Nevada Dems File FEC Complaint Against Angle, Tarkanian
The Nevada Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on Wednesday against the state’s Senate GOP candidate Sharron Angle and her onetime primary competitor Danny Tarkanian. The complaint alleges that Tarkanian violated FEC rules by campaigning for Angle and running a political committee against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at the same time. Tarkanian’s dual roles, Democrats argue, amount to contributions to the Angle campaign totaling more than the $5,000 maximum donation, and the allegation has set off some predictable squabbling:
“I’ve never been a surrogate for Sharron Angle. I’ve never spoken on her behalf,” he said. “I simply expressed my views on the Senate race, which I have a First Amendment right to do.”
Tarkanian, however, said he had planned to officially speak for Angle at an event this week, but backed out after he learned of the complaint.
Phoebe Sweet, a spokeswoman for the Democrats, said the withdrawal, “is clearly an admission of guilt that Angle and Tarkanian have been illegally coordinating and have now been caught red-handed.”
With the election season heating up, complaints of campaign finance improprieties filed by political rivals like this one are growing more and more common. The DCCC levied a big complaint with the IRS against Americans for Prosperity the same week the group was hosting its big Washington, DC, confab in August; Republicans in Colorado filed an FEC complaint against now-GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck during his primary run against Jane Norton; and the Delaware State GOP attempted the same thing against the Christine O’Donnell campaign and Tea Party Express when things started looking grim for Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in his GOP Senate primary.
Sometimes the complaints have merit, but often they are just a way for political rivals to wrestle up negative coverage, notes Richard Hasen, a Loyola Law School elections law professor. But then again, “Anytime you have someone wearing two hats, there is the risk of illegal coordination,” Hasen adds.