Darrell Ehrlick

(Daily Montanan) U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale, a Republican who represents the entire state of Montana in the United States House of Representatives, has responded to a lawsuit that accuses him of illegally coordinating with the National Rifle Association in a campaign.

The lawsuit, brought by Giffords, a gun-control advocacy organization named after former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and survived, alleges that Rosendale, who is running for re-election in Montana’s eastern House district, coordinated approximately $400,000 in campaign materials illegally with the NRA in his failed 2018 U.S. Senate campaign.

Separate but similar suits were also launched against Donald J. Trump and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, respectively.

Attorneys for Rosendale said that Giffords lacks standing to bring the lawsuit, saying that an organization that wasn’t party to the campaign cannot bring a lawsuit. The suit points out that Rosendale’s opponents didn’t object, and they were the only ones who could allege harm by the coordination.

Rosendale has also asked the federal court in Washington, D.C., to dismiss the case because none of the allegations relate to actions in the federal District of Columbia, and just being a U.S. House member doesn’t necessarily make the Montana representative subject to jurisdiction there.

“The fact that Matt Rosendale for Montana has donors in D.C. is completely irrelevant to allegations regarding coordinated communications with NRA defendants,” the response said. “Likewise, renting a facility in D.C. does not give rise to specific personal jurisdiction for anything other than actions directly arising from that rental.”

The thrust of the legal defense is not centered on denying the coordination occurred between the NRA and Rosendale’s campaign, rather that Giffords couldn’t have suffered any damage from the activity, and therefore has no standing in court.

“Unsurprisingly, (Giffords) cannot identify a single case in which a non-candidate suffered a cognizable injury from an alleged coordination communication,” the court document said. “Even if (Giffords) had alleged a sufficient competitive injury based on conduct in previously elections, ‘a favorable decision here will not redress the injuries (Giffords) claims.”

Attorneys for Rosendale also said that competitors only have standing in court when they allege the injury is ongoing – and note that Giffords has not make claims about Rosendale’s 2020 or 2022 campaigns.