Attacks have already been debunked by Nevada media here

For Immediate Release

September 8, 2016

Las Vegas, NV – Today, Congressman Heck’s Washington allies released their latest misleading attack ad against Catherine Cortez Masto. The truth is: as Nevada’s Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto held the Big Banks who forced Nevadans out of their homes accountable, and helped secure $1.9 billion in relief to Nevadans. In contrast, Congressman Heck is in the pocket of the billionaire Koch brothers who have already spent millions trying to buy this Senate seat.

“Washington Republicans are using debunked attacks to distract from Congressman Heck being in the pocket of his billionaire benefactors, the Koch brothers,” said Zach Hudson, spokesperson for Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate. “Clearly, the Koch brothers are getting what they paid for in Congressman Heck as he consistently votes to protect their bottom line in Washington. Nevadans will see through the constant lies and false attacks from Congressman Heck and his allies and elect Catherine Cortez Masto as our next Senator to look out for our interests, not billionaires like the Koch brothers.”

View the facts on Washington Republicans’ latest false attacks against Cortez Masto below:




VOICEOVER: Catherine Cortez Masto’s trail of corruption follow the money.

TEXT: Catherine Cortez Masto’s Trail Of Corruption


Headline: Las Vegas Review-Journal: Steve Sebelius: “No ‘Cozy Relationship’ In Settlement Case — AG Catherine Cortez Masto Did Her Job.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Steve Sebelius: Ad About D.C. Law Firm Arranged Perfectly True Facts To Lead To A False Conclusion. “Anybody who’s ever been to a courthouse knows its possible to arrange perfectly true facts to lead a jury to a false conclusion. It’s no different in the court of public opinion. Take two recent ads from the Koch brothers-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund PAC targeting Democratic former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who’s now running for Senate. The ads allege she hired a well-connected Washington, D.C., law firm to sue Bank of America during the foreclosure crisis. The firm earned millions in fees. Partners in the firm later gave Cortez Masto campaign contributions. Therefore, corruption!” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

Sebelius: Following The Foreclosure Crisis Cortez Masto Sought To Hold The Banks Accountable, Being Shorthanded And Seeking Expertise In Complex Litigation Cohen Milstein Was Hired To Assist. “But wait, there’s more. After the recession inspired a tsunami of foreclosures across the country, Cortez Matso and her colleagues sought to hold banks accountable for damages related to the crisis. Shorthanded and seeking expertise in complex litigation, she sought bids from outside counsel, and ultimately recommended the firm Cohen Milstein for the job. (According to the New York Times, that firm pitched its services to states. Cortez Masto had no relationship with the firm before seeking bids.)” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

Sebelius: The Firm Hired To Assist In Litigating Against The Banks, Cohen Milstein, Was Approved By The State Board Of Examiners And Headed By Republican Governor. “The state Board of Examiners — headed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval — approved a contingency contract, which meant the firm could earn money only if it won settlements. But it did: Cohen Milstein secured a $38 million settlement from Bank of America, earning $5.6 million in fees. The settlement was later praised by Republican state officials including U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck, who’s now running against Cortez Masto for the Senate.” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

Sebelius: “Sounds Much More Like Cortez Masto Doing Her Job Than Cozying Up To A Washington Special Interest For Personal Profit.” “So, while it’s true Cortez Masto recommended the hiring of a law firm that earned money representing the state and whose partners later contributed to her campaign, it’s also true the firm successfully forced one of the largest banks in the country to pay the state millions to compensate for alleged wrongdoing. That sounds much more like Cortez Masto doing her job than cozying up to a Washington special interest for personal profit. In fact, you’d have to very carefully arrange the facts to lead people to that conclusion. That’s why you always have to wait until you’ve heard the entire story, in court and out.” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]


FactCheck.Org: NRSC Ad Accused Cortez Masto Of Putting Drunk Drivers Back On The Roads. “She Didn’t.” “A misleading Republican attack ad accuses Nevada’s Democratic candidate for Senate of putting ‘deadly drunk drivers back on the roads.’ She didn’t. This scary-looking ad was released by the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Aug. 27. It shows a driver sipping a drink behind the wheel while the vehicle swerves into the path of an oncoming car. The ad’s female narrator says that ‘Catherine Cortez Masto’s office’ approved the ‘early release’ of drunk drivers from prison when she was the state’s attorney general. The narrator says only 20 percent of ‘deadly drunk drivers’ were returned to prison, and she accuses Cortez Masto of ‘impaired judgment.’” [FactCheck.org, 9/2/16]

FactCheck.Org: NRSC Ad Cited Article Including Cases That “Go Back Long Before Cortez Masto Took Office.” “Also important is that some of the 40 cases mentioned in the story go back long before Cortez Masto took office in 2007 and served until 2015. The story said they were among ‘the 113 people convicted since 2000.’ Between 2000 and 2007, the office of attorney general was held by one Democrat, Frankie Sue del Papa (until 2002) and two Republicans, Brian Sandoval (who’s now governor) and George Chanos.” [FactCheck.org, 9/2/16]

FactCheck.Org: “Cortez Masto’s Role Was To Quickly Reverse The Early-Release Policy And Order As Many Drivers Back To Prison As She Could.” “Cortez Masto’s role was to quickly reverse the early-release policy and order as many drivers back to prison as she could. She said that her office had misinterpreted the law. Four days after the Gazette-Journal’s first story, the newspaper reported: Reno Gazette-Journal, Feb. 18: Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said today that her office gave incorrect legal advice to the Department of Corrections, and said people convicted of driving drunk and killing or injuring someone must spend a minimum of two years in prison. … ‘I have reviewed the law and the advice given by our office was wrong,’ Cortez Masto said. ‘The law is very clear: the mandatory minimum prison sentence must be served prior to any house arrest.’ As a result, eight of the 40 convicted drunk drivers were ordered back to prison to serve the remainder of their two-year mandatory terms. All the others had completed their sentences.” [FactCheck.org, 9/2/16]

