by Riley Snyder, The Nevada Independent, May 28, 2022
Attorneys for the Republican National Committee have sent a cease and desist letter to a political action committee accused of meddling in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
The letter was sent Friday to the Patriot Freedom Fund political action committee, which in recent weeks has mailed out several political advertisements typically taking aim at Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, widely considered the GOP primary’s front-runner.
RNC attorneys included a copy of a “misleading and fraudulent campaign mailer” titled “Republican Primary Ballot Guide” instructing the recipient to “take this sample ballot with you when you vote.” The other page mimics the design of a sample ballot, with filled-in boxes for secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, attorney general candidate Sigal Chattah, and “Anyone but Joe Lombardo” for governor.
The RNC letter accuses the PAC of trademark infringement by including an image of the organization’s elephant logo, which it called “inaccurate, without permission or authorization from the RNC, and constitutes willful trademark infringement.”
“Patriot Freedom Fund’s unauthorized use of the RNC’s logo is particularly disturbing, as it is clearly intended to interfere with Nevada’s Republican primary elections as voting begins this weekend,” the letter states.
Attorneys requested a response by 5 p.m. on Saturday confirming the PAC has halted use of the RNC logo, and if not, threatened to take “all necessary steps” which could include “infringement litigation in which the RNC may seek injunctive relief, monetary damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.”
Though it has no online presence, the PAC has sent several mail pieces to Republican primary voters largely focused on attacking Lombardo as insufficiently strong on firearm issues. Lombardo has taken a comparatively more moderate stance on firearm issues than his GOP primary opponents, though he’s expressed opposition to recent moves by Democratic lawmakers to ban “ghost guns” and allow for extreme risk protection orders, also known as “red flag laws.”
Patriot Freedom Fund was registered with the secretary of state’s office on May 6, which means it won’t have to reveal contributions or spending until nearly a month after the primary election on June 14. The PAC also shares a name with a nonprofit raising funds for Capitol riot defendants, but the groups don’t appear to be connected otherwise.
The PAC’s listed officer is Truman Fleming, a Las Vegas-based real estate agent previously married to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) — a survivor of the 1 October mass shooting who has become one of the Legislature’s most prominent gun control advocates. Fleming and Jauregui filed for divorce in April 2022, according to public records, and the divorce was finalized earlier this month.
Jauregui said in a text message earlier this month that she was unaware of the PAC and its political activities. Fleming did not return an email seeking comment on Saturday.Pro-Lombardo forces have also been on the offensive. The Better Nevada PAC, which has spent millions of dollars in television ads boosting Lombardo, recently sent out an automated robocall warning voters that Jauregui’s husband is “meddling in the GOP primary” by starting a “fake conservative PAC to help Steve Sisolak. Be a smart voter and don’t let the Democrats trick you.”