The Buzz: Cease-fire in legal fight between Republican lawmakers running for same tax board seat in 2014

November 28, 2013 

Lawsuit dropped, but fight between Republicans isn’t over

A legal tussle between two Republican state lawmakers has ended, with Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, dropping her $10 million defamation lawsuit against Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Escondido. The two are running for the same Board of Equalization seat in 2014.

The dispute grew out of comments Wyland made to a tea party group about a lawsuit brought against Harkey and her husband, Dan, alleging that he had defrauded investors.

Harkey responded by suing Wyland for defamation, claiming that his remarks had “the sole purpose of embarrassing her politically” to gain an advantage in the race to succeed Michelle Steel on the state tax board.

Harkey has since abandoned the case.

A spokesman for Harkey’s campaign said that, despite the lawsuit being dropped, Wyland still distorted the facts when he addressed the tea party group. That should remain an active factor in the Board of Equalization campaign, spokesman Tim Clark said.

“We’re going to let it play out on the campaign battlefield and let the voters see what Mark has done,” Clark said. “We’re going to take it straight to the voters.”

– Jeremy B. White

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