Fusion GPS Leader Bragged in 2019 Book About Planting False Attacks Against Devin Nunes in Local Newspaper
ouse Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was the target of opposition research hits that a local newspaper, owned by a broader national chain, dutifully reprinted on behalf of Fusion GPS without disclosing to its readers the questionable source of the information
The Fresno Bee published a story in the leadup to the 2018 midterm elections, in late May 2018, that claimed in its salacious headline that Nunes was associated with cocaine and prostitutes at a yacht party. “A yacht, cocaine, prostitutes: Winery partly owned by Nunes sued after fundraiser event,” read the headline from Fresno Bee reporter MacKenzie Mays on the May 23, 2018, article.
The article itself, however, does not back up the headline. What happened was that a winery that Nunes has a minority ownership stake in—meaning he has no management decision-making authority, just a minority stake in the firm—held a charity auction for a yacht ride. On the yacht ride, the winners allegedly, per a lawsuit from a winery staffer at the event, had been doing lots of cocaine and had prostitutes on board who engaged in nefarious acts. While that sounds like an awful experience for the staffer who endured it—the lawsuit was settled out of court—the idea this had anything at all to do with Nunes is simply untrue.
Kelly Carter, the spokesperson for the winery named Alpha Omega, made that clear in a statement to the newspaper. Rep. Devin Nunes is one of a few friends [Alpha Omega owner Robin Baggett] invited to invest in the winery in 2005. None of the investors has ever been involved with the management of the company. Robin is the sole managing partner and ultimate decision maker at Alpha Omega,” Carter said.
By MATTHEW BOYLE