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Commission candidate returns $15K to donors after complaint

Republican Clark County Commission candidate Stavros Anthony has returned $15,000 in campaign contributions from two donors who gave him more money than allowed by state law, his campaign manager said Friday.

Anthony, a Las Vegas councilman, wrote the checks to donors California Hope Trust and Ed Bozarth Chevrolet, according to campaign manager Lisa Mayo-DeRiso. Each donated more than $10,000 to Anthony’s campaign, exceeding the limit on individual contributions per campaign cycle.

California Hope Trust gave Anthony $10,000 last year and another $10,000 this year, according to campaign finance disclosure filings. Ed Bozarth Chevrolet contributed $10,000 last year and $5,000 in 2020.

Mayo-DeRiso attributed the issue to a campaign treasurer’s mistake, acknowledging that it was incumbent upon the campaign to keep track of donations to ensure they do not surpass the $10,000 maximum.

But Anthony’s campaign flub was brought to light Monday when his Democratic opponent for the county seat in District C, former Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, filed a complaint with the office he used to lead, also alleging other improprieties with Anthony’s fundraising.

“It appears he plays fast and loose with money contributed to his campaign, shielding key information about donors, illegally shifting money between different accounts and openly violating constitutionally established maximum contribution limits which are punishable as a criminal felony,” Miller wrote in the complaint to the secretary of state’s office.

Days before the election in the most competitively financed contest of four commission races, Mayo-DeRiso cast off Miller’s complaint as a desperate ploy for headlines to try to sway voters at the last minute.

“He’s had a very lackluster, anemic campaign,” she said about Miller. “It is a very common tactic called the ‘October surprise.’”

More allegations of illegal fundraising

Beyond exceeding individual contributor limits, the complaint alleges that Anthony illegally accepted more than $100,000 from a federal political action committee, transferred commingled funds from different accounts to his commission campaign and failed to identify contributor addresses on 22 occasions in violation of state law.

Mayo-DeRiso said that the address problem, like the contributor limits issue, has also since been cured, describing it as an upload error. In general, she pushed back against any suggestions that the issues were nefarious, pointing to how quickly the campaign acted to resolve them.

She did not believe that the other allegations in the complaint were valid and noted that candidates are allowed to transfer funds from federal campaign accounts: Anthony was a candidate for Congress in 2018 but dropped out nearly 10 months before the election due to concerns over an elevated heart rate.

A secretary of state’s office spokeswoman said Friday the complaint was under review.

Cease and desist for television ad

On Friday, Anthony’s campaign filed its own complaint with the Secretary of State’s office against Miller, alleging that a television ad accusing Anthony of corruption and felony behavior in connection to his fundraising had violated the code of fair campaign practices because it was blatantly false, Mayo-DeRiso said.

Anthony’s campaign on Friday would also be issuing a cease and desist letter to Miller’s campaign to stop running the ad, according to Mayo-DeRiso.

“We all know the filing of all this is craziness, because (Deputy Secretary of State) Wayne Thorley isn’t going to get a chance to look at any of this before the election,” she said about the complaints from the two campaigns. “But I’m also not going to let Ross Miller get away” with the television spot.

Miller stood by the ad Friday, saying it was “100 percent true” and that Anthony even confessed to wrongdoing.

“The ‘October surprise’ is that it’s unfortunate so many people have voted not knowing that he financed his campaign through felony conduct,” Miller said.

As of Sept. 30, Anthony had reported raising more than $905,000 for his campaign, efforts that began last year, according to financial disclosure filings, well above Miller’s $222,000 reported haul in 2020.

Anthony also reported spending nearly $705,000 while maintaining more than $186,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Miller reported spending close to $100,000 with a $123,000 war chest heading into the final month of the race.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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