The Nevada State Democratic Party has filed a new complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Republican Sen. Dean Heller, after Heller’s re-election campaign and his son admitted to violating campaign finance laws last week.
A recent report from the Reno Gazette-Journal found that Heller’s campaign has paid Heller Enterprises LLC at least $52,500 since July 2016 for “social media consulting services.” Heller Enterprises, a little-known Utah-based production company whose sole employee is Heller’s son, is not a paid vendor for any other federal campaign.
In an attempt to defend these ethically questionable payments, both Heller’s campaign and his son said that Heller Enterprises provided services to the campaign at a “cheap discount” and was “paid below market rate.” That’s a problem for two reasons… corporations are strictly prohibited from donating to federal campaign committees, and these in-kind contributions were never reported to the FEC. Heller’s campaign and his son disclosed their failure to report in-kind donations to the FEC and may have accepted illegal corporate contributions.
Reno Gazette-Journal: “In an email, Harrison Heller said he was being paid below market rate for his work on the campaign… Dean Heller’s campaign defended the hire in a statement. ‘Harris Heller produces quality content at a cheap discount to the campaign,’ the statement read.
“Dean Heller’s campaign is not above the rules—federal law requires them to report all in-kind contributions to the FEC and prohibits them from accepting corporate contributions,” said Nevada State Democratic Party Executive Director Alana Mounce. “Given the fact that the Heller campaign has already admitted to this unethical and deceptive arrangement, the FEC should immediately launch an investigation and hold Sen. Heller accountable for once again trying to flout campaign finance laws.”
This is the not the first complaint Nevada Democrats have been forced to file this cycle against Heller’s re-election campaign over serious ethics and campaign finance problems:
Heller’s campaign has failed to return nearly $30,000 in illegal contributions from a straw-donor scheme.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Heller used his official position to solicit campaign donations as Republicans in Congress were preparing to pass their tax giveaway to giant corporations and the ultra-wealthy.
Heller’s campaign staff repeatedly copied the senator’s official press releases and posted them in nearly identical form on the campaign’s Medium account.
Suspicious electronic billboard ads promoting Heller across Las Vegas lacked proper disclaimers required by federal election law.
The home page of Heller’s campaign website is still improperly displaying an official Senate photo from a committee hearing on Capitol Hill.