Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why Is AFP Playing in #NVLeg?

Last time we checked in on AFP Nevada, they were leaving bizarre looking doorhangers in neighborhoods across Southern Nevada and planning some "Freedom Day" get out the vote rally for Republicans "concert" on the first day of early voting. And so far, it looks like the Kochs' pet "charity" won't be letting up any time soon. In fact, they may be flooding your mailbox right now.

A mailer sent to voters in southwestern Las Vegas’ Senate District 9 implies candidate Justin Jones would side with “Carson City politicians” who raise taxes and “spend your money.”

And in a particularly inciting mailer attacking former state Sen. Sheila Leslie in Reno’s Senate District 15, Americans for Prosperity superimposed Leslie’s head on the bodies of scantily clad fire dancers to criticize her for supporting a bill to regulate the artists.

Neither of the mailers explicitly says to vote against the candidate — or for their opponents —a technicality that would allow such political advertising in federal races without disclosure of who funded the group creating the ad.

But Nevada’s campaign finance laws require political organizations to register and disclose their donors if they produce advertising that can reasonably be interpreted as seeking to influence a specific campaign, according to Secretary of State Ross Miller.

Americans for Prosperity sent similar mailers attacking Democratic Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson in his primary campaign for Senate District 4. Those mailers prompted a complaint from the Nevada Democratic Party.

Earlier this month, Miller notified the nonprofit that he believes the mailers violated Nevada’s campaign finance laws and referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.

Back in July, we noted the incredibly bizarre case of AFP wading into the SD 4 DEMOCRATIC Primary in hopes of defeating Kelvin Atkinson. We still don't know exactly why AFP decided to play there, but it is increasingly clear that AFP has been sending out "informational literature" with the intent of influencing elections. And that may not be legal here in Nevada, at least when it comes to our State Legislature races.

Perhaps the SD 4 incident was just a "test run" meant to prepare AFP for what they're doing now. The doorhanger we found earlier this month attacked President Obama and Shelley Berkley on one side, then attacked John Oceguera and Joyce Woodhouse (the Democratic nominee for SD 5) on the other side. And now, AFP mailers are being caught attacking Justin Jones (the Democratic nominee in SD 9) and Sheila Leslie (the Democratic nominee in SD 15). It just looks too funny that, all of a.sudden, AFP is playing in the very State Senate seats that Republicans must win in order to take control of the Nevada Senate. And we're still supposed to believe that AFP is some sort of "nonpartisan, educational, charitable foundation"? Yeah, right.

It's now looking quite clear as to what AFP Nevada is aiming to do. And no, it doesn't involve "charity" or "education". Rather, AFP is trying to tip several competitive federal and state level races into Republican hands. Yet in failing to file the appropriate paperwork as a political action committee (PAC) and disclose its donors, AFP may actually be violating state election law while trying to elect lawmakers! Surely, we can't be the only ones seeing the irony here?

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