UPDATE (3:30 pm, 4-22-22): This story has been updated to add comment from Tisha Black’s campaign manager.
If you read Chuck Muth’s newsletter (and if you don’t, you ought to), you saw his article Wednesday taking note of the fundraising of the two would-be Republican challengers for attorney general looking to take on incumbent Aaron Ford.
Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.
Muth notes that Sigal Chattah, who he appropriately notes is a client of his, is facing Tisha Black, who Muth criticizes for being “put into the race at the last minute by the GOP’s political Establishment.”
The Nevada Globe isn’t here to take sides in these matters. But Muth does raise some interesting points about Black’s fundraising. He notes that each candidate has a little better than $300,000 cash on hand. But Muth points out that Black’s fundraising includes eleven donations of $10,000. That matters because of the state’s campaign finance law limiting donations to $5000 per election. A $10,000 donation is legal, but the candidate may use only $5000 of it for the primary election, and then can use the other $5000 if and only if that candidate wins his or her primary.
That means that of the $110,000 raised from those eleven donors, $55,000 of it is not usable for the primary.
Muth goes on to point out that a huge number of Tisha’s donations are from her relatives, all named Black. I don’t find that particularly strange, and if anything, it’s a good sign that her family likes her. (I fought the urge to title this article “Fear of a Black Planet.)
But I did some find some of the other donations at least interesting if not suspicious.
Maxed out donors to Black include Diana Chesnoff, who gave $20,000 to Gov. Sisolak and maxed out to current Attorney General Aaron Ford last time. Christopher Beavor was also a huge donor to Sisolak, as was Farhan Naqvi, who gave $20,000 to Sisolak and $6250 to Aaron Ford. In fact, there are several other large Sisolak donors who have contributed to Black.
That’s not automatically troubling for a Republican candidate. A candidate who can convert those frustrated with Democratic policies is a valuable addition to the GOP. But it naturally also brings concerns about Black’s ideology. Is she the dreaded RINO that Chairman McDonald and other MAGA types in the state have been railing against?
I would like to ask her. I sent an email to the address listed on Black’s official filing, but that is a non-functioning address. Her campaign treasurer needs to fix that error so that curious citizens—and hard-working journalists!—can approach her with questions. I also sent a follow-up email to her correct email address and haven’t heard back.
That’s unfortunate. Because I have other questions for her.
Black’s campaign finance report contains a bunch of strange donations all on the same day and of the same unusual amount. For example, Gary Strouse, Stephanie Goodman and Darrell Grimsley, all of Las Vegas, each contributed $104.10 on February 8, 2022. That’s a strange amount, right?
I had the notion that maybe it was because one of the aggregator platforms like WinRed takes a cut. If the donations were for $241.55, it would make more sense — a $250 donation is common and a transaction fee of $8.45 would be reasonable.
But the math here doesn’t appear to make sense. I don’t see $125 as a particularly common donation. But even if three people did contribute that amount, a fee of $21.90 would be nearly 20%, which is egregious.
But that’s why I would encourage Ms. Black or someone from her campaign to get back to me. I want to know—and surely so do the politically obsessed readers of The Nevada Globe.
UPDATE: After this story was published, the Globe heard from Kristy Wilkinson, campaign manager for Tisha Black. She explained that the candidate’s website, which is indeed powered by WinRed, allows a donor to check a box marked “I would like to cover the processing fee so 100% of my donation goes to Black for Nevada.” That adds a $4.10 fee to a donor’s $100 donation, which is perfectly reasonable.
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