Watchdog Asks Congress To Investigate How Nunes Is Paying For All His Lawsuits
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) filed six lawsuits last year, and now a nonpartisan government watchdog wants to know how he is paying those legal fees on a congressman’s salary, according to the Fresno Bee.
Campaign Legal Center filed an ethics complaint on Wednesday calling for an investigation into the matter, saying Nunes appears to be in “blatant violation of House rules.” The group argued that Nunes “ would have trouble paying for all these lawsuits solely from his congressional salary of $174,000 per year.”
The complaint alleges that Nunes could only afford to pursue the lawsuits if he is receiving free legal services, a discounted rate or the services are on a based on a contingency fee, meaning the lawyer would receive compensation from the winnings if Nunes is successful.
All three situations would require Nunes to “disclose the legal help he is receiving by filing a legal expense fund, otherwise it would represent an illegal gift given to Nunes under congressional ethics rules,” but the congressman has filed nothing with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
“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,” the complaint argues. “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 (Office of Congressional Ethics) investigation will preserve Representative Nunes’s legal right to counsel while upholding well-established House rules and precedent.”
The Bee noted that the Office of Congressional Ethics reviews ethics complaints but is not obligated to follow through with an investigation.
Nunes did not immediately respond to a request for comment, the publication reported.