FactCheck.Org: We Find The Ad To Be Misleading, Cortez Masto Could Not Take Action Against Drivers That Had Already Completed Their Sentences And No One Was Free To Go Back “On Our Roads” While Under House Arrest. “We find the ad to be misleading when it says in a graphic ‘80% deadly drunk drivers back on our roads,’ referring to the 40 drivers. As we’ve explained, 32 of the 40 drivers had served their sentences. So Cortez Masto could not take action because they had already completed their sentences. And in any case, no one was free to go back ‘on our roads’ while under house arrest.” [FactCheck.org, 9/2/16]

FactCheck.Org: We Found “No Evidence” That Any Of The DUI Offenders Were Later Involved In The Sort Of Drunken Collision Depicted In This “Very Misleading Ad.” “Finally, we find no evidence that any of these 40 were later involved in the sort of drunken collision depicted in this very misleading ad, either while under house arrest or after they had completed their sentences. And the NRSC did not offer any such evidence in its press release. As we often advise when TV spots appeal to fear: If it looks scary, be wary.” [FactCheck.org, 9/2/16]

FactCheck.Org: We Say The NRSC’s Judgment Is “Impaired” For Running An Ominous Attack Ad That “Disregards Key Facts.” “So whose judgment is ‘impaired’? We say it’s the NRSC for running an ominous attack ad that disregards key facts.” [FactCheck.org, 9/2/16]

PolitiFact: NRSC Ad “Mostly False” Because Crime Statistics Were A Crude Way To Measure Safety And Nevada Had Several Quirks That Inflated Numbers. “Experts agree that crime statistics are a crude way to measure safety, and Nevada has several quirks that inflate the numbers. The ad claims that Cortez Masto ‘couldn’t keep us safe,’ but crime statistics have more to do with local law enforcement agencies than the state’s attorney general. The NRSC offers no proven link connecting her actions as attorney general to a swing in murder, robbery and rape. The statement contains an element of truth but leaves out important details. We rate the statement Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: No Proof That Cortez Masto Had Anything To Do With Decline Of Crime In First Term Or Subsequent Increase In Second. “That’s a serious charge, and there’s no concrete proof she had anything to do with the decline in crime in her first term or the subsequent increase in her second. Crime was at an historical low in 2011, and it’s hard to say why. The crime report itself cautions police agencies against drawing any conclusions about a specific department given the variety of factors that can affect crime trends. 'Because of other assigned duties, the peculiar cycle of crime and clearances, and different community factors that normally affect crime statistics, no conclusions regarding individual departments should be made without consulting directly with the agency being analyzed,’ the report states.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: No Proof That Cortez Masto Caused Nevada’s Ranking Third In Ten Most Dangerous States. “Similarly, there is some truth that Nevada took the third spot in a ranking of the 10 most dangerous states. Again, however, it’s not proven what Cortez Masto had to do with it, and the source is not as credible as the FBI. The NRSC cites a list published in January 2015 from 24/7 Wall Street, a website that covers financial news. The list indeed ranks Nevada third, but the data relies on both crime data and socioeconomic factors, such as the poverty rate and the percentage of adults with a high school diploma. No attorneys general, in Nevada or elsewhere, play much of a role in setting educational policy or promoting programs to get people out of poverty.” [Politifact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: NRSC Cherry-Picked Handful Of Crime Statistics To Portray Cortez Masto As Weak On Crime. “The NRSC ad says Nevada was ranked as the third most dangerous state by the time Cortez Masto left office, and that "murder went up 11 percent, robbery went up 28 percent, rape 51 percent” during her second term. The NRSC cherry-picks a handful of short-term crime statistics to portray Cortez Masto as weak on crime enforcement. But the argument is flawed.“ [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact Nevada: NRSC Claim That Cortez Masto Took Pay Increases Is “A Highly Misleading Claim.” “The NRSC said Cortez Masto ‘was happy to line her own pockets with taxpayer dollars when state employees were slammed with frozen salaries,’ but this is a highly misleading claim. The state increased Cortez Masto’s salary during a time of pay freezes for Nevada’s state workers. She was unable to legally reject the pay increase, so she donated $38,000 back to the state during her last four years in office. We rate the claim Mostly False.” [PolitiFact Nevada, 2/3/16]

PolitiFact Nevada: It’s Clear That As Attorney General, Cortez Masto Didn’t “Pad Her Pockets” While State Workers Suffered – She Received Essentially The Same Salary During Her Eight Years In Office. “According to information collected from TransparentNevada.com and records request from the state Controller’s office, PolitiFact Nevada put together this spreadsheet of salaries, donations and what percentage of salary was donated back to the state. As shown, it’s clear that as Attorney General, Cortez Masto didn’t ‘pad her pockets’ while state workers suffered – rather, she received essentially the same salary (not counting benefits) during her eight years in office when donations are subtracted out.” [PolitiFact Nevada, 2/3/16]

