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No Excuse for Heller Campaign’s Silence on Controversial Veterans Charity Scam

Following an “anemic” fourth-quarter fundraising haul and desperate to do better, Republican Sen. Dean Heller took money last month from a controversial Political Action Committee (PAC) tied to a dishonest and deceptive veterans charity.

On March 20, Sen. Heller’s campaign accepted $1,000 from Put Vets First! PAC, which is run by retired Army Maj. Brian Arthur Hampton. Out of the same office, Hampton runs the Center for American Homeless Veterans – a charity scam that’s been surrounded in controversy since at least 2017 for spending nearly all of its money on telemarketing consultants and its CEO’s salary instead of actually serving American veterans. Despite the scandals plaguing this group, Heller apparently didn’t bat an eye when it came to taking their money, but now is trying to walk it back after getting caught.

To make matters even worse, Heller’s campaign spokesperson “declined to answer additional questions” about the donation from the Center for Public Integrity, and has refused to criticize the group’s practices.

Nevada Democratic State Party spokesperson Sarah Abel released the following statement:

“Sen. Heller owes Nevada veterans an apology for trying to line his campaign coffers with money from a corrupt charity that’s under active investigation for lying and enriching themselves in the name of our veterans. With so much information out there about this disgraceful veterans charity scam, Sen. Heller’s refusal to speak out and denounce this organization speaks volumes about his values.”

Center for Public Integrity: New York attorney general investigating Virginia-based veterans charity

New disclosures show embattled group’s leader continues to draw large salary

The New York Attorney General’s office has joined Virginia officials in investigating a veterans organization that spends nearly all of the money it raises on telemarketing consultants and its own leader’s salary.

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Of the money spent, 88 percent went to fundraising contractors, and most of the rest went to overhead and salaries, including Hampton’s own. None of the money was spent on veterans advocacy.

The PAC gave $10,000 — or 1.4 percent of its overall expenditures last quarter — to political campaigns and committees. The beneficiaries, who received $1,000 each, include Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.; Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif.; and several candidates seeking elected federal office.

(Update, April 19, 12 p.m.: Heller’s campaign spokesman, Keith Schipper, said the $1,000 the campaign committee received from the Put Vets First! PAC will be given to an unspecified Nevada veterans’ charity. He declined to answer additional questions.