Dem group's ad raps Heller as friend of Wall Street

A Democratic group with ties to Nevada Sen. Harry Reid is out with a commercial calling Republican Sen. Dean Heller a friend of Wall Street, "and that's bad for you."

The ad from Patriot Majority USA that began running Tuesday in Reno notes Heller worked as a  stockbroker early in his career,  and "votes like he still works for Wall Street."

Heller's campaign called the ad "disingenuous and misleading," saying it overlooks that he was the only member of Nevada's congressional delegation "to stand up to the big banks" and vote in 2008 against the $700 billion bank "bailout" bill.

It's also been more than 20 years since Heller worked on the Pacific Stock Exchange in Los Angeles after graduating from the University of Southern California in 1985, a spokeswoman said.

Heller moved home to Carson City in 1989.  He worked as a  Bank of America consultant while serving in the Nevada Assembly between 1990 and 1994, then began his career as the state's elected Secretary of State and eventually was elected to Congress in 2007.

Nonetheless the Patriot Majority ad is running in the battleground of Washoe County which pundits say holds the key to the race between Heller and Democratic challenger Rep. Shelley Berkley.

"Before Wall Street gave him $200,000 in campaign cash, before he voted to let bank CEOs take millions in taxpayer funded bonuses, Dean Heller was a stockbroker," the ad's narrator says over images of a granite-columned streetscape, execs preparing to board a corporate jet and activity on a trading room floor.

"No wonder he voted against Wall Street reform; against holding the big banks accountable.  Heller even voted to risk your Social Security... in the stock market."

Coincidentally,  while Patriot Majority was attempting to soften up Heller on Tuesday,  Berkley also began running a campaign commercial in the Reno market that attempted to play up a "public service and family" message.

The anti-Heller ad marks the debut of the Patriot Majority in Nevada this election season.  The organization, whose president Craig Varoga is a former communications director to Sen. Harry Reid,  spent more than $2.7 million to help Reid win re-election in 2010.

Heller's campaign called Patriot Majority a "Reid front group" in its efforts to knock him off in November.

It argued  Berkley has stronger ties to Wall Street in the form of campaign contributions this year and more than $1 million in stock market investments through her husband, a Las Vegas physician.