainment outlets like TMZ regularly pay for big scoops.

Correct the Record came up with the idea after the Huffington Post reported that someone was shopping around a video of Trump attacking singer Barry Manilow, which the news organization refused to pay for.

Brock met with the source and while the video proved unusable, he nonetheless figured there might be other good videos out there, just waiting to be freed with a little financial grease.