Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has a new litigation target: Fusion GPS.
Another day, another hilariously inexplicable lawsuit from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
This time, Nunes is suing Fusion GPS — the group hired to create the widely confirmed Steele Dossier. However, he's also angry at the Campaign for Accountability (CFA), a government watchdog group, so he named them in the same lawsuit. He's seeking the astonishing sum of $9.9 million, plus interest and attorney fees.
Now, this isn't the lawsuit where he's suing a cow that makes fun of him on Twitter. This isn't the one where he is suing his own constituents. And this isn't the one where he sued a newspaper for writing about a lawsuit against him. This is a racketeering lawsuit alleging that Fusion conspired with CFA to harm Nunes with "a joint and systematic effort to intimidate, harass, threaten, influence, interfere with, impede, and ultimately to derail [Nunes'] congressional investigation into Russian intermeddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election."
In this lawsuit, Nunes alleges a complicated story of how Fusion GPS created the Steele Dossier, which CFA then somehow allegedly used to smear Nunes. Nunes bases this solely on the fact that CFA once hired Fusion GPS for research.
Most of Nunes's complaint is taken up with rehashing the now-discredited notion that the Steele Dossier was fabricated to smear Trump. Even were that to be true — which it most certainly is not — that would be a lawsuit for Trump to file, not Nunes. There's no way Nunes can allege someone compiling information to attack Trump harmed him.
Nunes also spends time being mad at Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, for allegedly lying to Congress. Again, even if true, that didn't harm Nunes at all — and particularly not to the tune of nearly $10 million.
Nunes must have realized he needed to allege he was harmed in some fashion, so he links — without evidence — Fusion to CFA and asserts that Fusion is somehow behind three ethics complaints filed by CFA.
The complaint is correct that CFA did file three ethics complaints against Nunes with the Office of Congressional Ethics. One was about Nunes failing to disclose investments in three California companies. The other two were about Nunes's leaks to the press during the Russia investigation. Nunes hasn't denied leaking, but he has gotten mad at the media for reporting about it.
Somehow, the mere filing of these complaints caused Nunes nearly $10 million in harm and constituted intimidation and threats. The ethics complaints were also designed, per Nunes, to stop him from sending criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. Also, according to Devin Nunes, filing ethics complaints about him constitutes interfering with his livelihood as a representative. Yet, none of the complaints seem to have resulted in any action by OCE, which means that Nunes is alleging he is so frightened of a complaint being filed that he can't function.
Taken together, it still isn't plausible that Nunes has been damaged to the tune of $9.9 million. At best, he's alleging CFA interfered with the course of justice for Trump in some fashion, but that didn't hurt Nunes or take money out of his pocket.
Fusion GPS and CFA are getting off easy with a $9.9 million demand. When people used Twitter to send mean tweets about Nunes, he sued that company for $250 million. It's tough to imagine any of these lawsuits going anywhere, but that won't stop Nunes from trying.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.