Washington Post Fact Check Gave NRSC Three Pinocchios For False Claims About Cortez Masto Support For Iran Deal. [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC “Exaggerated Charges” And Used “Misleading Language” To Frighten Voters Into Thinking Cortez Masto Made A Foreign Policy Blunder By Supporting Iran Deal. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “This is an ad designed to frighten voters into thinking that Masto has made a tragic foreign-policy blunder that will lead to nuclear conflict. But the images would be justified only if the case were as compelling as the NRSC suggests. Instead, the organization has exaggerated the charges and used misleading language to make its case. With a few tweaks in the wording and less stark images, the NRSC could make a reasonable argument that supporting the nuclear deal is a mistake. But this effort is a miss.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC Ad “Incorrectly” Suggested Iran Deal Allows The Financing Of Terrorists. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “Iran has billions of dollars in assets that are frozen in foreign banks around the globe, and this deal would unlock those funds. No one quite knows how much money is at stake, but estimates range from $29 billion to $150 billion, with $100 billion the figure most often used. The Treasury Department has estimated that once Iran fulfills other obligations, it would have about $56 billion left. That’s certainly ‘billions.’ But remember, this is already Iran’s money; it is not being ‘given’ any kind of signing bonus. […] The ad, however, incorrectly suggests that the agreement directly allows the financing of terrorists.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC Ad Used “Misleading Language” To Make It Appear That Arms Controls Were Being Weakened. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “‘Arms controls’ refers to U.N. Security Council sanctions limiting nations from supplying Iran’s weapon programs. Iran had wanted the sanctions lifted immediately, but as a compromise the deal called for the embargo on ballistic missiles to be lifted after a maximum of eight years. Sanctions on conventional weapons would be lifted after five years. The time frame could be shortened if the International Atomic Energy Agency determines that Iran’s nuclear program was only for peaceful purposes. Here, again, the ad uses misleading language. This nuclear deal is an arms-control agreement, but ad makes it appears as if ‘arms controls’ are being weakened. Supplies for Iran’s ballistic missile program were under sanctions, but there were never agreed limits on the number of Iran’s ballistic missiles, as is typical in an arms-control agreement.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

VOICEOVER: First of Nevadans send tax dollars to Attorney General Cortez Masto.

TEXT: Nevadans Send Tax Dollars To Masto; Nevada Department of Administration


Cortez Masto Cut The Attorney General’s Office Budget By 30 Percent. According to an AP article, “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is doubling size of a mortgage fraud investigation team, even while the department is cutting its budget by nearly 30 percent. She’s using federal funds to hire two prosecutors and four investigators to handle thousands of complaints against more than 200 companies accused of loan schemes or predatory lending. Nevada was the state hardest-hit by the foreclosure crisis.” [Associated Press, 2/17/11]

Cortez Masto Testified To Assembly Committee That 2009-2011 AG Office Budget Was Cut 30 Percent Or $6.4 Million. “In the 2007-2009 biennium, the AGO cut 12.3 percent of its budget according to General Masto. In the 2009-2011 biennium, the cut was 30 percent or $6,426,208, even though the Governor’s requested budget cut was 10 percent. That cut, according to General Masto, included the elimination of 8 positions— 5.28 DAGs, 2 legal researchers, and 1 administrative assistant.” [Assembly Committee on Ways and Means Meeting Minutes, 2/21/11]

Cortez Masto Testified To Assembly Committee That 2011-2013 AG Office Budget Was Cut By 20.7 Percent Or $8.2 Million. “General Masto said the 2011-2013 biennium proposed budget included a 29.7 percent or $8,286,241 cut to the AG’s budget with the elimination of four full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, two DAG positions, one forensic examiner position, and one legal secretary 2 position. General Masto believed the AGO would be able to fulfill its charter within the proposed budget. There were no new fees within that budget. General Masto proposed to fulfill all of the AGO responsibilities with no new staff requests.” [Assembly Committee on Ways and Means Meeting Minutes, 2/21/11]


PolitiFact Nevada: It’s Clear That As Attorney General, Cortez Masto Didn’t “Pad Her Pockets” While State Workers Suffered, She Received “Essentially The Same Salary” During Her Eight Years In Office. “According to information collected from TransparentNevada.com and records request from the state Controller’s office, PolitiFact Nevada put together this spreadsheet of salaries, donations and what percentage of salary was donated back to the state. As shown, it’s clear that as Attorney General, Cortez Masto didn’t ‘pad her pockets’ while state workers suffered – rather, she received essentially the same salary (not counting benefits) during her eight years in office when donations are subtracted out.” [PolitiFact Nevada, 2/3/16]

Cortez Masto Donated Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars Of Her Salary Back To Nevada Taxpayers. “Masto’s campaign defended the candidate’s record, noting she took a pay cut to protect her office’s budget and noted Heck voted against budgets that would have limited taxpayer-funded air travel for members of Congress. ‘This is a typical misleading attack ad; the fact is that as Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto cut her office budget by thirty percent, and, when state workers were furloughed, stood with them and voluntarily donated tens of thousands of dollars of her salary back to the taxpayers,’ Nevada Democratic Party spokesman Zach Hudson said.” [Politico Pro, 12/15/15]

Las Vegas Sun: Records Show Cortez Masto Returned Salary To Nevada’s General Fund. “Records show most other constitutional officers, who earn less than the governor, have returned more money to the state’s general fund. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who earns $133,000, has contributed $5,971, or 4.6 percent, for the full fiscal year.” [Las Vegas Sun, 2/24/10]

Cortez Masto Returned More Than $44,000 Of Her Salary.

[Catherine Cortez Masto Attorney General Salary; Catherine Cortez Masto Furlough Receipts, 2010-2014]

Cortez Masto Used Automatic Pay Deduction To Return Her Salary. “The state constitutional officers are: Gibbons, Wallin, Secretary of State Ross Miller, Treasurer Kate Marshall, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. Miller, who makes about $87,500 annually, said Monday that he is finalizing his enrollment in the pay deductions. Cortez Masto, whose base salary is listed at $133,000, said she also intends to use the automatic deduction option.” [Reno Gazette-Journal, 12/16/09]

Cortez Masto Spokeswoman: “Catherine Is Going To Take The Same Salary Cuts As State Employees.” “Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and state Controller Kim Wallin are taking the raise, but they said they will return to the state whatever salary reductions are approved by the 2011 Legislature. Masto’s pay will increase to $140,980 with the 6 percent increase, while Wallin will receive $102,890. Miller and Marshall could receive the same amount as Wallin if they took the increase. Otherwise, they will be paid $97,000. […] ‘Catherine is going to take the same salary cuts as state employees,’ added Edie Cartwright, Masto’s spokeswoman.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/11/11]

VOICEOVER: Masto awards and a no pay limit contract with tax dollars to a DC special interest law firm.

