Watchdog Group Asks Congressional Ethics Office To Investigate How Devin Nunes Is Paying For His Many SLAPP Suits - 2020-02-28
A bunch of folks keep asking just how Devin Nunes is paying for all of his various lawsuits against news organizations, journalists, political operatives, critics, and, most famously, a satirical internet cow. And now, a watchdog group, the Campaign Legal Center, has sent quite a letter, asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Nunes is violating any ethics rules in how these cases are financed.
We write to request that the Office of Congressional Ethics ("OCE") investigate whether Representative Devin Nunes is receiving free legal services in violation of the Rules of the House of Representatives ("House rules"). Specifically, Representative Nunes retained an attorney who represents him in several defamation lawsuits in various courts where he seeks a total of nearly $1 billion in damages. House rules prohibit a Member from receiving free legal services, unless the Member establishes a Legal Expense Fund ("LEF"). According to the House Legislative Resource Center, Representative Nunes has not filed any of the required reports to establish an LEF. The relevant facts detailed below establish that the OCE Board should authorize an investigation of Representative Nunes.
Representative Nunes's overt involvement with the highly-publicized lawsuits threatens to establish a precedent that the Legal Expense Fund ("LEF") regulations no longer apply to Members. Although Representative Nunes is entitled to legal representation and he may pursue any legal action to protect and defend his interests, he must comply with House rules. An OCE investigation will preserve Representative Nunes's legal right to counsel while upholding well-established House rules and precedent.