Congressman Leonard Boswell.

Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell has filed a defamation suit against the Des Moines man who challenged him in a primary in 2008.

Earlier this week Ed Fallon sent an email to supporters and posted an account on his public website, sharing details of what Fallon calls a troubling episode.

“When it became clear to Leonard Boswell that I was going to run against him in 2008, he sent one person and then another person to meet with me and the idea was they’d give me an $80,000 job with his congressional staff if I would agree not to run,” Fallon told Radio Iowa tonight.

 “I found that pretty distasteful and, obviously, I said no.”

During a public appearance on this morning, Boswell was asked about the allegation and The Des Moines Register reports Boswell denied offering Fallon a job, saying Fallon’s allegation was “not true.”

According to Fallon, it’s not just his word against the Boswell staffers. There was another witness.

Ed Fallon (file photo)

“My wife at the time, Lynn, was with me at both meetings and the two people that we spoke to — again, I’m not making this up — if they want to commit perjury, then they can do that,” Fallon told Radio Iowa. “But if they’re going to tell the truth, the truth is he offered me that job.”

Lynn Heuss Fallon and Ed Fallon divorced two years ago. Fallon said he spoke with her today, after he was served with the legal papers notifying him of Boswell’s lawsuit.

Fallon said he didn’t bring the alleged bribe up during his 2008 campaign against Boswell because he “didn’t want to stoop to that level.”

“I’ve mentioned this to people over the years. This just happens to be the first time that I’ve mentioned it in the context of a more public conversation, but to be frank to you, I’m surprised that it’s come to this,” Fallon told Radio Iowa tonight. “I’m surprised that Congressman Boswell wants to take this step because it’s not going to be good for him or for the impression that people have a politicians in general.”

Fallon, a former state representative who also ran for governor in 2006, hosts an on-line talk show every week day. He was involved in “Occupy Des Moines” protests and recently traveled to New York City to mark the movement’s one-year anniversary. In his email to friends and supporters early this week, Fallon argued that Democrats should wage a write-in campaign for Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie rather than vote for Boswell this November.

“I mean, Leonard Boswell is very likely to lose this seat and, to me, that’s fine because he’s been a lousy congressman,” Fallon said this evening.

Boswell faces a tough reelection battle against Republican Congressman Tom Latham of Clive this fall. The lawsuit Boswell filed Friday in Polk County District Court accuses Fallon of defaming his character and damaging the congressman’s reputation. A spokesman for Boswell’s campaign referred questions about the lawsuit to the lawyer handling the case, who is not available this evening.

(Updated at 9:07 p.m. with additional information.)