TEXT: Masto Awards Contract To DC Special Interest Law Firm; Wall Street Journal, 6/11/13

Carson Now: Nevada Has Frequently Used Outside Legal Counsel Over The Last 25 Years, Including In The Successful Prosecution Of Big Tobacco. According to an article by Sean Whaley of the Nevada News Bureau, “The state has frequently employed outside legal firms for various matters over the years, including the successful pursuit of a settlement agreement by Nevada and other states against the nation’s big tobacco companies in the 1990s. Since the settlement was reached in 1998 under then-Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, Nevada has collected $505 million for a variety of programs through 2011.” [Carson Now, 2/2/12]

New Mexico AG Gary King: Taking On Major Corporations Comes At A High Cost, Having Outside Counsel Foot The Bills Upfront Helps “Level The Playing Field On Behalf Of Consumers.”  “Mr. King and other attorneys general say lawsuits against major corporations or industry sectors can require the hiring of expert witnesses and produce hundreds of thousands of pages of documents that must be reviewed. All of this comes at a high cost, and outside lawyers can foot the bills upfront. ‘It’s one of the only tools I have to level the playing field on behalf of consumers, given the significant financial firepower that big pharma, big banking and any number of other industries have,’ Mr. King said. ‘The attorney general is virtually the only protection the consumer has against abuse by those industries.’” [New York Times, 12/18/14]


September 2015: AG Adam Laxalt Hired Bancroft PLLC To Defend Legal Change To Education Savings Account Program. “Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced Thursday that he has retained a nationally recognized law firm to help defend against the ACLU legal challenge to the state’s new Education Savings Account program. The firm Bancroft PLLC will provide the attorney general’s office with legal strategy and analysis on the case, which Gov. Brian Sandoval has urged be resolved as quickly as possible. Leading Bancroft’s involvement in the case will be former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who has argued over 75 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and is widely recognized as a top appellate advocate in the country.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 9/17/15]

Nevada Paid Bancroft PLLC $285,000 To Defend School Voucher Program. “Nevada is paying $285,000 to hire a famous lawyer to help defend the state’s new Education Savings Account program in two pending lawsuits. The Nevada Board of Examiners voted Tuesday to approve the agreement with Bancroft PLLC, the law firm of former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement.” [Associated Press, 11/10/15]

Nevada Board Of Examiners Approved The Bancroft PLLC Contract. “The Nevada Board of Examiners voted Tuesday to approve the agreement with Bancroft PLLC, the law firm of former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement. Clement has argued more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court since 2000 than any other lawyer. Nick Trutanich of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office testified that the law firm invested 500 hours so far defending the school choice program, which would normally cost $375,000. Gov. Brian Sandoval said the briefs Bancroft filed urging the court to dismiss the legal challenges are among the best he’s ever seen.” [Associated Press, 11/10/15]


December 8, 2009: Board Of Examiners Approved Cortez Masto Contract To Hire Cohen Milstein As Special Counsel On Contingency Fee To Pursue Mortgage Lending Cases. On December 8, 2009, Nevada Board of Examiners approved Attorney General’s contract to hire Cohen Milstein on contingency fee: “This is a new contract to provide the Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection with special counsel pursuant to NRS 41.03435 to serve and assist in the matter of prosecution of all available civil claims, damages, civil penalties, restitution, disgorgement of profits, injunctions against all appropriate defendants related to collectivity ‘lending practices’ including, but not limited to and deception, deceptive act or practice, fraud, false pretense, misrepresentation, or concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact as to the Lending Practices (collectively, the ‘Acts’ and/or Litigation).” [Board of Examiners, Meeting Agenda, 12/8/09]

The Board Of Examiners Consists Of The Governor, The Attorney General And The Secretary Of State. “The State Board of Examiners (BOE) was created by Nevada Revised Statute 353.010. Its purpose is to review claims for payment pursuant to an appropriation or authorization by the Legislature. The Board consists of the Governor, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General.” [Nevada Board of Examiners, accessed 5/2/16]

Cohen Milstein’s Broad Mandate Allowed Them To Seek Compensation For Anyone In The State Who Was Harmed By Fraudulent Mortgage Lending Practices. “Though Ms. Singer, 48, served just a year as attorney general in the District of Columbia, she had a long prior tenure in public service jobs, and she referred to her work at Cohen Milstein as an extension of her commitment to serving the public good. […] Nevada hired her firm in 2009, under a contract that had an exceptionally broad mandate: to seek compensation for anyone in the state who was harmed as a result of fraudulent mortgage lending practices. And Ms. Singer negotiated a settlement with Bank of America that generated an extra $38 million for Nevada, and $5.6 million for her firm — reflecting a 15 percent fee.” [New York Times, 12/18/14]


New Mexico AG Gary King: Contingency Fee Reduces Risk To The Taxpayers Because Law Firms Cover The Upfront Cost. “Much as big industries have found natural allies in Republican attorneys general to combat federal regulations, plaintiffs’ lawyers working on a contingency-fee basis have teamed up mostly with Democratic state attorneys general to file hundreds of lawsuits against businesses that make anything from pharmaceuticals to snack foods. […] But Mr. King said that because Cohen Milstein was covering most of the cost, there was little risk to the state, adding that he was receptive to this approach because of what he said had been a disturbing pattern of abuse in his state’s nursing homes. ‘The court system in America is a good way to determine if that is a sufficient argument,’ Mr. King said.” [New York Times, 12/18/14]

New York Times: Cohen Milstein Won An Extra $38 Million For Nevada And Collected A 15% Fee On The Judgment. “Though Ms. Singer, 48, served just a year as attorney general in the District of Columbia, she had a long prior tenure in public service jobs, and she referred to her work at Cohen Milstein as an extension of her commitment to serving the public good. […] Nevada hired her firm in 2009, under a contract that had an exceptionally broad mandate: to seek compensation for anyone in the state who was harmed as a result of fraudulent mortgage lending practices. And Ms. Singer negotiated a settlement with Bank of America that generated an extra $38 million for Nevada, and $5.6 million for her firm — reflecting a 15 percent fee.” [New York Times, 12/18/14]

VOICEOVER: The same law firm sends Masto thousands and campaign contributions and DC law firm makes millions.

