A bitter Republican fight for a Texas Senate seat took a new legal turn Thursday when incumbent Sen. Jeff Wentworth filed a libel lawsuit against opponent Elizabeth Ames Jones.
A recent radio ad from the Ames Jones campaign suggests Wentworth illegally double bills the state and his campaign for the same travel expenses, which is a potential felony.
Wentworth denies the allegation and says he has records dating back several years that back him up. Wentworth filed his lawsuit in San Antonio.
“It’s one thing to engage in the sort of standard misrepresentation and distortion of facts,” Wentworth said. “But to accuse your opponent of committing a crime goes way across the line. I’m not going to put up with that.”
The Ames Jones campaign stood behind the ad, saying state and campaign expense records show a pattern of Wentworth billing the state and his campaign for hundreds of travel expenses, including gasoline and airfare. “Sen. Wentworth needs to explain each of those discrepancies to taxpayers,” Ames Jones said in a statement.
Wentworth said he can, and has the canceled checks to prove it.