The Nevada State Democratic Party on Thursday filed a complaint with the secretary of state’s office against Assemblyman Cresent Hardy for sending out a fundraising invitation for a Sept. 24 event, which would violate a “blackout” period barring incumbent candidates from raising money within 15 days following a special session of the Nevada Legislature.
Hardy, R-Mesquite, is running for the 4th Congressional District, challenging U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev.
The special session was held Sept. 10 and 11 to approve $1.3 billion in tax breaks and abatements for Tesla, an electric car company that agreed to build a $5 billion battery factory in Northern Nevada in exchange for the incentives.
The fundraising invitation sent out Thursday morning asks donors to contribute $2,600 to co-host the Hardy event or $1,000 to attend. The blackout period, however, doesn’t end until Sept. 27, three days after the event.
“Cresent Hardy’s fundraising solicitation during the blackout period is a blatant violation of Nevada law,” said Roberta Lange, chairwoman of the Nevada State Democratic Party.
“The law is clear: legislators cannot solicit funds for political purposes in the fifteen days following the special session. But considering he kicked off his campaign for Congress comparing non-discrimination laws to ‘segregation,’ maybe we shouldn’t be surprised Cresent Hardy is equally clueless about campaign finance laws.”
A spokesman for the Hardy campaign, Scott Scheid, said a compliance officer in the secretary of state’s office had given approval for the fundraiser, however, because federal law trumps state law and Hardy is running for federal office. A 2001 attorney general’s opinion also confirms that legal position.
“There is an AG opinion that states that a member of the Legislature is not prohibited from soliciting or accepting monetary contributions for a campaign for federal office before, during, or after a regular or special session of the Legislature,” said Shelly J. Capurro, an elections division officer with the secretary of state’s office.
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