A number of lawsuits filed by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., raises questions about how he is paying for legal assistance, according to a watchdog complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics, The Hill reported.
The complaint suggests Nunes is either improperly receiving free or discounted legal counsel or not disclosing it properly, arguing his $174,000 congressional salary cannot cover the number of lawsuits he has filed against Twitter, CNN, McClatchy, and Twitter accounts that have mocked him, according to the report.
"Rep. Nunes' overt involvement with the highly publicized lawsuits threatens to establish a precedent that the Legal Expense Fund regulations no longer apply to Members," the complaint argues, per The Hill.
"Although Rep. 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 [OCE] investigation will preserve Rep. Nunes' legal right to counsel while upholding well-established House rules and precedent."
Also, an argument Nunes is hiring lawyers on contingency – cases that only pay for counsel if they win a settlement – would not comply with a contingency fee agreement in instances where Virginia attorney Steven Biss sent letters seeking public apologies from Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Nunes' 2017 opponent Andrew Janz, per the report.
"Mr. Biss sent a letter to Rep. Lieu threatening to bring an ethics complaint against him," per the complaint, The Hill reported. "An ethics complaint will not result in a monetary award that could support payment under a contingency fee agreement."
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