A central Illinois farm operator is suing embattled ex-Rep. Aaron Schock and his successor, Rep. Darin LaHood, alleging the Republicans smeared his reputation with pigsty politics. In an Oct. 5 complaint against Schock, LaHood and the Peoria County Republican Central Committee, Richard Burns seeks $50,000 in damages. Burns claims a two-page letter endorsing his opponent in a Peoria County Board race last year cost him the election and soiled his standing as a cattle judge.
"Dick Burns has been banned by the Illinois State Fair from showing hogs because he has been caught seriously cheating to win contests with large prizes," Schock and LaHood wrote to Peoria County voters in a letter that was mailed a few days before ballots were cast.
That's hogwash, Burns argues.
Burns is a breeder and shower of Angus cattle who "does not now, nor has he ever, shown hogs at the Illinois State Fair," according to the circuit court complaint. Furthermore, it states, the fair does not have contests with large prizes.
The suit isn't political, Burns' attorney told the East Peoria Times-Courier . Christopher P. Ryan told the paper his client "didn’t attempt to file this immediately before the special election [to replace Schock] or to damage anyone."
Ryan did not respond to a call from CQ Roll Call.
LaHood and Schock also haven't commented on the beef with Burns.
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