Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is in very big trouble, and it could wind up costing him his congressional seat.
The Fresno Bee reports that a non-partisan group, the Campaign Legal Center, is alleging that Nunes has been receiving gifts in direct violation of House ethics rules. Specifically, Nunes is accused of receiving legal services:
“A nonpartisan watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Devin Nunes Wednesday, calling for a congressional investigation into how the California Republican is paying for his lawsuits against media companies and critics.
“Nunes, (along) with Virginia attorney Steven Biss, filed six lawsuits and sent two letters implying possible legal action in 2019. He has not disclosed how he is paying for the legal work, and the kind of lawsuits he is filing — alleging defamation and conspiracies against him — can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Nunes, who earns $174,000 a year as a congressman, could never afford to file such expensive lawsuits, meaning he likely accepted free or reduced price legal work that he failed to report. That could lead to Nunes being expelled from the House or endanger his chances of being reelected in November:
“The group argues he’d only be able to pay if he received legal services for free, at a discounted rate, or based on a contingency fee, meaning the lawyer would get compensated from Nunes’ winnings if he prevails in his lawsuits.”
If Nunes is receiving such legal help, he is required by House rules to file a legal defense fund or be charged with accepting an illegal gift, which is a very serious allegation if made against any member of Congress. Records show, however, that Congressman Nunes has not claimed a legal defense fund, meaning he has already violated ethics rules and is subject to punishment by the House Ethics Committee and full House if they were to take a vote to reprimand Nunes or remove him from his seat in Congress.
Over the past three years, Nunes has been one of President Donald Trump’s most eager and dogged defenders, even going so far as to update the White House on investigations being conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes is the ranking Republican on the intelligence committee.
Now, however, Nunes appears to have painted himself in a corner he’ll have trouble extricating himself from. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving Republican.