Fleischmann Added as Defendant in Lawsuit by Former (perhaps future?) Robin Smith Aide

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is now a defendant in a lawsuit alleging that Chip Saltsman, his chief of staff, defamed and slandered an aide for the congressman’s top rival during last year’s Republican primary, according to the Chattanooga TFP..
“As Chuck Fleisch-mann’s lackey, Mr. Saltsman acted only upon the instruction and approval of Chuck Fleischmann and on his behalf,” said a court filing for Mark Winslow, the former aide to Robin Smith.
Financial disclosures show Fleischmann’s campaign has already paid $7,565.38 to the Nashville law firm defending Saltsman, raising the question of whether a sitting congressman can use campaign donations for his own legal defense.
Jordan Powell, a spokesman for Fleischmann, said the congressman “was advised by counsel not to comment on any pending litigation.” Earlier this year,
Fleischmann’s office consulted with the federal agency that oversees election law. In a May 26 advisory opinion, the Federal Election Commission determined the Saltsman legal expenditures were campaign-related and not for “personal use.” The opinion did not address whether a congressman is allowed to use such funds, but it hinted at the issue.
…Fleischmann became a defendant in Winslow’s lawsuit about the same time Smith, the former chairwoman of the state Republican Party, began talking publicly about challenging the congressman again. In an interview, Smith said she’ll make a decision about whether she’ll run in 2012 within the next few weeks. She said she wouldn’t rule out hiring Winslow for a rematch.

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