TEXT: DC Law Firm Sends Masto Thousands And Campaign Contributions; Nevada Secretary of State

DC Law Firm Makes Millions; Nevada State Controller


GOP Congressman Heck Praised National Mortgage Settlement: “At A Time When Nevada Families Are Struggling The Most To Make Ends Meet, I Have High Hopes This Settlement Will Provide Nevada Homeowners Much Needed Relief.” “Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said he is ‘happy to see that an agreement was reached. At a time when Nevada families are struggling the most to make ends meet, I have high hopes that this settlement will provide them much needed relief.’” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/9/12]


December 2010: Cortez Masto Filed Lawsuit Against Bank Of America For Foreclosures Abuses: “We Are Holding Bank Of America Accountable For Misleading And Deceiving Consumers.” “The Nevada Attorney General’s office sued Bank of America Friday morning for allegedly deceiving homeowners through its residential loan modification and foreclosure practices. The lawsuit, filed in Clark County District Court and triggered by consumer complaints, named as defendants the bank’s parent company as well as BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Recon Trust Co. ‘We are holding Bank of America accountable for misleading and deceiving consumers,’ Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said. ‘Nevadans who were trying desperately to save their homes were unable to get truthful information in order to make critical life decisions.’” [Las Vegas Sun, 12/17/10]

October 2010: Ohio AG Richard Cordray Launched The First Major Legal Challenge To Bank Foreclosure Abuses Against Ally Financial. “This week we saw the first major legal challenge to the mortgage servicers and lenders at the center of the kerfuffle over ‘robo-signers’—the mortgage servicer employees who allegedly signed thousands of documents authorizing foreclosures across the country, without actually having reviewed the loan documents, as the law requires. Some say these middle-manager types (who have been identified at GMAC Mortgage LLC, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and OneWest Bank, in depositions by consumer lawyers), if they did what they say they did, committed fraud in hundreds and even thousands of foreclosure cases by claiming knowledge of a financial matter of which they had no personal knowledge. This chaffed Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray so badly that he filed suit Wednesday against GMAC and its parent company Ally Financial Inc., seeking $25,000 in civil penalties for each instance of fraud, plus untold thousands of dollars more in consumer restitution.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/7/10]

Cortez Masto AG’s Office Investigated More Than 200 Companies For Mortgage Fraud. “More than 200 companies are under criminal investigation for mortgage fraud with ties to such things as identity theft and prostitution, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says. Edith Cartwright of the attorney general’s office said many of those companies have 50 to 100 complaints against them. Masto outlined her budget to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Monday, saying she has two attorneys and three investigators to handle the criminal cases. The office also has a federal grant to hire two lawyers and four more investigators. Masto said the investigations center on mortgage foreclosure rescue scams or loan modification scams. ‘They are looking at various ways to scam people,’ the attorney general said. ‘This is the easiest to set up shop and try to start taking dollars from mortgage fraud. But they are organized and they engage in other types of crime besides the mortgage fraud.’” [Las Vegas Sun, 2/21/11]

AG Cortez Masto’s Mortgage Fraud Unit Was “Among The Most Aggressive In The Country.” According to a report by Colleen McCarty of KLAS, “Nevada’s mortgage Fraud Task Force – arguably among the most aggressive in the country – has undergone some dramatic changes in the last few months. […] Since the task force’s inception in 2007, the task force has served as a trailblazer for criminal prosecutions of housing-related crime. Its developed a national reputation built on complex cases involving loan modification fraud, foreclosure scams and robosigning.” [KLAS, 7/3/12]


Cortez Masto Played An Important Role In Mortgage Settlements Totaling At Least $1.9 Billion Helping Nevada Homeowners Hurt By The Foreclosure Crisis. “The process of fact checking involves reporting the facts as best known at the time. When new facts arise, verdicts can change. That happened here. Regarding Cortez Masto’s campaign video, the claim is correct that she played an important role in mortgage settlements totaling at least $1.9 billion that held banks accountable and helped Nevada homeowners hurt by the foreclosure crisis. Truth meter: 9 (out of 10).” [Reno Gazette-Journal 3/23/16]

Cortez Masto Helped People Suffering Through The “Worst Mortgage Crisis In History, Ground Zero For The Crisis Nationally, Using One Of The Smallest Attorney General’s Offices In The Country.” “Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto is also term limited, but wouldn’t disclose any plans to run for another office. She detailed her accomplishments since January 2007. Her biggest task was helping people suffering in a state with the worst mortgage crisis in history, ground zero for the crisis nationally, using one of the smallest attorney general’s offices in the country, with a staff of 365 employees including 155 attorneys and 48 peace officers.” [Pahrump Valley Times, 10/30/13]

GOP Former Washington AG Rob McKenna: Cortez Masto Improved The National Mortgage Settlement For Nevada And Held The Banks More Fully Accountable. “Strong independent evidence came today. Her campaign emailed a quote about her role in the national settlement from attorney Rob McKenna. He wrote, ‘As Attorney General of Washington, I served on the National Mortgage Settlement Executive Committee. I saw firsthand Catherine Cortez Masto’s successful efforts to improve the settlement for Nevada residents and hold the banks more fully accountable. Catherine helped improve the settlement’s initial terms, such as: allowing states to seek additional litigation against the banks. Catherine also secured a separate agreement for Nevada with Bank of America. Due to Catherine’s efforts on the National Mortgage Settlement, as well as other litigation she pursued against the banks, Nevada received more than $1.9 billion in relief for struggling homeowners.’ It is obviously key that he was part of the executive committee behind the ultimate terms of the national settlement. Also significant is the fact that McKenna is a Republican.” [Reno Gazette-Journal 3/23/16]

