Las Vegas Sun

January 17, 2018

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Judge imposes $110,000 fine over PAC’s pro-Sandoval ads

A district judge has levied a $109,560 fine on a political action committee that violated Nevada's election laws in advertising in support of Gov. Brian Sandoval in the 2010 election.

District Judge James Wilson rejected the claim of Alliance for America's Future that the campaign disclosure laws were unconstitutional.

The alliance is a Virginia-based action committee that spent $189,223 in 320 advertisements on Nevada television touting Sandoval for his first term as governor.

The political action committee did not register in Nevada as required by law and never filed any reports detailing its expenditures.

Secretary of State Ross Miller, who oversees election activities, filed suit when the group failed to follow the laws.

"By running the advertisement, defendants (Alliance) engaged in political activity in this state without registering as a political action committee and thereby violated the law," Wilson said.

Wilson also ordered the group to disclose the name or names of those who contributed for the Nevada advertisement. During the hearing on the case, the group said there was only one donor who was not identified.

The group is identified on its website as one that supports Republican candidates and conservative causes. It argued that the $189,225 spent in Nevada was only 2.4 percent of its total budget and could not be seen as a major purpose in influencing elections.

Judge Wilson said the requirement to register as a political action committee requires only completing a two-page form and filing a campaign report required the expenditure of $100.

The judge said there is nothing in the record or in evidence that there was only one donor. He said the Alliance has 30 days from the Nov. 13 order to pay the fine and disclose the contributors to the Nevada advertising campaign.

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