Ojeda says VA leak derailed his congressional bid

FILE - In this May 15, 2018 file photo, Richard Ojeda talks at a gym in Logan, W.Va. The retired Army paratrooper and West Virginia lawmaker who formalized his campaign for the presidency on Veterans Day 2018 is stepping down from the state Senate. Ojeda told news outlets that he's resigning as of next week because he doesn't want his seat to sit empty while he's campaigning for president in 2020. Republican Gov. Jim Justice will choose his replacement. (AP Photo/John Raby, File)

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Former Army Maj. Richard Ojeda says his West Virginia congressional campaign was derailed by a Department of Veterans Affairs employee who’s charged with leaking medical records.
The former Democratic state senator and one-time presidential hopeful filed suit against the VA on Thursday. He’s seeking documents relating to the agency’s investigation of former claims assistant Jeffery S. Miller.
Federal prosecutors have accused Miller of unlawfully accessing and sharing the medical records of an unidentified public figure. Miller’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.
Ojeda’s filing identifies himself as the public figure mentioned in the federal case against Miller. He says his medical records were distributed among high-ranking Republicans in a bid to hurt his 2018 race against current-Rep. Carol Miller.
A spokeswoman for the congresswoman says Carol Miller isn’t related to Jeffery S. Miller. She says the congresswoman has never seen the medical records and knew nothing about the matter.
Ojeda’s lawsuit says the VA’s investigatory documents will “prove a concerted effort to undermine his candidacy and forever damage his reputation.”
Miller defeated Ojeda in the race for West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District after a key endorsement from President Donald Trump, who carried the district by nearly 50 percentage points in 2016. Trump won the entire state by 68 percentage points.
Just days after losing to Miller, Ojeda announced he was running for president in 2020. He stepped down from his state Senate seat so he could campaign but then abandoned his presidential bid after about two months as a candidate, saying he wasn’t getting enough money or attention.