DEM & GOP Attorneys General For Arkansas, Illinois, And Nebraska All Praised Cortez Masto’s Work On The National Mortgage Settlement. “The campaign also sent similar testimonials from former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning. […] Regarding Cortez Masto’s campaign video, the claim is correct that she played an important role in mortgage settlements totaling at least $1.9 billion that held banks accountable and helped Nevada homeowners hurt by the foreclosure crisis.” [Reno Gazette-Journal 3/23/16]

DEM Sen. Reid Praised Cortez Masto For National Mortgage Settlement: “I’m Very Proud Of Her And Confident That The Work She Did Will Bring Dividends To The Beleaguered Housing Industry In Nevada.” “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised Masto for her role in negotiating a settlement for Nevada. ‘I’m very proud of her and confident that the work she did will bring dividends to the beleaguered housing industry in Nevada,’ Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/9/12]

GOP Sen. Heller: The Settlement Will Provide More Protection And Some Relief To Nevada Homeowners. “Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said he was pleased that the settlement would provide more protection and some relief to Nevada homeowners. ‘No state has been hit harder by the foreclosure crisis than Nevada,’ Heller said in a statement. ‘Unfortunately, abuses by the banking industry made a bad situation worse. Actions by the banking industry helped create this housing crisis. They have an obligation to help get us out.’” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/9/12]

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan: Cortez Masto Was “Very Deeply Involved” In The Settlement Negotiations And Nevada Will Receive One Of The Largest Benefits Because It Was One Of The Hardest Hits States And The Separate Bank Of America Case. DONOVAN: “Well, Nevada is, as you say, one of the places that was hardest hit and I have to compliment your attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto, who was very deeply involved in the settlement negotiations, has done extensive investigations, and will be part of the monitoring committee, working with the monitor that I talked about to make sure that banks live up to these promises. Because it was one of the hardest hit states, Nevada will get – will be in the top five of the largest benefits from the settlement, about $1.5 billion will go to Nevada for help, and. because of separate cases that your attorney general brought. there are additional benefits that will be coming to Nevada, as well. The other thing I should mention is that Bank of America has committed, because of the extent of the lending that Countrywide did in states like Nevada, has committed to a special program that will provide deeper principal reduction and they’ve agreed to go out and – and to reach to every – every Countrywide borrower who is more than 60 days delinquent and underwater on their loan. So, because Countrywide lending was so extensive in Nevada, that is a special benefit to Nevada families that have been hard hit.” [Housing And Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan Teleconference, 2/10/12]

National Notary Association CEO Tom Heymann: Cortez Masto Has Shown “Unwavering Dedication” To Remedying The Housing Crisis And Has “Emerged As A Beacon Of Strength And National Leadership.” According to a release by the National Notary Association, “‘Attorney General Cortez Masto has shown unwavering dedication to remedying a nationwide crisis that has mortgage servicers rethinking their approach to the supervision and training of Notaries,” said NNA Chief Executive Officer Tom Heymann. ‘In doing so, she has emerged as a beacon of strength and national leadership.’” [National Notary Association press release, 5/10/12]

VOICEOVER: Good for Masto and DC law firm. Bad for Nevadans.

TEXT: Good For Masto And DC Law Firm. Bad For Nevadans


Congressman Heck: The Mortgage Crisis Is A “Blip On The Radar.” In 2008, Heck called the mortgage crisis a “blip on the radar” in an interview. Heck was asked in an interview with the Nevada News Makers, ‘What issues are most critical to Nevada? Perhaps the recent subprime mortgage crisis and the recent state budget?’ Heck answered, “Those things, while important and certainly critical to those that were affected, tend to be blips on the radar.” [Nevada News Makers, accessed 2/29/12]

Heck Agreed With Mitt Romney That The Foreclosure Process Needed To “Run Its Course And Hit The Bottom.” “In a state where the loss of a family home perhaps has been the most painful outcome of the stressed economy, Mitt Romney took hits Tuesday from Nevada leaders of both parties after commenting that the government should let the foreclosure process ‘run its course and hit the bottom.’ […] Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., has endorsed Romney. Heck thinks the housing market ‘does need to reach bottom,’ a spokesman said, but supports ‘a soft landing rather than a hard crash’ by having the government continue to offer refinancing help.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/18/11]


Heck’s Campaigns Received $533,269 From The Securities & Investment Industry. [Open Secrets, Joe Heck Career Top Industries, Accessed 9/8/16]

Heck’s Campaigns Received $269,092 From The Insurance Industry. [Open Secrets, Joe Heck Career Top Industries, Accessed 9/8/16]

Heck’s Campaigns Received $138,539 From The Commercial Banking Industry. [Open Secrets, Joe Heck Career Top Industries, Accessed 9/8/16]


Bank Lobbyists Pushed Heck’s Bill To Repeal Nevada’s Excise Taxes On Banks. “Nevada bankers asked lawmakers on Thursday to back a bill repealing two excise taxes imposed on banks in 2003, calling them unfair levies that single out their industry. Bill Uffelman, president of the Nevada Bankers Association, said the taxes have caused a severe drop in some small rural banks’ earnings. That’s particularly difficult when banks are facing competition from credit unions that don’t pay the extra taxes, he said. […] John Sande, a lobbyist with the Nevada Bankers Association, said the bill emphasizes the discrimination in the excise tax and reiterated that financial institutions should be charged the same taxes as any other business. He was not opposed to AB290, but said, ‘It just goes to show you how unfair the existing law is.’” [Associated Press, 3/22/07]

