This week, the Nevada State Democratic Party filed an elections complaint with the secretary of state’s office against Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske for violating election law with her campaign TV ad. The TV ad not only failed to disclose who paid for the ad, but it also lacked a required message stating that the candidate had approved the ad.
While no one from Cegavske’s campaign has returned requests for comment, her official office has, claiming that “Cegavske’s ad at first glance doesn’t appear to violate the statute because…the law mainly deals with third-party groups and PACs that are supporting candidates, rather than ads that come directly from the candidate’s campaign.” This directly contradicts what is stated in the “State of Nevada Campaign Guide 2018” published by Cegavske’s office—which specifies that candidates themselves must also include the required disclosure in their ads—as well as the language stated in Nevada state law, which clearly applies to candidates for office.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Sarah Abel released the following statement:
“Barbara Cegavske’s response to her failure to follow election law should be concerning for everyone. Both the law and the Campaign Guide published by Cegavske herself clearly articulate that a television ad must include proper disclosure of how it was paid for and who paid for it, yet Cegavske’s office blatantly misrepresented the law to excuse her violation. This shows that not only does Cegavske believe she is above the law, but that she also lacks a basic understanding of the responsibilities of her own office. If her campaign cannot follow Nevada election law, and her office cannot enforce it when it is violated—especially by her own campaign—there is all the more reason she should not be re-elected to this important office.”