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October 1, 2014

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Democrats target Danny Tarkanian over alleged campaign finance errors

Candidate Danny Tarkanian speaks during a debate among the Republican U.S. Senate candidates on "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" at the KVBC studios in Las Vegas Tuesday, May 18, 2010.

Candidate Danny Tarkanian speaks during a debate among the Republican U.S. Senate candidates on "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" at the KVBC studios in Las Vegas Tuesday, May 18, 2010.

The Nevada Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission today against Danny Tarkanian alleging “numerous irregularities” in his first campaign finance report.

Tarkanian is one of four Republicans who have filed official paperwork with the House of Representatives declaring their candidacy for the 4th Congressional District; there are nine in total running for the party nomination in June.

In their complaint, Nevada Democrats said that Tarkanian accepted corporate contributions and failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal debt from his failed 2010 Senate campaign. They also suggested that Tarkanian might be circumventing the federal rules on donation limits by reporting limited-liability corporate donations without any indication of who the involved partners were.

The accusations of irregularities are not direct charges of illegal activity — yet — save for in one instance: Tarkanian received $500 from Haig’s Quality Printing, which is registered as a corporation with the Nevada secretary of state and thus can’t contribute to his campaign. The charges are also not all born of his campaign finance report: Nevada Democrats drew certain inferences — as to Tarkanian’s debt, for instance — by comparing his campaign ledgers with his personal disclosures and statements to the press. Tarkanian loaned himself $260,000 to fund his Senate campaign and appears to have forgiven the bulk of that loan; FEC filings show the candidate claims to have just over $3,000 in debt — a figure that exactly matches the debt he claimed during his 2010 Senate campaign — but do not itemize to whom it is owed.

At this stage, Nevada Democrats’ broadest charge against the Tarkanian campaign is that it has sloppy secretarial skills. (Notably, it’s not the first time his campaign has made paperwork errors.)

“Danny Tarkanian is basing his candidacy on his supposed background as a successful businessman, but he can’t even fill out simple paperwork correctly,” Nevada State Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange said in a statement Wednesday. “While Danny Tarkanian may be trying to play fast and loose with his campaign’s finances, we will hold him accountable to the voters, which is why we filed this complaint.”

Tarkanian and his campaign treasurer, Judy Flynn, who is also named in the complaint, didn’t return phone messages Wednesday seeking comment.

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