Shadegg Campaign Bankrolls Mystery "slander" Case

Rep. John Shadegg has shelled out $19,698.03  in legal and research fees to a white-shoe Washington law firm to pursue an unspecified libel and slander case, according to a spokesperson for the seven-term conservative Republican from Phoenix.

Shadegg's campaign made four payments to Sidley Austin -- which once employed Barack and Michelle Obama in its Chicago office -- between July and September, according to federal campaign filings. The firm has a wide-ranging practice that includes business law and white-collar criminal defense.

"It is not a criminal matter," said Shadegg spokeswoman Abby Winter, when asked about the purpose of the payments. "The congressman is considering taking legal action against a party. It has to do with libel and slander."

Winter refused to answer any other questions about the case. A call to the firm wasn't returned.

Shadegg, 59, is locked in an acrimonious re-election battle with Democrat Bob Lord.