Talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh is considering litigation against the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, accusing the organization of mischaracterizing what he said about rape in a fundraising letter.
A letter from Limbaugh's attorney, Patty Glaser, says the DCCC “has intentionally disseminated demonstrably false statements concerning Rush Limbaugh in a concerted effort to harm Mr. Limbaugh, and with reckless disregard for the resulting impact to small businesses across America that choose to advertise on his radio program.”
“The DCCC may believe it to be immune from liability by quoting words, taken out of context. This is untrue,” Glaser said in a statement. “There is significant on point precedent in the 9th Circuit for holding an organization responsible for falsifying meaning through selective quoting.”
The DCCC, which raises money for U.S. House Democratic candidates, sent out a round of emails last fall to potential donors asking people to sign a petition to pressure companies to stop advertising with Rush Limbaugh.
The DCCC email from September quoted Limbaugh saying, “How many of you guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it?”
The DCCC appeal – sent to donors already inclined to disagree with Limbaugh – included a message from former Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, whom Limbaugh used a derogatory term against in 2012. In the email Fluke said, “As a previous target of Limbaugh’s sexist attacks, take it from me: we need to stand together and call Rush out. The DCCC has a petition to tell advertisers to stop funding this repulsive commentary.”
The DCCC email said, “Sign your name and demand that companies pull their advertising from Rush’s program.” The DCCC reportedly surpassed their goal of 300,000 names.
Rep. Steve Israel of New York is the DCCC chairman (although it's reported he is on the way out), and the group includes a number of other House Democrats in leadership positions.
"To lie about Rush Limbaugh’s words as a fundraising method, under the color of authority of the Democratic party, is a ‘tactic’ that is disrespectful to the general public, and to the twenty million people that choose to listen to Rush each week,” Limbaugh spokesperson Brian Glicklich said. “And the members of Congress who stood to gain from these false claims represent many of the small businesses across America that they deliberately interfered with, in furtherance of rankly partisan objectives.”
Limbaugh’s attorney references the case of Price v. Stossell, where a public figure’s comment was presented out of context, and changing the viewer’s understanding of the comment, “constitutes defamation.”
The DCCC press office did not immediately respond to inquiries from TheBlaze. A recording with the main phone line Monday said the DCCC is closed for the holiday. Veteran's Day is Tuesday.
There has been a separate Stop Rush campaign that promoted itself as grassroots consumers, which had been calling for an adverting boycott of Limbaugh’s 12-3 p.m. ET radio program. As TheBlaze reported in September, an investigation by Limbaugh's show said it found the Stop Rush campaign was funded by Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of Media Matters for America.
This story has been updated to clarify the lawsuit has not yet been filed.