The days following the November 4, 2014 campaign, I gave very serious consideration to the events that immediately preceded the election; specifically, the editing and manipulating of my quote thus changing its meaning. The Lois Capps campaign and the DCCC then produced and aired those changes in a negative ad campaign.
Daily, someone stops me, calls or emails me to express disbelief at the brazen campaign improprieties of the Capps regime. No matter the political party, they know right from wrong.
Appreciating the fabric out of that this country is woven, I cannot allow our value system to be torn by this deception of the American people. I am hereby announcing my formal opposition to this decline in American ideals and my resolve to continue to fight to restore integrity to a process cynically viewed as a justification for the win-at-all-costs approach used by Mrs. Capps.
After careful examination of the facts, I have authorized my attorneys to file a lawsuit today against Representative Capps, her associates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington. They are responsible for maliciously, knowingly and improperly manipulating my digital image and audio message so as to distort and destroy the public's accurate perception of my campaign and message and it's positive support for my candidacy.
I call upon concerned citizens everywhere - whatever your political affiliation - to defend and affirm the Constitution and everyone's right to freedom of speech. Join me in calling for Ms. Capps to do the only remaining honorable thing given the shameful conduct described here and immediately resign her Congressional seat.
Mrs. Capps' astounding, deliberate, and blatant falsification of the truth renders her unacceptable as a public servant. Congress is an entity of and for the people. Its ideals are to be upheld and respected; not violated.
-- Chris Mitchum
Mitchum's Attorney's Statement (Press Release) from Joshua Lynn
Former Republican congressional candidate Chris Mitchum, whose race against incumbent Representative, Lois Capps, (California, 24th Congressional District, Nov. 2014), resulted in a razor-thin “victory” for Mrs. Capps; the only close election of her 16-year Congressional career, has filed a landmark lawsuit against Mrs. Capps for Defamation of Character, according to an announcement today from attorney Joshua E. Lynn of Lynn & O’Brien, LLP.
The suit names Lois Capps, the Capps For Congress Campaign, (“Friends of Lois Capps”), and the, theoretically, independent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, (DCCC), as defendants citing two ads, one radio and one television, alleging wherein the defendants deliberately edited Mitchum’s filmed and audio comments so as to completely alter and falsify what Candidate Chris Mitchum actually said.
“Editing film clips and sound bites to alter their meaning is like forging a signature,” said Lynn.
“The well-funded special interest ads flooded voters all across the district and beyond, particularly after the DCCC purchased an unprecedented $99,000 in radio time alone in the final weekend of the campaign; an extraordinary buy for such a small market.”
Lynn went on to say that these unsavory tactics are not new to the DCCC, which is currently being sued for defamation by billionaire political activist Sheldon Adelson for their attacks on him during the 2012 election. This case is even more significant said Lynn: “no matter one’s political party or affiliation, distortions and falsifications have no legitimate place in an election. Here, the result was to change the outcome and disenfranchise voters who cast ballots that must be made to count.”
“This action is all about the abuse of free speech,” Lynn continued. “The record will show that, as the election was, according to Capps’ own words, literally a ‘dead heat’, my client’s comments were not merely taken out of context, they were maliciously distorted so as to make him appear to say something he clearly never said or meant to say. To validate this conduct by Capps and her political friends, is to cynically ratify the increasing failure to truthfully separate oneself in a political race. The line crossed here must be re-established as words were literally removed to change the meaning of Mitchum’s statement.
Then, this highly unusual media purchase aired the butchered quotes, (enhanced further by inaccurate and misleading commentary from Capps’ Campaign heard throughout these ads), mere days before the election and changed its outcome as a result.
“It was a new low in campaign tactics and must be challenged,” Lynn concluded.
“We intend to pursue this action vehemently; the law is now clear in this area. Our nation, our state and our district deserve better than this from our elected public officials.”
Note: There is a direct legal precedent holding that a “statement actually made by a public figure, but presented in a misleading content, thereby changing the understanding of the speaker’s words, constitutes defamation.” Price v. Stossel 620 F.3rd 992 (9th Cir. 2010)
Lois Capps won the election using highly deceptive and misleading statements.
She will be held accountable.
Mitchum's Actual Statement:
Radio ad the DNCC produced on Capps' behalf:
(click orange play > button at left to play)