2010: Heck Defended Bill To Cut Taxes On Banks, Argued It Put Them On Equal Footing With Other Businesses. “Heck said that he didn’t remember the vote on the tax rebate for seniors and that the tax cut for banks was meant to put them on equal footing with other businesses. ‘I have no recollection of that vote,’ he said of the tax rebate vote. The bank vote, he said, corrected a two-tier system Titus supported in 2003. ‘It didn’t make a difference if it was banks,’ Heck said. ‘It could have been somebody who was making widgets or baskets.’” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/15/10]


Heck Proposed Allowing Workers To Invest Retirement Funds In Private Accounts, Instead Of Social Security. “The two candidates also got into an angry back-and-forth in discussing veterans benefits, Medicare and Social Security. Bilbray said Heck wants to privatize Social Security, and she said he’s done nothing to raise Medicare reimbursement rates so doctors won’t drop patients. Congress had boosted reimbursement rates, but on a year-to-year basis instead of a permanent fix. Heck, sounding exasperated, said he introduced the first bill to ‘repair Medicare’ and reintroduced it this year. He said it passed the House. As for Social Security, Heck said he has proposed allowing younger workers to invest retirement funds as they like, instead of with the government.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/20/14]

Heck’s Social Security Privatization Plan Would Create A “Major Problem,” The Government Would Be Left With “Less Money To Pay Retirees’ Benefits.” “‘But Heck’s proposal would create a major problem. If people take money out of Social Security to invest it privately, the government will be left with even less money to pay retirees’ benefits.” [Las Vegas Sun, 9/10/10]

Privatizing Social Security Could Be A Windfall For Wall Street, Generating Billions In Fees. “President Bush’s plan to partly privatize Social Security could be a windfall for Wall Street, generating billions of dollars in management fees for brokerages and mutual fund companies.” [NBC News, 12/28/04]

Wall Street Firms Could Reap Billions In Management Fees If Social Security Taxes Were Funneled Into Private Accounts. “The nation’s brokerages and mutual fund companies could be big winners if the government were to allow Americans to funnel some of their Social Security taxes into private investment accounts each year. Firms such as Fidelity Investments, Vanguard Group, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Schwab collectively could reap billions of dollars in management fees and commissions over the long term.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/18/05]


Heck Voted To Create A Safe Harbor From The Penalties Under Wall Street Reform For Banks That Originate Non-Qualified Mortgages That Do Not Comply With The Ability-To-Repay Requirements. In November 2015, Heck voted for: “Passage of the bill that would create a safe harbor from the penalties under the Dodd-Frank Act for banks that originate non-qualified mortgages that do not comply with the ability-to-repay requirements, as long as the bank retains the mortgage in its own portfolio. The bill would also create safe harbor for mortgage originators (brokers) if the mortgage lender is a depository institution and intends to hold the mortgage for the life of the loan, and the originator tells the consumer that the lender will hold the mortgage for the life of the loan. The bill would also require that prepayment penalties comply with current statutory requirements. Further, the bill would provide safe harbor to balloon payment loans, as long as these loans meet all other qualified mortgage requirements. As amended, the bill would clarify that systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) are excluded from the safe harbor provisions under the bill.” The bill passed 255-174. [CQ, 11/18/15; HR 1210, Vote 636, 11/18/15]

The Bill Would Roll Back Regulations For Mortgages That Were Created To Prevent The Bad Lending Practices That Led To The 2008 Financial Crisis – It Would Extend An Exemption To A Rule From Just Small And Rural Banks To All Banks. “The House passed legislation Wednesday that critics argue rolls back regulations for mortgages that were created to prevent the bad lending practices responsible for the financial crisis of 2008. The Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, which was introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), passed by a 255-174 vote. The bill extends a federal exemption meant for small and rural banks to all banking institutions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued regulations last year that require lenders to ensure a borrower’s ability to repay a loan in order to obtain a qualified mortgage status, which provides lenders a ‘safe harbor’ protection from federal penalties and lawsuits brought by borrowers who have defaulted on their loans. But the bureau created an exemption to allow small and rural banks to achieve that qualified mortgage status without following the ability-to-repay rule, which requires a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio to be 43 percent or less. Banking organizations, which support extending the exemption, argued that the rule was too restrictive and caused mid-size community bankers to decrease or eliminate their mortgage businesses.” [The Hill, 11/18/15]

Heck Voted To Exempt From The Prohibition Any Covered Depository Institution That Limits Its Security-Based And Other Swap Activities To Hedging And Other Similar Risk-Mitigation Activities. In October 2013, Heck voted for: “Passage of the bill that would amend a provision of the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul law that prohibits the federal bailout of swaps dealers or participants. The bill would exempt from the prohibition any covered depository institution that limits its security-based and other swap activities to hedging and other similar risk-mitigation activities. Non-structured and certain structured finance swap activities also would be exempt. Under the bill, insured depository institutions and uninsured U.S. branches of a foreign bank would be considered covered depository institutions.” The bill passed 292-122. [CQ, 10/30/13; HR992, Vote 569, 10/30/13]

Bill Rolled Back Major Elements Of The Dodd-Frank Financial Regulatory Bill. “The House of Representatives, with bipartisan support, passed legislation on Wednesday that would roll back a major element of the 2010 law intended to strengthen the nation’s financial regulations by allowing big banks like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase to continue to handle most types of derivatives trades in house. The bill, which passed by a 292-122 vote, would repeal a requirement in the Dodd-Frank law that big banks ‘push out’ some derivatives trading into separate units that are not backed by the government’s insurance fund.” [New York Times, 10/30/13]

