Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 | 12:30 p.m.
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WASHINGTON — So far, Sen. Dean Heller has mostly left it up to his campaign to take shots at his Senate challenger, Rep. Shelley Berkley, over her pending ethics investigation.
But Berkley’s latest ad appears to have pushed him past the point of caring about such political niceties.
“The most unethical, corrupt person I’ve ever met in my life is Shelley Berkley,” Heller told reporters this afternoon in the Capitol.
Berkley’s campaign began airing an ad this week highlighting Heller’s past relationship with Eddie Floyd, a radio personality who was sentenced to four years behind bars for drug trafficking and laundering $175,000 through a front company.
“Meet Eddie Floyd, a crooked businessman who pled guilty to laundering drug money. A friend of Dean Heller’s,” the Berkley ad begins, after Berkley herself informs the viewers that she personally “approves this message.”
“Floyd bragged Heller was instrumental in speeding the process along to establish his business, and Heller promoted Floyd’s company, the company Floyd used to launder money,” the ad’s voiceover says. The ad also uses an old video clip of Heller introducing Floyd as “my good friend.”
Heller dismissed the ad as “just an old story” Wednesday and told reporters it was simply the Berkley Senate campaign’s “next tier of desperation.”
Making an ethics accusation is arguably dangerous territory for Berkley, who is currently being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. The probe is focused on whether her role in promoting policies on Medicare reimbursement rates for kidney care would have financially benefited her husband’s medical practice. She also joined with Heller and then-Rep. Jon Porter to urge the Bush administration not to shutter a kidney transplant program at Nevada’s University Medical Center, for which her husband’s medical firm has the sole contract.
Heller was quick to point out the irony.
“She’s saying that all these people that I know are corrupt and unethical? She’s the most corrupt and unethical person that I have met,” Heller said Wednesday, suggesting Berkley run an ad of him making that comparison.
It’s not the first time Democrats have tried to pin Heller to Floyd. Democrats brought up the claim in 2006, when Heller was running for Congress against Jill Derby. Heller denied close personal ties with Floyd then and now.
The closest Heller ever officially got to that case was when Drug Enforcement Administration officials seized a race car belonging to Floyd’s son that Heller had helped build. Authorities never tied him personally to the case.