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Nevada Dem Senate Candidate Faces Ethics Investigation

12:53 PM, Jul 11, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe reports

The House Ethics Committee has voted unanimously to launch a formal investigation into allegations that Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.)used her position to benefit the financial interests of her husband — a blow to her candidacy in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate contests.

The ethics panel said Monday that it will probe “alleged communications and activities with or on behalf of entities in which Representative Berkley’s husband had a financial interest.”

News reports last fall detailed moves made by Berkley to sponsor legislation or influence federal regulators in ways that favored the business interests of her husband, Larry Lehrner, who operates dialysis centers in Nevada and has actively lobbied lawmakers to help kidney care providers.

Berkley, 61, is a seven-term Las Vegas congresswoman and candidate in a closely watched Senate race against Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)that observers believe could be a pickup for Democrats.

Jon Ralston, the dean of the Nevada press corps, writes in the Las Vegas Sun that Berkley's campaign to beat Heller has "has gone from being difficult to near-Sisyphean."  The Heller campaign is out with this ad hitting Berkley on the investigation:

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