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August 1, 2014

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Politics:

Sue Lowden’s debt payment strategy: Keep campaign committee going

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Sue Lowden speaks during an interview at Santa Fe Mining Co. bar and restaurant in Las Vegas on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Lowden is running for lieutenant governor.

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Sue Lowden has a new strategy for paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign debt she still owes from her failed 2010 Senate campaign.

Her campaign treasurer, Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers, said he filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission this week clarifying that Lowden no longer wants to terminate her campaign committee, a move that would leave the debt unpaid.

The Federal Elections Commission has twice written to Beers that it is unacceptable to terminate the committee without paying the campaign’s debt.

Those letters say that federal regulations require campaign committees such as Lowden’s to “extinguish or settle all outstanding debts and obligations” before they’re allowed to shut down.

The most recent letter from Nov. 15 was an exact copy of a May 20 letter from the FEC.

Beers said the amendment just unchecks a box on the most recent FEC filing. But the small change means the campaign is no longer seeking to terminate its committee and will continue filing regular quarterly reports until an approved debt settlement plan is in place to retire the campaign’s debt.

The FEC rejected the campaign’s debt settlement plan last April.

That debt has dogged Lowden’s state-level campaign as she has embarked on fundraising efforts to defeat GOP state Sen. Mark Hutchison of Las Vegas, who is also running for lieutenant governor as Gov. Brian Sandoval’s preferred candidate.

Should Lowden and Hutchison both file for office in March, they will face each other in the Republican primary in June.

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