- Rep. Devin Nunes is suing Fusion GPS, the firm behind the Steele dossier, and a liberal watchdog group.
- The Republican accuses Fusion GPS and Campaign for Accountability of working together to derail his investigation into Fusion GPS.
- Campaign for Accountability paid Fusion GPS nearly $140,000 for research last year. The group also filed three ethics complaints against Nunes, including one that accused him of leaking information about Fusion GPS.
- Campaign for Accountability official Daniel Stevens has denied hiring Fusion GPS to investigate Nunes.
Rep. Devin Nunes filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against opposition research firm Fusion GPS and the Campaign for Accountability, accusing the two of smearing him over his investigation into Fusion GPS’s and the Steele dossier.
The complaint, which the California Republican filed in federal court in Virginia, alleges that Fusion GPS and Campaign for Accountability (CfA) worked on a “joint and systematic effort to intimidate, harass, threaten, influence, interfere with, impede, and ultimately to derail” Nunes’ investigation of the dossier, which he directed as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
In the lawsuit, Nunes draws a link between CfA payments to Fusion GPS and a string of ethics complaints that the watchdog group filed against him last year.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported Aug. 1 that CfA’s 2018 tax filings show the group paid Fusion GPS nearly $140,000unspecified research activities.
CfA filed three complaints against Nunes with the Office of Congressional Ethics. In a Jan. 25, 2018 complaint, CfA accused Nunes of leaking sensitive House Intelligence Committee information about Fusion GPS.
Daniel Stevens, the executive director of CfA, denied in a statement to the DCNF that the payment was for information about Nunes.
“CfA did not hire Fusion to look into Devin Nunes or coordinate with the firm regarding our ethics complaints against Devin Nunes,” he told the DCNF for the Aug. 1 article.
But Nunes, who is seeking $9.9 million in damages, dismisses Stevens’ denial, saying in the lawsuit that the ethics complaints were “fraudulent and retaliatory,” and intended to protect Fusion GPS and its co-founder, Glenn Simpson.
He alleges that Fusion GPS and Simpson “harbored spite and ill-will” towards him for exposing details of Fusion’s dossier-related work.
In October 2017, HPSCI subpoenaed Fusion GPS’s bank records, leading to the revelation that the law firm for the Clinton campaign and DNC-funded the Steele dossier. The firm, Perkins Coie, paid Fusion GPS more than $1 million in 2016. Fusion paid Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, nearly $170,000 to work on what would become known as the dossier. (RELATED: Here’s How Much The Clinton Campaign And DNC Paid For The Dossier)
The dossier has come under intense scrutiny because the FBI relied heavily on the document to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump aide Carter Page. The special counsel’s report all but debunked Steele’s key claim that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Nunes contends that Fusion GPS and Simpson have also retaliated against him for fear that the Republican would submit criminal referrals against Simpson over testimony he gave HPSCI and the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017.
Nunes accuses Simpson of lying in his HPSCI testimony on Nov. 14, 2017 when he said that he had contact with the Justice Department and FBI regarding the dossier only after the 2016 election. Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official whose wife was a contractor at Fusion GPS, testified on Aug. 28, 2018 that he and Simpson met in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 22, 2016.
Nunes also claims that Simpson lied during his Senate testimony on Aug. 22, 2017 when he denied having a client for Trump-related work after the 2016 election. A non-profit group called The Democracy Integrity Project hired Fusion GPS and Steele’s London-based firm in 2017.
“Fearing a criminal referral for his false statements to the FBI and DOJ, for lying to Congress and the Senate, and for obstructing the House Intelligence Committee in its Russia investigation, the Defendants directly and aggressively retaliated against Plaintiff, employing the same or similar means and methods as Fusion GPS and Simpson have employed multiple times in the past to smear the opposition,” the complaint says.
Nunes has filed four lawsuits this year. He has sued Twitter, McClatchy, political consultant Liz Mair, among others.
