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Lucy Flores shops where?!

Republicans fighting to get state Sen. Mark Hutchison elected lieutenant governor must think they’ve hit gold with accusations that Democratic challenger, Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, failed to file proper campaign spending disclosures. They’re out with a second ad hitting Flores on the topic.

The Republican State Leadership Committee produced the ad, called “Aloha,” which repeats allegations first aired in a Hutchison campaign ad that Flores failed to file complete campaign spending disclosures, after using campaign money for questionable purchases.

In the new ad, a narrator expands on the charges against Flores to reveal that she spent money at (gasp!) Bed, Bath & Beyond! (My God, anything but that! Then again, at least it wasn’t Wal-Mart!) And as if BB&B wasn’t bad enough, she also attended a conference in … Hawaii! The ad cites fines levied against Flores and a damaging quote from the Nevada Center for Public Ethics, just as Hutchison’s ad did.

“Lucy Flores: out for herself, not for us,” the ad concludes.

The attack references a Las Vegas Sun story that tallied up some campaign spending flubs, ironically quoting Secretary of State Ross Miller as the guy demanding full disclosures. (Irony alert! Miller, who fully disclosed all the gifts he got while in office, is being pilloried now by his Republican challenger for taking too many gifts! Damned if you do…)

Another irony: Neither Hutchison’s ad nor the new Republican State Leadership Committee ad cites what is perhaps the most damaging Flores quote from that Sun story, on the subject of the burdens of campaign reporting: “Maybe if I had a staffer that the state paid for to record every single one of my receipts and ensure they were being kept up full-time, and I didn’t have to leave my day job so I could spend an additional couple of hours working on that.” Ouch, baby.

But, the fact is, Flores had something of a safe harbor, in that a Democratic caucus attorney opined that the expenses in question were legitimate uses for campaign accounts. That view differed from Miller’s, however. But it’s not as if Flores went rogue in her spending. Unfortunately for her, everybody is doing it and my lawyer said it was OK are hardly good defenses in a campaign.

Either way, Flores will have to respond to the allegations, even if only the change the subject. But now that Hutchison and his friends at the Republican State Leadership Committee have staked out the moral high ground on the issue of campaign disclosure, they’re sure to support bills in the 2015 Legislature requiring full disclosure of spending and an outright ban on gifts, right? I will be waiting for that BDR with great anticipation!

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