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Issa sues Applegate

Accused of misrepresenting New York Times article in campaign ad

Darrell Issa and Doug Applegate
Darrell Issa and Doug Applegate

Congressman Darrell Issa, who represents portions of northern San Diego County, has filed a defamation lawsuit against his opponent, democratic challenger Doug Applegate.

Issa filed the suit on November 7, one day before he narrowly defeated Applegate to keep his 49th district congressional seat. According to election results, Applegate defeated the democratic challenger in San Diego County by a margin of 8000 votes. However, Issa outperformed Applegate in southern Orange County by nearly 11,000 votes.

In recent months, the campaign took an ugly turn as eight-term congressman Issa fought what was the closest race in his political career.

In the lawsuit, Issa claims Applegate knowingly lied in hopes of harming Issa's reputation in two campaign ads.

The first was a television commercial that first aired on September 20, 2016. The ad cites an August 2011 New York Times article titled, "A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself." Issa, however, says Applegate's ad injected their own fake headline and sub header that accused the congressman of using his position to earmark road repairs near several properties he owns. (Issa is reportedly the wealthiest member of Congress with an estimated worth of over $215 million.)

Reads the complaint, "By juxtaposing an image of the article (or at least images that report to represent the article) with the statements identified, the advertisement falsely and misleadingly leads viewers to believe that the statements are quoted from an article in The New York Times.... Yet, as a review of the article reflects, the words in quotation marks featured in the 9/20 advertisement do not appear anywhere in the article."

According to Issa, the article had several errors that the paper later corrected.

Despite that, as a result of the campaign ad, other publications, including the San Diego Union-Tribune picked up the story. According to Issa's lawsuit, his campaign demanded the ad be pulled, which television stations later agreed to do.

The second infraction, according to the complaint, aired in an October 4 television commercial that accused Issa of opposing legislation aimed at helping September 11, 2001, victims, and emergency responders.

Issa says he and 160 other congressional representatives opposed a small portion of the bill. An amended version of the bill was later passed.

Reads the lawsuit, "Beyond misrepresenting the nature of the vote...the [advertisement] is additionally false and misleading in that it fails to mention congressman Issa's strong record of leadership on national security and supporting the victims, families, and first responders of 9/11."

Issa is asking for compensatory relief as well as attorney fees.

The Issa campaign did not respond to a request for comment as to whether the lawsuit will be dropped now that the election is over.

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Darrell Issa and Doug Applegate
Darrell Issa and Doug Applegate

Congressman Darrell Issa, who represents portions of northern San Diego County, has filed a defamation lawsuit against his opponent, democratic challenger Doug Applegate.

Issa filed the suit on November 7, one day before he narrowly defeated Applegate to keep his 49th district congressional seat. According to election results, Applegate defeated the democratic challenger in San Diego County by a margin of 8000 votes. However, Issa outperformed Applegate in southern Orange County by nearly 11,000 votes.

In recent months, the campaign took an ugly turn as eight-term congressman Issa fought what was the closest race in his political career.

In the lawsuit, Issa claims Applegate knowingly lied in hopes of harming Issa's reputation in two campaign ads.

The first was a television commercial that first aired on September 20, 2016. The ad cites an August 2011 New York Times article titled, "A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself." Issa, however, says Applegate's ad injected their own fake headline and sub header that accused the congressman of using his position to earmark road repairs near several properties he owns. (Issa is reportedly the wealthiest member of Congress with an estimated worth of over $215 million.)

Reads the complaint, "By juxtaposing an image of the article (or at least images that report to represent the article) with the statements identified, the advertisement falsely and misleadingly leads viewers to believe that the statements are quoted from an article in The New York Times.... Yet, as a review of the article reflects, the words in quotation marks featured in the 9/20 advertisement do not appear anywhere in the article."

According to Issa, the article had several errors that the paper later corrected.

Despite that, as a result of the campaign ad, other publications, including the San Diego Union-Tribune picked up the story. According to Issa's lawsuit, his campaign demanded the ad be pulled, which television stations later agreed to do.

The second infraction, according to the complaint, aired in an October 4 television commercial that accused Issa of opposing legislation aimed at helping September 11, 2001, victims, and emergency responders.

Issa says he and 160 other congressional representatives opposed a small portion of the bill. An amended version of the bill was later passed.

Reads the lawsuit, "Beyond misrepresenting the nature of the vote...the [advertisement] is additionally false and misleading in that it fails to mention congressman Issa's strong record of leadership on national security and supporting the victims, families, and first responders of 9/11."

Issa is asking for compensatory relief as well as attorney fees.

The Issa campaign did not respond to a request for comment as to whether the lawsuit will be dropped now that the election is over.

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Comments
7

Can't move on from his own dirty campaign. Issa, this is your last term, don't waste it kissing Trumps ass you scoundrel.

Nov. 9, 2016

Birds of a feather.....

Nov. 10, 2016

I received a deluge of nasty but expensive slick ads from Applegate. Your language is typical of a bitter Liberal. Congressman Darrel Issa is a hard working good man.

Nov. 11, 2016

Darrell Issa accusing ANYBODY of defamation is pretty damned ironic. He's spent most of his political career perfecting the art of defamation.

Nov. 10, 2016

If Issa manages to hang on and win, the best thing he could do is stop any further notice of the claims made by the NYT and by Applegate. Two years from now if there were a trial of the suit, it would be in the midst of the next House race. Issa needs to have everyone forget this race. He can stay on if he spends more time in the district and works on getting favorable notice. Since he's no longer chairman of that governmental oversight and investigation committee, he'll have the time to spare.

Nov. 10, 2016

Isn't ISSA is a complete Piece of Work and a terrible Congressman.?! Was Issa demoted/ fired by his own Republican colleagues from the Investigatory Committee of Congress because Issa was allegedly wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on politically motivated investigations and constantly "barking up the wrong trees" chasing every Alt Right, Right Wing Media Tin Foil Hat Conspiracy Theory?!?! Why did Applegate not run ads on Issa's earlier alleged criminal activities including alleged grand theft auto and other alleged lawbreaking?!

Didn't Issa's constantly disrespect and attacks on President Obama make himself "persona non grata" in Washington DC?!?!

Is this just a "harassment lawsuit".?! Isn't this lawsuit just an abuse of the legal process?!
Aren't lawsuits about political speech between and among candidates for public office extremely difficult to win under the 1st Amendment.?!?!
Can the Court make Issa pay Applegate's attorneys fees?! Isn't Issa just a whiner and mad that he is very close to losing his seat in Congress?! Did the "Bully" Issa just get knocked down a peg or 2?! Could it have happened to a more deserving person?!

Inquiring minds want to know!!

Nov. 11, 2016

You make some good points. Some of the more conservative minds have expressed disappointment in him and his role in those investigations. He seemed to have locked onto Bengazi, Fast and Furious, and a couple other things while in the chairmanship, all to little result. It isn't as if there were no other matters that needed scrutiny is this past eight years of Obama, but he appeared fixated on a few.

Libel suits are hard to win if the plaintiff is considered a public figure, and all elected officials are in that category. That's why he should soon drop the suit. At this point, it may be a calculated effort to scare off opponents who lack his resources, and to keep Applegate out if his hair permanently.

Nov. 11, 2016

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