COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A failed Congressional candidate has filed a civil lawsuit in Muscogee County Superior Court alleging that one of his opponents and Fox News conspired to undermine “the integrity of Georgia’s elections, acting in clear defiance of Federal election laws and campaign finance laws.”
Wayne Johnson finished third in the May Georgia 2nd Congressional District Republican primary last month. Leading vote-getter Jeremy Hunt and Chris West are in a runoff on Tuesday to determine the nominee.
Johnson is suing Hunt individually, along with Jeremy for Congress, Fox News and Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade.
The suit was filed Thursday afternoon in Columbus.
“This action seeks to recover damages from Defendants for racketeering activities engaged in by Defendant Hunt, Defendant Fox News, and Defendant Kilmeade, defrauding the rule of law in Georgia, undermining the integrity of Georgia’s elections, acting in clear defiance of Federal election laws and campaign finance laws, and bypassing and ‘hoodwinking’ the voters in the Second Congressional District of Georgia, all to enrich Defendant Hunt.”
At issue is Hunt’s appearances on Fox News since Jan. 13 when he announced he was running for Congress in the Georgia 2nd. Hunt has appeared 15 times on Fox News programs during that span. He was on the air the morning of the May 24 primary and again this week.
Johnson has appeared once on Fox and West, the runoff opponent, has not appeared as a Fox guest.
Hunt said in a statement to News 3 that it was a “frivolous suit.”
“It is kind of sad that twice-failed candidate Wayne Johnson and Chris West have resorted to such desperate tactics,” Hunt said. “This lawsuit will be dismissed as quickly as Wayne Johnson was dismissed by voters of the 2nd District. It’s telling that Chris West refuses to denounce dirty tricks like these often played by the radical left against true conservative candidates.”
West is not a party to the suit. News 3 has reached out to his camp. Stephen Lawson, a political consultant to the West campaign had this to say.
“From never living in this district before February to 90 percent of his campaign contributions coming from outside the district, this is just another in a long list of issues Jeremy Hunt can’t seem to explain.”
Johnson said his suit is about election integrity.
“Election integrity starts with candidate integrity, candidate transparency, along with candidate and campaign compliance with state and Federal election laws,” Johnson’s statement read. “Unfortunately, we believe that Defendant Hunt, Defendant Fox News Network and Defendant Kilmeade have violated the trust of the people of Middle and Southwest Georgia by way of a flagrantly and illegally using Fox News Network assets to propagandize the campaign of Jeremy Hunt.”
Johnson complained twice to Fox News during the primary campaign that Fox was giving Hunt an unfair advantage.
The suit alleges: “Throughout the campaign for the Republican nomination to run in the Congressional election for the Second Congressional District of Georgia, Defendant Hunt has had an open line of communication with Defendant Kilmeade and others employed by Defendant Fox News to suggest ideas for premises to appear on Defendant Fox News’ programs.”
Johnson’s suit alleges that the actions of the defendants and the financial benefits to Hunt “form the basis of mail fraud and wire fraud under the law.”
“By allowing Defendant Hunt to appear on Fox News programs under false pretenses in order to pitch his campaign and to raise funds, Defendants are violating Federal Campaign Finance laws and the Equal Time Act, and these actions combined with Defendant Hunt’s misrepresentations about himself which are republished and repeated by Defendant Fox News an Defendant Kilmeade ultimately amount to Mail and Wire Fraud since the underlying purposes of the misrepresentations are campaign fundraising and to garner votes,” the suit alleges.
Johnson is seeking financial damages and attorney fees.
If Fox News responds to our request for comment, we will update this story.