Politics & Government

Devin Nunes in lawsuit demands tax returns, recent comments made by political strategist

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.'
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Republican Representative Devin Nunes of Tulare, California, is suing Twitter and parody accounts, including one called 'Devin Nunes' Cow.'

Rep. Devin Nunes is demanding through a lawsuit that a Republican political strategist turn over her tax returns and every statement she’s made about the California congressman in the past year and a half.

Liz Mair, the political strategist, described Nunes’ request on Tuesday in a series of social media posts.

Nunes is suing her in a lawsuit that also targets Twitter and two parody Twitter accounts, alleging they defamed him while he ran for re-election last year. The lawsuit is unfolding in a Virginia court.

He is suing The Fresno Bee and Mair in a separate lawsuit in Virginia that also alleges defamation. McClatchy, the parent company of The Fresno Bee, has not yet been served with a complaint.

In three tweets Tuesday morning, Mair said her lawyers had received discovery requests from Nunes. Those include “details of every single statement I’ve made about him since January 1, 2018,” and “a copy of my tax returns for 2016, 2017 and 2018.”

She said the former request “sounds like a potential effort to depose my five-year old.”

Mair declined to share copies of the discovery requests.

Nunes has spoken out against House Democrat attempts to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, saying it’s “like using the intelligence agencies to look into political campaigns.”

“Once you go down the road, there’s no turning back, because then it ratchets up,” Nunes said in January, according to the Washington Examiner. “Because at some point, Republicans will be back in power. There are lots of people we could have subpoenaed their tax returns the last few years that would be very interesting.”

Reached by phone Tuesday, Mair said she would “prefer to let the tweets speak for themselves.”

Mair and her lawyers, as well as Twitter, have filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit based on jurisdiction, saying the lawsuit should have been filed in California. Twitter is based there.

Mair’s Virginia residence is not in Henrico County, where the lawsuit was filed. She said Tuesday that she is moving out of Virginia to Connecticut because her husband got a job he was recruited for before the lawsuit began.

A hearing on Twitter’s dismissal motion is set for Aug. 23, according to the court website.

“As a reminder, this is a sitting government official using litigation as a cudgel to stifle my free speech and, frankly, intimidate and harass me and my family,” Mair said in her tweets.

Nunes’ office and his attorney, Steven Biss, did not return requests for comment.

Officials at Twitter would not confirm or deny if they had received discovery requests, only sending a statement that said the company disputes Nunes’ claims. One of the the parody accounts Nunes is suing, @DevinAlt, declined to comment. The other, @DevinCow, did not respond to inquiries on if they had been served with similar discovery requests.

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.
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