Complaint: Fiore took campaign donations over limit, violating state law
Republican state treasurer candidate Michele Fiore is facing allegations of violating campaign finance law by her Democratic opponent, who claims she took donations exceeding the state’s $10,000 maximum contribution limit and benefited from a potential “straw donor scheme.”
The allegations made in a complaint filed with the secretary of state’s office against Fiore by Treasurer Zach Conine’s campaign on Wednesday referenced records showing that Fiore’s campaign reported two $10,000 donations from Sherly Cordero, a Blue Marble Development executive, and more than $17,500 from Las Vegas-based home building company American West Development chairman Lawrence Canarelli between 2021 and 2022.
Campaign finance records also show an additional $25,000 contribution from Mobile Materials Mix Inc. in December 2021, not included in the report. The donation to Fiore came while she ran for governor earlier in the campaign cycle. Fiore launched a campaign for governor last year but withdrew and switched races to challenge Conine in his run for re-election.
News of the complaint was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Nevada campaign finance law limits candidates to a maximum of $10,000 in contributions — $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election — from any single person or entity per two-year election cycle. As of Thursday, records show that Fiore’s campaign has not filed an amended report or refunded any of the donations exceeding the state’s limit.
Along with the more than $10,000 donations, the complaint pointed out that Fiore accepted several questionable contributions from donors who appeared to use fake names and addresses. Conine’s campaign said in the complaint that addresses connected to the donations were associated with American West Development Company and Blue Marble Development, suggesting the companies used the names to funnel additional money to Fiore’s campaign through what appears to be a straw donor scheme.
The complaint noted that one of the potential straw donations came in the form of $5,000 from Sherwin Bosuk, a retiree living in Connecticut who usually makes political donations in increments of $25 or less, according to Federal Election Commission records. Bosuk’s listed address on Fiore’s campaign reports is connected to Blue Marble Development, and the donation came on the same day Cordero contributed to Fiore.
A spokesperson for Fiore dismissed the complaint, calling the campaign finance numbers “a minor clerical error.”
Conine’s campaign also drew attention to donations from several individuals who listed addresses affiliated with American West Development but lacked evidence of a connection to the company, which is one of the top home builders in the Las Vegas area.
Fiore also faces a campaign finance probe by the FBI, which raided her home last year.
The secretary of state’s office said the complaint is under review and did not address whether the office would forward the complaint to the attorney general.