Friday's HOT MIC
Can you sue a political party for fraud? One Virginia Republican donor thinks so.
A retired attorney in Virginia Beach is so incensed that Republicans couldn't repeal the Affordable Care Act he's suing to get political donations back, accusing the GOP of fraud and racketeering.
Bob Heghmann, 70, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court saying the national and Virginia Republican parties and some GOP leaders raised millions of dollars in campaign funds while knowing they weren't going to be able to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
The GOP "has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats," the suit said. Racketeering, perhaps better known for use in prosecuting organized crime, involves a pattern of illegal behavior by a specific group.
The lawsuit lists as defendants the Republican National Committee and Virginia's two national GOP committee members, Morton Blackwell and Cynthia Dunbar, as well as the Republican Party of Virginia and state party Chairman John Whitbeck.
In an email, Blackwell dismissed Heghmann's complaint as a "frivolous, nuisance suit that should be thrown out of court by any judge."
In a separate email Dunbar sent to Blackwell that was forwarded to The Virginian-Pilot, Dunbar referred to it as "ridiculous."
But at the same time, both said they understood where Heghmann was coming from. Blackwell said the suit is a "sign of conservative anger that the Republican-controlled Congress has not yet repealed and replaced Obamacare."
I think this has been tried before and, of course, it failed. Holding politicians and political parties responsible for their campaign promises is a great idea but suing them for fraud might not be the best way to go about it. In order to prove your case, you have to prove intent to defraud and I don't see how that's possible. The defendants could argue that unforeseen circumstances prevented repealing Obamacare, or that it was those politicians from that other state who are responsible.
Maybe the best way is the old fashioned way; throw the bums at election time.