Daily Kos Elections Stream Members Following Profile Wow! Darrell Issa threatens to sue Democratic opponent over ad and has lawyers beg for an apology!

Amazing. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa spent years wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money to conduct bogus “investigations” of the Obama administration that never went anywhere. But just like a classic bully—just like his idol, Donald Trump, in fact—he can dish it out but can't take a punch.

Issa, who represents California’s 49th Congressional District in suburban San Diego, faces his toughest re-election campaign in forever, thanks to Daily Kos-endorsed Democrat Doug Applegate, a retired Marine colonel who, unlike his opponent, isn’t afraid of the rough and tumble. Applegate recently started airing his first TV ad of the race, a hard-hitting spot in which he directly links Issa to Trump. After playing a clip of Trump declaring “I’m really rich. Nobody knows the system better than me,” a narrator explains that Issa likewise “gamed the system to line his own pockets steering millions in taxpayer money to help properties he owned," relying on a very negative 2011 New York Times piece about Issa’s self-dealing for factual support.

So how did Issa react? Like the cowardly whiner that he is, he’s threatening to file a lawsuit alleging that Applegate has defamed him! Seriously, no one in politics ever does this. It’s insane. But Issa's serious: He even sent the Applegate campaign a draft of his complaint that he's ready to file in court at a moment’s notice if Applegate doesn’t cower before him.

The entire thing is nuts, though. Issa’s cockamamie claim centers around a screenshot where that “gamed the system” quote is rendered in a newspaper-style headline, above a New York Times logo displayed on a slant. It’s the kind of visual technique used in a million campaign ads.

But Issa’s delusional attorneys are calling this image defamatory because it “inappropriately misleads California voters by falsely attributing quotes to an article in which such quotes do not exist.” They also try to claim that the article itself has been discredited because of a few small corrections issued after the fact (such as the paper printing the word “billion” when it meant “million”), even though it still lives on the Times’ website. And that’s really it. Applegate’s summary of the article is totally fair—just read the piece for yourself. It’s a devastating portrait of a congressman who has used his time in office to get extremely rich, and there’s just no getting around that.

Please give $3 to Doug Applegate today so that he can defeat Darrell Issa.

You know what else that screenshot shows? The rest of the newspaper-esque text contains “lorem ipsum”—filler text based on a book by the ancient Roman orator Cicero that’s routinely used by graphic designers. Does Issa also want to claim that Applegate is deceiving voters because the Times isn't actually written in Latin?

(An aside: Hilariously, Issa’s complaint takes the time to reference the fact that we here at Daily Kos wrote up this ad. Why exactly they’d bother mentioning this we don't know, but we're flattered that people are reading us!)

But the best part comes at the end of the letter Issa’s lawyers sent to the Applegate campaign. In addition to demanding Applegate take down the ad, yadda yadda, Issa is also insisting that Applegate “issue a public apology.” Applegate made it clear in a statement that this is never going to happen:

"I’m a Marine Colonel who volunteered to go to Iraq in 2006 and spent a good chunk of my tour in Ramadi. Congressman Issa’s money and lawyers don't scare me one bit. It's incredible that someone whose career consists of conducting costly, partisan investigations is so thin-skinned. Clearly, Congressman Issa doesn’t want to talk about how he made millions as a member of Congress while consistently failing to improve the lives of California families. I'm not going to back down from a politician who puts his party ahead of what's best for our country—not today, not ever."

Issa’s squealing like a stuck pig because polling has shown this race exceptionally close and he doesn’t know how to deal with it. In fact, a new Democratic survey released this week showed the incumbent with just a 48-46 lead. But like we’ve said, Issa is fantastically rich, and he can try to bury Applegate with ads of his own. So let’s show Applegate that we’ve got his back—and show Issa that Daily Kos is eager to take him down.

Please donate $3 to Doug Applegate today so that he can keep driving Darrell Issa nuts—and beat him in November.