The West

Latest Devin Nunes lawsuit targets Fusion GPS, the firm that dug up dirt on Trump in 2016

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.

“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.

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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.

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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.