A Swap Was A Type Of Securities Exchange, One Type, A Credit Default Swap, Transferred Risk From The Owner Of A Stock To The Buyer Of A Swap In Exchange For Period Payments. “Credit default swap: A swap designed to transfer credit risk, in effect a form of financial insurance. The buyer of the swap makes periodic payments to the seller in return for protection in the event of a default on a loan. […] Swap: An exchange of securities between two parties. For example, if a firm in one country has a lower fixed interest rate and one in another country has a lower floating interest rate, an interest rate swap could be mutually beneficial.” [BBC Magazine, 8/4/09]

Fortune Magazine: Credit Default Swaps “Played A Critical Role In The Unfolding Financial Crisis.” “As Congress wrestles with another bailout bill to try to contain the financial contagion, there’s a potential killer bug out there whose next movement can’t be predicted: the Credit Default Swap.  In just over a decade these privately traded derivatives contracts have ballooned from nothing into a $54.6 trillion market. CDS are the fastest-growing major type of financial derivatives. More important, they’ve played a critical role in the unfolding financial crisis. First, by ostensibly providing ‘insurance’ on risky mortgage bonds, they encouraged and enabled reckless behavior during the housing bubble.” [Fortune Magazine, 9/30/08]

VOICEOVER: Catherine Cortez Masto another corrupt career politician Nevada can’t afford.

TEXT: Catherine Cortez Masto Another Corrupt Career Politician


Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Steve Sebelius: “These Ads Attempt To Go One Bridge Too Far, Levying A Charge Of Corruption Where It Does Not Fit.” In August 2016, Steve Sebelius wrote, “But these ads attempt to go one bridge too far, levying a charge of corruption where it does not fit (for example, almost all public officials attend official conventions put on by groups, ranging from governors to statewide officials to members of the Legislature and even local governments). It’s difficult to alleged that a single public official, whether an AG, a DA or even a sheriff, can singlehandedly be held responsible for an increase (or a decrease) in the crime rate, let alone that attending a seminar had such an impact.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, Steve Sebelius Column, 8/26/16]

Steve Sebelius: Heck’s Campaign “Should Know There’s A Breaking Point At Which Stretching Those Facts Too Far Will Cause Them To Snap.” In August 2016, Steve Sebelius wrote, “Heck’s campaign is certainly entitled to comb over Cortez Masto’s record and identify things that undercut her campaign’s law-and-order message (in fact, that follows a popular political strategy to attack an opponent where she’s the strongest). But the campaign should know there’s a breaking point at which stretching those facts too far will cause them to snap. That’s worth remembering since it doesn’t appear the ‘corruption’ meme is going to go away anytime soon.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, Steve Sebelius Column, 8/26/16]

Jon Ralston: There’s “Never Been Any Evidence” Of Congressman Heck’s Attacks On Cortez Masto’s Character. RALSTON: “But I do think that the definition of her as being corrupt is, it is something she really needs to worry about, even though there’s never been any evidence that that’s true.” [Ed Morrissey Show, 8/26/16]

Former Nevada Republican AG George Chanos: “Cortez Masto Is A Principled Public Servant, Who Has Always Attempted To Serve The People Of Nevada, To The Best Of Her Ability.” [Facebook, George Chanos, 8/29/16]

Headline: Sen. Richard Bryan Las Vegas Sun Op-Ed: Heck’s Unfounded Attacks Cross Line. [Las Vegas Sun, Bryan Op-Ed, 9/7/16]

Sen. Bryan: Attacks Against Cortez Masto “Crossed A Line” “Most people enter public service because they want to better our country, have a discussion with people with opposing views and make compromises that solve problems Americans are facing. Unfortunately, in our hotly contested Senate race this year, Congressman Joe Heck’s campaign released an outrageous website attacking Catherine Cortez Masto’s integrity. These attacks from the Heck campaign cross a line I have never seen crossed before in all my years in public service. These attacks go far beyond a debate over the issues or the candidates’ records.” [Las Vegas Sun, Bryan Op-Ed, 9/7/16]

Sen. Bryan: Cortez Masto Had A Record Of Solving Problems And Fighting For Nevada Families. “I’ve known Masto for years, and she has served Nevada with integrity and grace as a prosecutor and as our attorney general. She has a record of solving problems and fighting for Nevada families. As attorney general she passed more than 40 bills with Republican and Democratic support, demonstrating her commitment to working across party lines to get things done.” [Las Vegas Sun, Bryan Op-Ed, 9/7/16]

Sen. Bryan: Cortez Masto “A Personal Of Unquestionable Integrity” “Her record as our attorney general has earned her the support of law enforcement officials across the state who have worked with her and know she is a person of unquestionable integrity with an ability to get things done in a dysfunctional Washington. I’ve seen her in action. She brings Republicans and Democrats together, listens to all ideas and comes up with solutions that get real results.” [Las Vegas Sun, Bryan Op-Ed, 9/7/16]

Sen. Bryan: Heck Should Know Better Than To Throw Unfounded Personal Attacks. “Heck may not agree with Masto’s way of doing things, and that’s OK. We’re a diverse country with differing ideas, and our Founding Fathers built this country in a way that promotes debate between opposing sides. Heck has been to Washington. He knows what unfounded personal attacks do to our country’s civil discourse. This campaign should be a conversation about the issues.” [Las Vegas Sun, Bryan Op-Ed, 9/7/16]

Sen. Bryan: There Is “No Place” For Heck’s Personal Attacks In Election That Are Intended “To Deceive Voters.” “Masto presents her ideas for moving the country forward, and Heck should do the same. Highlighting concerns with your opponent’s ideas and voting record is fair game. Attacking your opponent’s personal character — and falsely, I might add — is what turns people away from politics. In a time when partisan dysfunction in Washington is at its worst, Masto is running on her record of working across party lines to get things done. Heck may disagree with how Masto wants to move our country forward — that’s why we have elections — but there is no place for personal attacks that are intended to deceive voters.” [Las Vegas Sun, Bryan Op-Ed, 9/7/16]


DEM President Obama Praised Cortez Masto As A “Tireless Advocate” For Childre

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