September 23, 2015– On Tuesday, the campaign of billionaire reality TV star Donald Trump sent a letter to the media detailing a multi-million dollar legal threat against Club For Growth, one of Washington’s most conservative political groups, for libel.
Last week, Club for Growth announced it was spending upwards of $1 million in Iowa on two attack ads that accuse Trump, the current GOP front-runner, of wanting to raise taxes, as well as referencing his past support of socialized healthcare, Hillary Clinton, and the use of eminent domain for corporations to steal private property from property owners.
Insisting he only supported a one-time tax increase on the super wealthy 15 years ago and does not hold that belief anymore, Trump repudiated the claims, and says they aren’t true.
“This is the very definition of libel,” said Trump.
However, less than one month ago, Trump suggested raising taxes.
In fact, Trump’s suggestion to raise taxes were the catalyst for praise from the far left, including progressive liberal U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Keynesian economist Paul Krugman.
“Simply stated, your Attack Ad is not only completely disingenuous, but replete with outright lies, false, defamatory attacks and destructive statements and downright fabrications which you fully know to be untrue, thereby exposing you and your so-called ‘club’ to liability for damages and other tortious harm,” Trump’s legal counsel Alan Garten wrote to Glub for Growth.
In response to Trump’s threatened lawsuit, Club for Growth issued a press release titled “Club for Growth Action Responds to Trump’s Whining.”
“Tough guy Donald Trump starts whining when his liberal record is revealed,” McIntosh said.
[pull_quote_center]Trump has advocated higher taxes numerous times over many years, just like he’s advocated for universal health care, the Wall Street bailout, and expanded government powers to take private property. Trump’s own statements prove that our ads are accurate. They will continue to run. We suggest that Donald grow up, stop whining, and try to defend his liberal record.[/pull_quote_center]
Club for Growth describes itself as the leading free-enterprise advocacy group in the nation according to its website. The group has spent millions supporting candidates like libertarian-leaning Congressmen Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), as well as United States Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who are both running for President alongside Trump.
In fact, Club for Growth just recently endorsed Paul’s proposed presidential tax plan. “Senator Rand Paul is not just a reliable vote in Congress for pro-growth policies; he is a true champion of economic freedom,” said Club for Growth in their 2016 presidential candidate profile of Paul.
Trump’s threat has little chance of success for two reasons. First, because he went on record weeks ago and suggested raising taxes. Second, because libel cases are incredibly hard to win in the world of American politics. In fact, political entities (candidates or groups) have a legal right to lie in political ads. Therefore, even if Trump hadn’t suggested raising taxes only weeks ago, he’d still likely lose his case in court. Even if he won, Supreme Court precedent would make it virtually impossible for Trump to collect any damages.