WASHINGTON -- Nevada Democrats filed a federal election complaint Wednesday charging Sharron Angle and fellow Republican Danny Tarkanian with campaign violations.
While it may be months before the federal agency gets around to investigating, there was one immediate outcome when Tarkanian pulled out of a Wednesday night political forum in Summerlin where he was to speak on Angle's behalf.
Tarkanian said the complaint was baseless. Nonetheless, "to be on the conservative side I will make sure I do not speak at this event until we get a clarification from the (Federal Election Commission) as to what is permissible."
The complaint filed at the Federal Election Commission by the state Democratic Party was the latest volley in the ground war between Sen. Harry Reid and Angle, his GOP challenger.
Also involved in this round is Tarkanian, who has re-emerged as a player since losing to Angle in the Republican Senate primary in June. He runs an anti-Reid political committee called Harry Reid Votes.
According to the complaint, Tarkanian's association with the political committee prohibits him from serving as an Angle surrogate since federal law forbids outside groups from coordinating their activities with candidates.
"Danny Tarkanian has violated the (Federal Election Campaign Act) because he has created a political committee to attack Harry Reid, while at the same time acting as an agent of Sharron Angle's Senate campaign," the party said in the seven-page complaint. Democrats said Tarkanian spoke at a "gun rights" event in September that it said was sponsored by the Angle campaign.
Tarkanian said he has not coordinated with the Angle campaign, and should not be silenced from speaking out on the race "where most citizens in Nevada feel we need a change and support Sharron Angle."
The Angle campaign had not seen the complaint, "but our lawyers will review it when we get it," spokesman Jarrod Agen said. "We are very careful to follow all laws and regulations."
"The Democrats are desperate and I'd expect them to issue several false claims like this to grab headlines, " Agen said.
Democratic spokeswoman Phoebe Sweet said Tarkanian's withdrawal from the Summerlin event "is clearly an admission of guilt that Angle and Tarkanian have been illegally coordinating and have now been caught red-handed."
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-783-1760.