down the line?
December 14, 2019

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has a lot of people scratching their heads over how he's managing to pay the legal fees for the numerous defamation lawsuits he's filed against entities ranging from CNN to a social media parody account called Devin Nunes' Cow, McClatchy reports.

Nunes' $174,000 congressional salary is reportedly his main source of income, so McClatchy notes it's unlikely he's simply paying out of pocket. He could theoretically rely on a benefactor by setting up a legal defense fund, but he would have had to disclose that since members of Congress have strict rules against receiving gifts.

The most plausible theory, campaign finance and legal experts seem to think, is that he's paying his lawyer, Steven Biss, by promising a contingency fee, which isn't mentioned by House Ethics rules and likely doesn't require disclosure. A contingency fee means representation receives a percentage of monetary damages Nunes would be awarded if he wins the lawsuits. So, in such an instance, a lawyer would front the costs, and then bank on a big payoff down the line. But McClatchy reports that most lawyers aren't too keen on relying solely on the possibility of a win, so contingency fees aren't too common. Read more at The Fresno Bee. Tim O'Donnell

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