Miller seeks documents in Reid PAC investigation

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller on Friday formally requested financial documents from former gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid in a probe of potential campaign finance violations.

In letters to Reid, his former campaign manager and a campaign staffer, Miller asks for checks, bank account information and other documents related to 91 political-action committees that collected and funneled campaign contributions to Reid's failed campaign for governor.

"We're happy to provide it," Reid said of the requested information.

Miller's letter cites a March 4 "investigative report by Jon Ralston" as the basis for the inquiry.

"This office believes that additional information is necessary to help us determine whether a violation actually occurred," Miller wrote.

The secretary of state's office had no further comment.

Reid created 90 PACs that received money from a larger Reid-created PAC and then donated it to his official campaign account.

In Nevada, a single contributor can donate up to $10,000 to a candidate for state office but larger donations to PACs are allowed. Reid's setup allowed for contributors' larger PAC donations to flow through the other PACs and into the campaign account.

Reid said the web of PACs, managed under the name of campaign manager David Cohen and campaign staffer Joanna Paul, disclosed more about donation sources and spending than other methods available to candidates under Nevada's notoriously loose campaign finance laws.

Under Reid's system the candidate raised more than $900,000 for an organization called the Economic Leadership PAC. That organization then distributed the money to dozens of other PACs with titles such as the Lyon County 2010 Liberty Fund and Silver State 2010 Progressive Alliance.

The smaller PACs then made donations to Reid's official campaign account. The transactions are disclosed in Reid's filing with the secretary of state.

"Everything I did was fully disclosed," said Reid, a former Clark County commissioner and the son of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "Everyone knows who contributed to my campaign and how I spent the money. I welcome the inquiry, and I will cooperate fully."

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at or 702-383-0281.