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July 18, 2018

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Public records provide little clarity about Jacky Rosen’s business

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Wade Vandervort

Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., speaks with Greenspun Junior High School teachers and students from the schools three winning robotics teams, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.

RENO — Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen speaks often about having built a business as a computer programmer but public records offer little detail about the consulting business she ran offering her tech skills.

A review by the Reno Gazette Journal found no state or local business license for Rosen's unnamed computer and software consulting business she ran in Henderson from 1993 to 2002.

Rosen is running for a U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Dean Heller. Her campaign did not provide documentation of her consulting work but said Rosen had filed the needed paperwork at the time.

Heller's campaign released an ad this week accusing the business of being "imaginary."

Rosen said she had no employees, which state officials say would have exempted her from needing to file a business license until 2003 — after she closed the business.

The city of Henderson would have required Rosen to have a license, but the newspaper found no record on file. City spokesman David Cherry said the city destroys records a year after a business closes or doesn't renew its license.

Rosen's campaign said the congresswoman believed the proper paperwork was filed in Henderson but that she did not keep copies of her forms from about two decades ago.

"Jacky built a career as a computer programmer and software developer for major companies in Southern Nevada, and she used those tech skills to keep working as an independent consultant," her spokesman Stewart Boss said.

Rosen says her main clients were Nevada-based utility company Southwest Gas, where she previously worked, and Radiology Specialists, a Nevada doctors group in which her husband was a partner.

Southwest Gas confirmed Rosen worked for the company from April 1990 to January 1991 but said it did not have records of her time consulting for the company because it doesn't keep such contracts beyond seven years.

A message seeking comment from Radiology Specialists was not returned Friday.

Her Republican opponent faced similar questions earlier this year about his lack of a business license for his hay farm.

Heller's financial disclosure forms filed with U.S. Senate show his farm in Smith Valley generated at least $169,000 in income between 2011 and 2016, but the senator has said the farm didn't turn a profit and he therefore didn't need a business license.

Heller, who presided over Nevada's business records while serving from 1995 to 2007 as secretary of state, applied for a business license in February when he was asked why he didn't have one.

Jennifer Russell, a spokeswoman for Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, said earlier this year that state officials didn't have a position on whether Heller needed a license.

A Democratic group later filed a complaint with Cegavske's office asking for an investigation into Heller's business. In a June 26 letter, Cegavske's office said it had closed the investigation and determined Heller did not need a business license but noted he should file an annual claim with the Secretary of State's office seeking an exemption, something Heller also did not do, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

Heller's campaign released the letter Friday afternoon but did not immediately explain why he did not seek an exemption for his business.

There is no penalty in state law for failing to file an exemption.