Campaign complaint goes to Secretary of State

Mike Tracy, director of Citizens for a Public Train Trench Vote, filed a complaint on Tuesday with the Nevada Secretary of State requesting an investigation of Dwight Dortch’s campaign finance practices.

Tracy’s complaint questions whether Dortch, by accepting free billboards from Clear Channel Outdoor Company, exceeded legal limits on campaign contributions.

“I asked them to determine whether or not he has violated the statute in terms of campaign contributions exceeding $5,000 in the primary election,’ Tracy said. “If he has, then prosecute him.’

Ward 4 City Council candidate Dortch didn’t return calls.

In late August, the RN&R reported that Dortch had paid for 14 billboards and received 12 free [“The Report’s in the Mail,’ RN&R News, Aug. 29].

Tracy said claims made by the Dortch campaign about how much these billboards are worth don’t ring true and most businesses don’t get nearly half of their billboards for free.

“It doesn’t make any sense for billboard companies to spend $30,000 to erect a billboard and only get $370 a month for that thing,’ Tracy said. “It would take them 40 years to recoup their costs. My guess is that billboards have to go for $800 to $1,000 apiece. If he got 12 of them comped, then 12 times $800 is $9,600, but the statute says you can only take $5,000 for the primary.’

The three-page complaint also alleges that Dortch failed to report the actual value of in-kind contributions on his campaign contributions and expenditure reports, which are on file in the Reno City Clerk’s office.

Tracy’s group, Citizens for a Public Train Trench Vote, gathered 15,000 signatures on an initiative that would have allowed citizens to vote on the controversial 2.1-mile depressed railway project in downtown Reno. After a lawsuit by the city of Reno, District Judge James Hardesty forbade the trench question to be placed on the ballot. The Nevada Supreme Court later upheld his decision. Dortch has expressed support for building the $282 million train trench.