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Sisolak rakes in more than $2.3 million to campaign, PACs since elected governor

Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
GovernmentState Government

Gov. Steve Sisolak has raised more than $2.3 million through his campaign and affiliated PACs in the two months after being elected, including $100,000 from one casino mogul, and lent his campaign $250,000 just before his victory over Adam Laxalt.

According to campaign finance reports filed by Sisolak and two affiliated political action committees — Home Means Nevada PAC and Sisolak Inaugural Committee — on Tuesday, the new Democratic governor brought in more than $2.3 million through the three entities while spending a little more than $1.1 million in the last two months of 2018.

Under Nevada law, candidates are barred from accepting more than $10,000 from a single source during a campaign, but campaign donors typically avoid limits by making contributions through multiple entities or by contributing to PACs, which have no contribution limits.

Combined, Sisolak’s inaugural PAC, charged with putting on the new governor’s two inaugural gala events later this month, and the Home Means Nevada PAC, which managed Sisolak’s transition into the governor’s office, reported raising more than $966,000 over the two-month reporting period, with major contributions coming from just a handful of donors, including:

  • Health insurer Centene Management Company LLC, which contributed $25,000 to each PAC on Dec. 28
  • Golden Entertainment, which contributed $25,000 to each PAC on Dec. 28
  • The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, which contributed $20,000 to Sisolak’s inaugural PAC and $10,000 to his campaign on Dec. 17
  • Democratic megadonor and former time share executive Stephen Cloobeck, who contributed $50,000 each to the Home Means Nevada PAC and Sisolak’s inaugural PAC on Dec. 21
  • Nevada Realtors PAC, which gave $50,000 to Sisolak’s inaugural PAC and $10,000 to his campaign account on Dec. 17
  • Developer and casino owner Marnell Gaming, which gave $25,000 to Sisolak’s inaugural PAC on Dec. 26 and $10,000 to the Home Means Nevada PAC on Dec. 20.
  • Nevada Property 1 LLC, which owns The Cosmopolitan hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, gave $25,000 each to Sisolak’s inaugural PAC and the Home Means Nevada PAC on Dec. 28
  • Clark County lobbyist Jay Brown, a longtime friend and confidant of Sisolak, gave $15,000 to the new governor’s inaugural PAC and $10,000 to the Home Means Nevada PAC on Dec. 18. Brown made two $10,000 contributions to Sisolak’s campaign through himself and his law firm in 2017
  • The Las Vegas Paving Company, which gave $10,000 to the inaugural PAC on Dec. 29 and $10,000 to Home Means Nevada PAC on Dec. 28

Other top donors to the PACs including the Nevada State Democratic Party, which gave $100,000 to the Home Means Nevada PAC on Nov. 28, and $50,000 from the building trades union-backed Working for Working Americans PAC.

Large contributions also flowed to Sisolak’s campaign in the months after the election. Since Nov. 6, Sisolak’s campaign received fifty-two $10,000 donations, including $100,000 from ten companies associated with Alex Meruelo, the Reno businessman who owns the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno and the SLS Las Vegas.The companies include the Grand Sierra Resort, Meruelo Group, Meruelo Enterprises, Meruelo Media, Doty Bros Equipment Co., Herman Weissker Power, Herman Weissker, Neal Electric, KPWR Radio and Monterey Insurance. All donations were made on the same day; Nov. 28.

He also took in $20,000 in contributions from four separate Boyd Gaming properties, all on Dec. 13. The casino company also contributed another $25,000 to Sisolak’s inauguration PAC on Dec. 27.

He also received $30,000 from two Eldorado Resorts and two of its properties, Circus Circus Reno and Silver Legacy Reno on Dec. 11.

Sisolak also loaned his campaign $250,000 on Nov. 2, four days before the midterm election. He repaid himself for the loan on Dec. 20.

He spent a little over $1 million over the same time period, including the $250,000 loan repayment. Other major expenditures went toward advertising, polling, consultants and other expenses.

The two PACs reported significantly less spending; $84,000 expended by the inaugural committee, primarily paid to staff and $75,000 to the Aria Resort Casino, where one of the inauguration events will be held. Home Means Nevada PAC reported spending just over $87,000 of the $415,000 raised, with funds going to paid staff, consultants and several flights.

Former Republican candidate for governor Adam Laxalt reported receiving more than $44,000 throughout the period, although only a handful of small donation and one $10,000 contribution from a Pahrump-based nutrition supplement company came after the Nov. 6 election. Laxalt reported spending more than $487,000 over the last two months, including on consultants, staff and other expenses.

Jacob Solis contributed to this story. This article has been updated to include new information about Sisolak's inaugural PAC and Home Means Nevada PAC. Updated at 1:24 p.m. to correct Stephen Cloobeck's former profession.

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