Republican legislators' seven-year quest to repeal former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act has left voters on both sides of the aisle grappling with feelings of outrage and frustration. But for at least one Republican, enough is enough. A GOP donor in Virginia is suing the Republican Party for their failure to repeal Obamacare, accusing the party of engaging in a pattern of racketeering.
According to a report from the Virginian-Pilot, 70-year-old retired attorney Bob Heghmann filed a lawsuit Thursday against both the Republican Party of Virginia and the Republican National Committee (RNC). The lawsuit alleges Republicans raised millions of dollars through campaign contributions on the promise the party would repeal and replace Obamacare despite knowing they wouldn't actually be able to overturn the law. It claims the Republican Party "has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats."
Senate Republicans failed to garner the necessary votes to pass their "skinny repeal" bill in an early-morning vote July 28, effectively killing their latest effort to repeal Obamacare. Heghmann's lawsuit alleges that most of the more than $755 million raised by the RNC and the Republican Party of Virginia between 2009 and 2016 was given to the party because of its promise to repeal Obamacare. Federal records reportedly show Heghmann gave more than $800 to the Republican Party of New Hampshire during the 2016 campaign, before moving to Virginia Beach last year.
In his lawsuit, Heghmann reportedly argued that comments former House Speaker John Boehner made following Obama's re-election in 2012 prove Republicans knew they would not be able to immediately repeal Obamacare and yet they campaigned and fundraised on that promise anyway. "Speaker Boehner was sending a message to House Republicans and others that Repeal was not going to happen," Heghmann contends in his lawsuit. "Nevertheless, the Republican Party continued to use the mails, wires, and interstate commerce to solicit donations and votes to secure House and Senate majorities and ultimately the Presidency. Now that the Republican Party has won the House, the Senate and the Presidency the effort it is making to Repeal and Replace Obamacare is itself a Fraud upon Republican Voters and Donors."
Heghmann told the Virginian-Pilot he wanted campaign contributions returned to donors or for the RNC and state parties to pressure Republican legislators in Congress to vote to repeal Obamacare by threatening to withhold financial support from them. "If the candidates don't deliver, it's incumbent on the RNC to go to the candidate and say, 'You can't do this,'" Heghmann told the Virginian-Pilot.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, one of Virginia's two RNC members, Morton Blackwell, called the lawsuit a "frivolous nuisance suit that should be thrown out of court by any judge." Blackwell is reportedly named as a defendant in Heghmann's lawsuit along with Virginia's other RNC member, Cynthia Dunbar.
The Republican Party of Virginia did not immediately return Bustle's request for a comment.