Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) spent two years leading an investigation of the Benghazi embassy tragedy and attacking Secretary Hillary Clinton before giving up in defeat, having found and proven nothing but how easy it is to squander taxpayer dollars.
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Nunes more recently did all he could to sabotage the House Intelligence Committee probe of President Trump’s ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election – except for the period when he was investigated for his questionable ethics in passing secrets to the White House – before ending that probe prematurely by declaring the president did not act improperly, despite contrary information from both the intelligence community and the Democratic members of his own committee.
Now Nunes is the subject of his own investigation for at least three violations of the campaign finance law, which also raise new ethical questions about his character and his activities in Congress.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) today sent a letter to the campaign treasurer of Nunes campaign committee, which is his mother, Toni Dian Nunes, requesting “information essential to full public disclosure” concerning three potentially illegal contributions, reports The Daily Beast.
The first questionable contribution was from Harris Lee Cohen, who lists himself in FEC contribution information, as manager of SIFI in Terra Bella, Ca. He contributed $1,500 in July 2017 and again in November.
SIFI apparently stands for Setton International Foods, Inc, a snack food maker based in Long Island, New York, which makes several products using pistachio nuts that are grown by Setton Pistachio in Terra Bella, Ca., which is in Tulare Country, which Nunes represents.
Setton, according to its website, is the second largest pistachio processor in the U.S. with over 10,000 acres planted with the nuts, which are sold in the U.S. and over 50 foreign markets.
Federal law limits contribution in a one year period to $2,700.
The second set of questionable contributions came from Jeffrey J. Kimbell, president of a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm that the Daily Beast reports specialize in “legislative, regulatory and policy solutions to clients in the life sciences community.”
In his FEC form, Kimbell says he is a self-employed “health care consultant.”
In June he contributed $1,000 to Nunes and then in December $1,700 and $300.
ProPublica reports that Kimbell’s clients include Acadian Ambulance and Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Sevices.
Nunes introduced two bills in the House – the Ambulance Medicare Budget and Operations Act of 2017 and the Comprehensive Operations, Sustainability, and Transport Act of 2017, both clearly designed to benefit his donors.
The third set of questionable donations came from Stone Land Company, a “family farming operation” located near Nune’s district, which sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Bay Delta office demanding it repair “California’s broken water system,” and asking for a “reliable water supply.”
In recent years, farms in the Central Valley of California, which includes Nunes district, have faced tough restrictions on water use because of a drought.
The Stone Land Company contribution violated FEC rules that forbid contributions “from corporations and labor organizations unless made from separate segregated funds established by the corporations and labor organizations,” reports The Daily Beast.
Nunes has until April 24 to respond to the FEC allegations.
This latest bad news for Trump’s favorite and most loyal Congressman is likely to become more fodder for the aggressive campaign challenge being mounted this year by Democratic Fresno prosecutor Andrew Janz.
Janz is not well-known, but has gotten a lot of free publicity and raised a surprisingly large amount of money by campaigning against Nunes for his failures on the House Intelligence Committee, his attacks on the FBI on behalf of Trump and his hugely hyped but ultimately discredited memo on findings of the committee in the Russia probe.
Even the Fresno Bee, Nunes’s hometown newspaper has taken him to task. One recent headline read: “Rep. Devin Nunes, Trump’s stooge, attacks FBI.”
Politico notes that even late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel has singled out Nunes in recent weeks, saying in his monologue that “to call Devin Nunes Donald Trump’s lapdog would be an insult to dogs. And to laps.”
After Nunes memo designed to clear Trump was released, Janz told Politico: “We’re looking really good, thanks to him. I think we took in $100,000 between today and yesterday.”
Nunes has proven to be an unethical, partisan politician who provides the worst possible example of what has happened to Republicans under the lying, scheming of the Trump administration.
If the FEC charges help make voters in his mostly rural and agricultural district understand that he doesn’t care about them nearly as much as he cares about Trump and his campaign contributors, another House seat could be flipped to Democrats in November.