Is Lowden dipping into general election funds?

Questions are being raised about whether Sue Lowden has dipped into donations she got for the general election to pay for her final primary ad pitch.

Robert Uithoven, spokesman for Lowden’s U.S. Senate campaign, says the Republican hasn’t spent any money that she wasn’t supposed to.

But a Washington Post analysis of her recent spending and fund-raising suggests Lowden may have tapped $100,000 she wasn’t supposed to under campaign finance laws. According to Federal Election Commission records, the Post says that Lowden loaned her campaign $100,000, partly to clear up an initial discrepancy reported by the Review-Journal last week when her campaign acknowledged spending about $18,000 in general election funds, inadvertently it said.

But then on May 28, Lowden’s campaign bought $220,000 in ad time from Nevada TV stations — at least $100,000 more than she had available for primary expenses, the Post reported Wednesday.

"Either the campaign under-reported its donations in recent days, or it’s spending general election money," the Post concludes.

In a statement, Lowden’s campaign manager suggested that low-dollar contributions covered the cost of the ad buy.

"Sue Lowden is properly filing her FEC reports every 48 hours of any contributions of $1,000 or more," said Uithoven.

"Further, any personal contributions have been and will continue to be reported in accordance with the FEC guidelines. We are still benefiting from lower-dollar contributions from mail and Internet fundraising, as well as regular contributions made at campaign events."

Politico.com picked up on the Lowden campaign financing discrepancy in a story Wednesday about how U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s potential GOP opponents are all having money troubles while the Democratic incumbent is expected to raise $20 milion to $25 million to fund his re-election bid.

Sharron Angle, as reported previously by the Review-Journal, was carrying a debt of more than $170,000 into the primary, with just $138,609 of cash to spend.

Meanwhile, Danny Tarkanian cut himself a $65,000 check Tuesday to try to keep up with GOP leaders Lowden and Angle, Politico said. In his 12-day pre-primary report, Tarkanian reported taking out $185,000 in loans between April 1 and May 19, and had just $86,000 in cash on hand.

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