Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Larry Klayman, the conservative lawyer best known for repeatedly taking the Clinton administration to court in the 1990s, sued supporters of the Bush administration yesterday, claiming they appropriated the name "Freedom's Watch" for use in a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in support of the Iraq war.
Klayman, who supported the initial invasion but now says he is against the "chaotic" war, accuses what he says is an "arrogant Washington elite" of adopting a name he has used for nonprofit work since 2004. He said he became interested in the name "Freedom Watch" after writers of the television series "The West Wing" created a fictitious group by that name, loosely based on his organization Judicial Watch, which filed a number of lawsuits against Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The pro-war Freedom's Watch organization was formed last month by former Bush aides and Republican fundraisers to launch a $15 million advertising campaign to support the president's Iraq strategy. "It shouldn't surprise anyone that Larry Klayman is filing another lawsuit with absolutely no validity," Freedom's Watch spokesman Matt David told the Associated Press.
But an unflinching Klayman said he is seeking $100 million in damages in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Miami. "The Bush people stole my name," Klayman said. "They actually saw it and liked it." By putting an apostrophe in the title of their group, he added, Bush's supporters "were trying to be cute.
"These arrogant political lobbyists and rich Bush 'yes men' . . . are not furthering freedom, but in fact harming it," Klayman said.
-- Paul Lewis