Nunes Files Another Frivolous Lawsuit, Confusing Fellow Republicans and Leaving Many In GOP Unwilling to Defend His Recent Latest Legal Action
Last week, it was reported that the perpetually absent Congressman Devin Nunes filed yet another lawsuit, but this time instead of going after his usual targets – his local paper, the now infamous parody account @devincow or the social media platform Twitter – Nunes is suing his very own constituents and voters.
Nunes filed a lawsuit against four of his constituents – including a 71-year old farmer who prays for Nunes – after they accused the congressman of being a “fake farmer” and attempted to get his ballot designation of “farmer” removed from the ballot in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, now that Nunes has come completely unhinged and taken legal action against his own constituents, members of his party and the local GOP have been less than willing to speak up for the Congressman and have not come to his defense.
The Fresno Bee reported reached out to GOP officials who have “defended Nunes in the past,” the half a dozen California Republicans contacted would not return a request for comment or “outright said they would not comment on the issue.”
Just two Republicans were brave enough to admit they were “confused by Nunes’ tactics.” A GOP consultant said of Nunes’ flurry of lawsuits that “there seems to be no strategy other than to attack his enemies,” and that he should “focus on working his district and stay out of the politics of Washington, D.C.”
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BY KATE IRBY // AUGUST 08, 2019
Republicans who typically support Rep. Devin Nunes are less willing to speak up for him since he filed a lawsuit against one of his own constituents.
The lawsuit is Nunes’ third in which he alleges that political consultants conspired against him to damage his chances for re-election last year. Nunes, R-Tulare, won the race against Democratic challenger Andrew Janz, but by a closer margin than in his previous campaigns.
The previous two cases targeted social media giant Twitter and McClatchy, the parent company of The Fresno Bee. They also named Liz Mair, a Republican political strategist.
The new case names four California residents, one of whom is Paul Buxman, a retired farmer who says he voted for Nunes in the past.
Critics of Nunes, who is one of about three dozen House Republicans being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, were quick to seize on the difference between suing corporations and suing a retired constituent.
“He has filed lawsuits against his own constituents,” Phil Arballo, a Democratic businessman in the district planning to challenge Nunes in 2020, said in a speech in front of Nunes’ district office Tuesday. “Let me repeat, a sitting member of congress is suing his own constituents. This is outrageous, Rep. Nunes is unhinged.”
Even some of those within Nunes’ own party are unwilling to defend his latest move. Half a dozen California Republicans — most of whom have defended Nunes in the past — contacted by McClatchy either did not return a request for comment or outright said they would not comment on the issue.
Two Republican consultants who have managed political campaigns in the San Joaquin Valley, Kevin Spillane and Carl Fogliani, were willing to speak on the record, both saying they were confused by Nunes’ tactics.
“There seems to be no strategy other than to attack his enemies,” Spillane said. “He should focus on working his district and stay out of the politics of Washington, D.C.”
Asked if these lawsuits helped further the perception that Nunes had become less concerned with his district — a frequent criticism of Nunes by Democrats — Spillane said, “Well, I don’t think it helps him.”
Nunes in the lawsuit charges that Democratic political groups used “dark money” to contest Nunes’ description of himself as a farmer on ballots that went to California voters.
Nunes’ challenger Arballo said the lawsuit points to a deeper problem in how Nunes is thinking.
“These lawsuits are representative of where his head is at,” Arballo told McClatchy. “He wants to put the muzzle on anyone who stands up to challenge him.”
Nunes’ office did not respond to a request for comment. But Mike Der Manouel Jr., a Republican strategist and close Nunes ally, said Nunes is responding in a rational way to people who have continued to target him, and that people who do so are “fair game,” regardless of if they’re constituents. He called ballot designation challenges “childish.”
“You’re seeing bloodsport at its highest level in 50 years,” Der Manouel said. “You have to show them you’ll punch back and punch back hard, otherwise they won’t back off.”
“If you don’t like it, don’t launch the attack in the first place,” he added.