Sure, crybaby car thief/arsonist/maybe-richest man in Congress Darrell Issa may have narrowly won reelection to his House seat from one of the rich, rightwing pockets of SoCal, but that doesn’t mean he’s finished with the election. Not only does Issa have a great big victory party to plan, probably to be followed by years of hearings into anything left over from the Obama administration that he’s still peeved about, but he’s also suing the Democrat who almost beat him, Doug Applegate, for libel, claiming that two of Applegate’s campaign ads were just horribly mean and unfair, and damaged his reputation. Yr Wonkette is not a lawyer, but we’d nonetheless advise Applegate’s attorneys to lead with the argument that Darrell Issa’s reputation was crap to start with.
Issa actually filed the libel suit the day before the election, naming Applegate, his campaign manager Robert Dempsey, and the Applegate campaign itself as defendants. Issa’s lawsuit claims he suffered damages to the tune of $10 million, but he’s such a swell guy that he says he’ll donate any award fromt he lawsuit to charity. Maybe to the Human Fund, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, or the Derek Zoolander School for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too. Neither campaign is commenting on the lawsuit, because it’s ongoing litigation and both of them have the good sense not to comment on that, although we’re willing to bet both sides are giving each other a very serious hairy eyeball, at least off the record.
Issa claims that two ads misleadingly represented Issa. One included a shot of a 2011 New York Times headline that Issa has hated forever, “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself,” and included narration saying Issa had “gamed the system to line his own pockets,” language which didn’t actually appear in the Times story. What the story did say was that Issa
has secured millions of dollars in Congressional earmarks for road work and public works projects that promise improved traffic and other benefits to the many commercial properties he owns here north of San Diego.
So that should make for a fun fight over whether it’s accurate to summarize that line as “lined his own pockets” — as it turns out, Issa later sold one of the properties at a loss, and the earmarked funds never went to the road project. Whether that’s enough to constitute libel should make for fine courtroom drama, huh? (As of yet, nobody’s jumped to buy the movie rights.) Issa’s campaign had demanded Applegate pull the ad back in October, but Applegate’s campaign said nah, mang, and accused Issa of trying to stifle criticism of his performance in Congress.
The second supposedly libelous ad, the lawsuit claims, allegedly used
misleading statements about Congressman Issa’s voting record, and a doctored quote to wage the dishonest charge that Congressman Issa has opposed supporting the victims, first responders, and heroes of September 11th.
The ad allegedly went over the boundaries of truth and decency with the line “tea party Republicans actually voted to deny healthcare to 9/11 first responders.” Issa claims the ad is completely inaccurate since, while it’s true he voted against the legislation for first responders, it wasn’t only tea party Republicans who voted it down. Also, Issa is very unhappy the ad didn’t mention he has supported other issues related to 9/11 victims and first responders, so there.
The San Diego Union-Tribune seems a wee bit skeptical of the lawsuit’s merits, maybe:
The commercials, according to the suit, exposed Issa to “hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because they inaccurately portray the Congressman as deceitful, uncaring person and corrupt in his role as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The lawsuit did not say if any of Issa’s business dealings, political assignments, or other potential benefits were harmed by the commercials. It also did not explain how it determined that Issa suffered $10 million worth of damages.
Again, Yr Wonkette is no attorney, but we’re willing to bet that if anyone hates Darrell Issa, it has a hell of a lot more to do with his own nasty personality, pissy behavior, and basic assholishness than with any campaign ads. He’s a public figure, and might want to consider putting on his big-boy pants and not whining so much. We’ve got a big ol’ jar of organic artisanal obloquy we’re already waiting to use on him during his ninth term, but if he could see his way clear to not being so goddamned obnoxious, he might not get obloqued as much.
Oh, and Doug Applegate? He’s not afraid of any bazillionaire congressturds. Applegate says he’s looking forward to a rematch against Issa in 2018.