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Nevada Democrats file another ethics complaint against Dean Heller

Updated February 28, 2018 - 5:15 pm

Nevada Democrats filed an ethics complaint Wednesday accusing U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of violating federal law by using his office to raise money for his re-election campaign, the latest strike in one of the nation’s most closely watched races.

“This is the self-serving and ethically questionable behavior that Nevadans have come to expect from Sen. Dean Heller,” said William McCurdy II, chairman of the Nevada State Democratic Party. “Heller is so desperate to avoid losing his job in Washington that he’s now willing to break the rules and exploit his taxpayer-funded office in order to try and salvage his political career.”

The complaint claims that the Republican senator exploited his official resources by running Google ads that touted his “No Budget, No Pay Act” — a measure he introduced last year that required members of Congress to pass a budget on time if they are to get paid.

But clicking on the ad brings people to Heller’s senate campaign contribution page, which solicits for donations of $5 to $2,500.

Heller is widely viewed as the most vulnerable GOP senator in the 2018 election. He faces a primary challenge from perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian, and the winner of the June election will go against Democratic U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen.

Rosen, a freshman who is leaving her House seat to vie for the Senate, has outraised Heller 2-to-1. Tarkanian launched an onslaught of attacks against Heller for not supporting President Donald Trump and for voting against GOP-backed measures, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act.

A Heller spokesman on Wednesday dismissed the ethics complaint.

“Jacky Rosen should be embarrassed by her juvenile campaign,” said Keith Schipper, Heller’s campaign spokesman. “These complaints are a joke and only highlight the fact that Rosen has nothing to run on. No accomplishments — nothing but a few months in office before announcing a campaign for something else.”

Last weekend, Rosen’s campaign emailed a survey about restoring net neutrality — a measure she’s supported as a congresswoman — and it asked for campaign donations at the end of the survey.

The complaint Wednesday is the third filed against Heller by the state Democratic Party.

In October, he was accused of using his position on the finance committee to solicit campaign donations as Republicans were preparing to pass their tax bill. The party filed another complaint last month blasting Heller for posting official press releases as articles on his campaign’s Medium account. That practice has since stopped, party officials said.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.

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