GOP Activist ‘Committed Suicide’ Days After WSJ Interview Detailing How He Sought DNC Emails
Rochester, MN – A GOP operative and donor from the Chicago area, Peter W. Smith, who was investigating and working to obtain Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails from Russian hackers allegedly killed himself in a Rochester, Minnesota hotel room only days after discussing his efforts with the Wall Street Journal, according to public records.
Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson on Wednesday called his manner of death “unusual,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Records show that Smith’s death occurred at the Aspen Suites in Rochester, and they list the cause of death as “asphyxiation due to displacement of oxygen in confined space with helium.” Police allege that Smith used a plastic bag and a helium tank to kill himself.
Smith was renowned for engaging in opposition research, the formal term for digging up dirt about political rival candidates, which could have made him a potential target in the high stakes game of power politics.
For many years, President Bill Clinton was Smith’s primary target. The wealthy businessman was partially responsible for exposing the “Troopergate” allegations about Bill Clinton’s sex life. He also discussed financing a probe of a 1969 trip Bill Clinton had taken while in college to the Soviet Union, according to a report in Salon magazine.
According to a report by the Chicago Tribune:
In a room at a Rochester hotel used almost exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives, Peter W. Smith, 81, left a carefully prepared file of documents, which includes a statement police called a suicide note in which he said he was in ill health and a life insurance policy was expiring.
Days earlier, the financier from suburban Lake Forest gave an interview to the Journal about his quest, and it published stories about his efforts beginning in late June. The Journal also