We warned readers this morning to brace themselves for another whole big exhausting thing with the Bundy family ranchers, thinking that a call from environmental groups for the government to relocate their cattle might prompt another standoff. That might still be the case, but the newest thing we have to contend with turns out to be this completely bonkers lawsuit the Bundy patriarch is filing in federal court.
Cliven Bundy’s suit, first picked up by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Talking Points Memo, names Barack Obama; U.S. Senator Harry Reid; Rory Reid, the senator’s son; and Gloria Navarro, the judge presiding over Bundy’s criminal case, as individual defendants. It seeks to remove Navarro from the case, to allow the wingnut conservative activist Larry Klayman to represent Bundy criminally, and more than $50 million in damages from the defendants.
On or about March 24, 2014 for a period of days leading into April 2016, Defendant HARRY REID’S hand-picked Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Neil Kornze, a longtime REID aide, at the direction of Defendant HARRY REID ordered and sent the equivalent of federal storm-troopers to Plaintiff BUNDY’S ranch to seize his and his family’s land and capture and/or harm his cattle, at the direction of Defendant HARRY REID.
Aside from the whole storm-troopers thing, the suit also alleges that the BLM’s widely publicized standoff with Bundy over his cattle’s grazing on federal lands was part of a covert plot by Obama and the Reid family to seize Bundy’s land for themselves and sell it off “for profit and/or kickbacks from the purchaser(s), some of whom were reported to be communist Chinese.”
The supposed Reid family connection to the Bundy ranch is well trodden territory for extreme right-wing conspiracist bloggers, so much so that PolitiFact devoted an entry to it two years ago. The website gave the theory a “pants on fire” rating, the lowest one available. (For one thing, the BLM was never interested in Bundy’s private property, it was interested in protecting the government’s own land.)
Bundy’s attorneys also claim in the suit that Harry Reid owns a 93-acre lot adjacent to the Bundy ranch, as evidence that Reid is trying to snatch Cliven’s land. The problem, as reporter and Bundy expert JJ MacNabb points out, is that the land is owned by an octogenarian woman who happens to share the senator’s last name, not Harry Reid himself.
That 93-acre lot right next to Bundy Ranch? The think it's owned by the Senator bec the name "Reid" is in the name. pic.twitter.com/T37jzyGXa3— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) May 10, 2016
< 1 minute on the Internet => the "Reid" in Reid Bunkerville LLC was Laverne Reid, an octogenarian from Bunkerville. pic.twitter.com/QFaqOi55mQ— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) May 10, 2016
Finally, the suit accuses the defendants of making a variety of false statements about the Bundys, including a joke President Obama made at Cliven’s expense at the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner last month. The joke “which while he couched it as humor, was not in fact humor but a threat to prosecute Defendant BUNDY and his sons and other family members for the successful standoff,” according to the suit.