April 12, 2016 - 8:21 pm
Congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian is launching a radio ad this week that targets Michael Roberson, calling the Republican state Senate majority leader “Nevada’s version of Hillary Clinton.”
Tarkanian and Roberson are running for the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District, an open race with seven GOP candidates in all and six Democratic candidates.
Tarkanian assails Roberson on a variety of fronts, including his support of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $1 billion-plus tax increase for public education. Tarkanian also complains that Roberson isn’t releasing his emails he exchanged with lobbyists and political action committees.
“He’s fighting to keep his emails with lobbyists secret from the public, even though they’re writing the laws that affect all of us,” Tarkanian says in the ad. “It’s outrageous.”
Tarkanian had filed a public records request with Roberson for the emails. His ad notes that Roberson is “under investigation for his special interest PAC money.”
One of Tarkanian’s friends, Michael Brown, had filed a complaint with the secretary of state asking for an investigation into four political action committees Roberson has previously run and examine whether donations were improperly funneled to candidates to circumvent contribution limits. Roberson’s attorney has denied wrongdoing in a response to the state.
The Legislative Counsel Bureau, not Roberson, responded to Tarkanian’s records request, sending him a 33-page letter denying the request. The LCB attorney gave a variety of reasons, including claiming that the public records law doesn’t apply to the Legislature because the body isn’t legally defined as a “governmental entity” in the law.
In an interview, Tarkanian said there’s nothing preventing Roberson from handing over his emails if he wants to.
“You’d think that would be a no-brainer — that he’d release them,” Tarkanian said, adding that one of the main issues people have with politics is a “lack of transparency” and a “lack of trust.”
Roberson’s campaign adviser, Mike Slanker, in a statement, said “Danny Tarkanian’s ethical challenges are many” and called it a “strange attack.”
Tarkanian said he expects attacks from Roberson’s campaign.
“It’s no surprise to me that Roberson would make up lies about me,” he said. “This is what establishment candidates do when they’re in trouble.”
The ad buy, which will cost more than $5,000, will air for several weeks on KBET 790 AM.
Contact Ben Botkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2904. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.