Published Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010 | 5:20 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010 | 5:49 p.m.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting Democratic Rep. Dina Titus with a series of robocalls, criticizing her for accepting campaign contributions from Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
GOP operatives hope the telephone blast will give Republican opponent Joe Heck a boost in the close 3rd Congressional District race, considered one of the hottest House battles in the nation.
"Hello, I’m calling from the National Republican Congressional Committee with an important message about corruption in Washington," a recorded voice will tell select Nevadans over the telephone today. "Congresswoman Dina Titus took $17,000 in campaign cash from Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters who both face trial with the Ethics Committee for numerous alleged violations."
Rangel is accused of accepting campaign contributions from people and companies with business before his House committee, while Waters is under investigation on charges she used her influence to help a bank in which her husband had a financial interest.
Titus received $15,000 in campaign contributions from Rangel and his political action committee over the past two years and $2,000 from Waters.
Titus returned $1,000 that Rangel donated this year, according to spokesman Andrew Stoddard.
"Given the fact that the ethics committee found that Congressman Rangel broke House rules, Congresswoman Titus felt it was appropriate to return the money," Stoddard said.
Stoddard said money donated in previous years already was spent and therefore was not returned.
Democrats accused the GOP of hypocrisy in calling out Titus. Heck, they pointed out, has received significant donations from Republican Sen. John Ensign, who is under federal and Senate investigation after a sex scandal.
Ensign's Battle Born political action committee donated $10,000 to Heck's campaign in December. Mike and Sharon Ensign, the senator's parents, each contributed $9,600 to Heck's campaign in March, campaign finance disclosure reports show.
The Heck campaign declined comment.