Rory Reid responds to campaign finance probe

CARSON CITY — Former Democratic guberatorial candidate Rory Reid on Monday provided documents related to his losing campaign that is the subject of an investigation by Secretary of State Ross Miller.

The documents are bank records from more than 90 political action committees, or PACs, that received money from a larger Reid-created PAC and then donated it to his official campaign account for his unsuccessful run against Republican Brian Sandoval.

In Nevada, a single contributor can donate up to $10,000 to a candidate for state office but larger donations to PACs are allowed. Reid’s setup allowed for contributors’ larger PAC donations to flow through the other PACs and into the campaign account. Under Reid’s system the candidate raised more than $900,000 for an organization called the Economic Leadership PAC.

Miller sought information on the setup after Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston detailed the web of PACs on his "Ralston’s Flash" blog.

Miller’s office released two cover letters from Paul Larsen, Reid’s attorney, that described what bank records were provided. Miller spokeswoman Pam DuPre said the entire trove of records wasn’t yet available for the public.

"The campaign submitted numerous documents, many which contain private financial information," DuPre said. "Secretary Miller will be very deliberate in his review of these documents before they can be redacted and released to the public."

The question facing Reid is whether he ran afoul of a statute that prohibits making or taking a "contribution made by person in name of another person," so-called conduit contributions.

The penalty for violating the law is a fine of up to $5,000 for per incident.

The statute also puts the onus on Miller to determine whether Reid broke the law.

Miller, who, like Reid, is a Democrat, said such a situation hasn’t been tested under Nevada law.

Reid has said the web of PACs, managed under the name of campaign manager David Cohen and campaign staffer Joanna Paul, disclosed more about donation sources and spending than other methods available to candidates under Nevada’s notoriously loose campaign finance laws.

Although Reid raised about $6 million to Sandoval’s $4 million, Sandoval won the race by a landslide margin, beating Reid in all 17 Nevada counties.

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