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Devin Nunes sues Twitter, account called ‘Devin Nunes’ Cow’
Republican Representative Devin Nunes of Tulare, California, is suing Twitter and parody accounts, including one called ‘Devin Nunes’ Cow.’ By Alyssa Hodenfield
Rep. Devin Nunes has filed his fourth lawsuit of the year Wednesday, this time against political research firm Fusion GPS and a Democratic group called Campaign for Accountability.
Nunes’ complaint, which was first reported by the conservative news website Daily Caller, alleges the two groups engaged in a “joint and systematic effort to intimidate, harass, threaten, influence, interfere with, impede, and ultimately to derail” Nunes’ investigation into the so-called dossier Fusion GPS compiled on President Donald Trump in 2016.
Nunes is seeking $9.9 million in damages. The Campaign for Accountability is preparing to fight the lawsuit.
Latest Devin Nunes lawsuit targets Fusion GPS, the firm that dug up dirt on Trump in 2016
“We have not received a copy of the complaint, but we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves against this obviously frivolous and baseless lawsuit,” said Daniel Stevens, executive director of Campaign for Accountability.
The lawsuit is the third Nunes, R-Tulare, filed in a Virginia court. In the first two, he alleges that political actors defamed him in 2018 to damage his chances at re-election and to hinder his ability to lead the House Intelligence Committee. In those cases, he’s suing Twitter, two Twitter accounts written by anonymous authors who criticize him, a Republican political strategist and McClatchy, the parent company of The Fresno Bee.
Both Fusion GPS and Campaign for Accountability are based in Washington, D.C. Fusion GPS did not respond to a request for comment. Nunes’ office also did not respond to a request for comment.
Nunes on Wednesday dropped the only lawsuit he filed this year in California. In that complaint, Nunes’ campaign attempted to sue a retired Tulare County farmer and Democratic activists who challenged his designation as “farmer” on ballots.
Nunes is the former chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which under his leadership investigated Fusion GPS and the dossier that made salacious and mostly unproven allegations about President Donald Trump.
Nunes pushed to review Fusion GPS’s financial records when he was at the helm of the committee. Records showed that Perkins Coie, a law firm that represented the campaign of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, had paid for the research that led to the dossier.
Nunes lost his chairmanship when the House flipped at the beginning of this year.
Nunes cites in the complaint Campaign for Accountability filing three ethics complaints against him, one of those accusing Nunes of leaking sensitive House Intelligence information about Fusion GPS. He says those complaints were “fraudulent and retaliatory,” and intended to protect Fusion GPS, according to the Daily Caller.
Kate Irby is based in Washington, D.C. and reports on issues important to McClatchy’s California newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee. She previously reported on breaking news in D.C., politics in Florida for the Bradenton Herald and politics in Ohio for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California has filed a lawsuit claiming a left-leaning transparency nonprofit conspired with a research firm to damage his reputation.
The lawsuit in federal court in Alexandria follows two that Nunes filed in state court against parody Twitter accounts, Twitter, a Republican strategist and the media company McClatchy for reporting on or mocking him.
In the federal suit, Nunes says ethics complaints filed by the Campaign for Accountability are retaliation for his work on the House Intelligence Committee, in which he has repeatedly impugned the integrity of the firm Fusion GPS and the credibility of a dossier a researcher hired by the firm compiled on President Trump’s alleged connections to Russia.
Nunes and other conservatives have longed seized on the dossier as evidence of bias in the Russia investigation, because Fusion GPS’s research was initially funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. While the FBI was aware of that work, it was not the basis for its probe into Russian election influence or the special counsel investigation headed by Robert S. Mueller III.
CfA has filed three ethics complaints against Nunes: one alleging the congressman failed to list business interests on his financial disclosure forms and two accusing him of leaking confidential information to the press.
In the suit, Nunes denies sharing text messages sent by Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) with Fox News, a leak that provoked concern about his committee from senators on both sides of the aisle.
The lawsuit claims “active, coordinated and ongoing corruption, fraud and obstruction of justice” that caused “injury to his business and reputation, court costs, and other damages.”
Nunes highlights a $138,684 payment from CfA to Fusion GPS for research last year. The nonprofit told the Daily Caller that Fusion was not hired to investigate Nunes.
Both Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and a spokesman for the Campaign for Accountability did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday night.