On Saturday, the Fresno Bee dived into a lingering question: How does Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) pay for all the lawsuits he is filing against journalists, satirists, and political critics?
“Nunes, R-Tulare, has filed lawsuits against Twitter, anonymous social media users known as Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes’ Mom, a Republican political strategist, media companies, journalists, progressive watchdog groups, a political research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and a retired farmer in Nunes’ own district,” noted the Bee.
These lawsuits were mainly filed in Virginia — a state with very loose laws against so-called “SLAPP suits,” or meritless lawsuits intended to drown people in legal expenses in retaliation for expressing political opinions. Nunes was assisted in these suits by Steven Biss, a Virginia attorney, and yet except for the suit against the retired farmer, there is no clear record in Nunes’ FEC reports of how he paid for the suits.
“That means Nunes is either paying for the lawsuits out of his own pocket, promising to pay his lawyer a portion of any money they’re awarded in court at a later date, or flouting House Ethics rules that would require him to publicly disclose who is funding the legal work,” concluded the Bee.
The Bee has itself faced public attacks from Nunes after publishing a story about cocaine and prostitutes allegedly found on a charity yacht cruise financed by a winery that Nunes is invested in. McClatchy, the media company that owns the Bee, is the target of one of Nunes’ lawsuits.
“Nunes would have to set up a legal defense fund to accept free legal services or to receive money from a benefactor. Members of Congress have strict rules against receiving generous gifts, with some exceptions for family,” noted the Bee. However, “Nunes has no such fund set up, according to a public records search by McClatchy. Even under the rules of that fund, set up by Congress, no one person could donate more than the $5,000 limit,” according to Campaign Legal Center general counsel Kedric Payne.
Some of Nunes’ critics, said the Bee, have speculated that he may have a right-wing billionaire backing him, in much the same way Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker was financed by pro-Trump tech billionaire Peter Thiel. “But the wealthy benefactor theory seems less probably than in the Gawker case with the wide range of entities Nunes is suing … And, unlike Hogan, Nunes would face penalties if he had a benefactor and did not disclose it. The House Ethics [Committee] could impose fines on Nunes if it found he had improperly received gifts as a congressman, according to Payne.
Virginia defamation attorney Lee Berlik believes the most likely answer is that Biss is working pro bono or on contingency. “It would not surprise me … He’s getting a lot of free publicity – people are learning his name,” he said.
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Watch: Fox News’ Peter Doocy Admits There Are Republicans ‘That Don’t Agree With Voting Rights’
“As you talked about a year ago and working with Republicans, now [President Biden] is talking about Republicans that don’t agree with voting rights,” Doocy complained, “he’s describing them as George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis. What happened to the guy who, when he was elected said: ‘To make progress me must stop treating our opponents as our enemy’?”
Doocy was referring to President Joe Biden’s widely praised speech in support of voting rights earlier this week, referencing civil rights icons and their infamous white supremacist and segregationist opponents.
“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?” Biden asked, to the anger of many conservatives. “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy.”
Psaki as usual was prepared to respond – suggesting Doocy was not “speaking on the level.”
“I think everybody listening to that speech, who’s speaking on the level, as my mother would say, would note that he was not comparing them as humans. He was comparing the choice to those figures in history and where they’re going to position themselves, if they as it – as they determine whether they’re going to support the fundamental right to vote or not.”
Fox News’ Peter Doocy admits there are “Republicans that don’t agree with voting rights.”pic.twitter.com/Bmhr5zZvuh
— David Badash (@davidbadash) January 14, 2022
‘This Is Insane’: Republican Blasts RNC for Saying GOP Candidates Must Agree to Ban on Presidential Debates
For nearly four decades the Commission on Presidential Debates has managed and organized every presidential debate, but the Republican National Committee has just announced it will ban any GOP candidate from participating in any debate the Commission holds.
The New York Times reports the RNC is preparing to require any GOP candidate seeking that party’s nomination for President to “sign a pledge to not participate in any debates sponsored by the Commission.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois weighed in Thursday afternoon.
“This is insane,” he said on Twitter. “Why,” he asked.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is a bipartisan nonprofit created jointly by the chairs of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in 1987, and has run every debate held since.
But first candidate and then President Donald Trump has railed against the Commission, refusing to participate during the second presidential debate because it was going to be held virtually, because of the coronavirus pandemic. He and his officials have also accused the Commission of being unfair and biased against him.
The RNC appears to be preparing for another Trump run. It is still engaged in a multi-million dollar fundraising agreement with the former President, including paying some of his legal bills.
Kayleigh McEnany Meets With January 6 Committee: CNN
Former Trump White House and campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has appeared before the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
CNN reports the meeting took place virtually.
McEnany, now a Fox News contributor, was one of ten former Trump officials “with close ties to the former president” subpoenaed by the Committee two months ago, on November 9.
According to a press release from the Committee, McEnany “made multiple public statements from the White House and elsewhere about purported fraud in the November 2020 election. For example, in the first White House press conference after the election, Ms. McEnany claimed that there were ‘very real claims’ of fraud that the former President’s reelection campaign was pursuing, and said that mail-in voting was something that ‘we have identified as being particularly prone to fraud.’ At another press conference, Ms. McEnany accused Democrats of ‘welcoming fraud’ and ‘welcoming illegal voting.’ In addition, Ms. McEnany was reportedly present at times with the former President as he watched the January 6th attack.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
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