HOUSTON (CN) - Congressman Steve Stockman, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the Texas Republican primary, claims in court that a group run by a Cornyn crony defamed him by saying he violated federal ethics laws and has a criminal history.
Stockman represents Texas' 36th Congressional District, composed of nine southeast Texas counties and parts of southeastern Harris County, whose seat is Houston.
Stockman sued Texans For a Conservative Majority in Harris County Court.
Stockman surprised Texas Republicans when he launched an eleventh-hour primary bid against Cornyn in December with no money in the bank.
Cornyn, who is seeking his third term, is the Senate minority whip and Texas' senior senator to tea party darling Sen. Ted Cruz.
Texans For a Conservative Majority is run by its founder Randy Cubriel, a former Cornyn aide.
The super PAC is taking shots at Stockman in TV ads and on its website.
"These statements were derogatory and prejudicial to the reputation of Stockman and included unfounded and untrue statements claiming Stockman had been 'jailed more than once,' 'charged with a felony,' and 'violated federal ethics laws,'" Stockman says in the lawsuit.
Under the header "Criminal History," the website - shadystockman.com - includes a large black-and-white photo of Stockman next to the following statement attributed to The Washington Post: "He has been jailed more than once, and was charged with a felony after one such incident when authorities found Valium in his pants."
Stockman claims in the lawsuit that as of Jan. 15, Texans For a Conservative Majority has spent $814,000 to defeat him in the primary.
He seeks punitive damages for defamation.
He is represented by Mark Brewer with Brewer & Pritchard of Houston.