Operative says Trump fundraising solicitation was 'mistake'



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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Republican operative said Friday he made a mistake by asking potential sponsors of a forthcoming Lake Tahoe fundraiser featuring Donald Trump to make checks out to an independent PAC and not the state party, which is organizing the event.

George Harris said he committed to help raise money for both the Nevada Republican Party and Alpha PAC, an independent group with links to state party chairman Michael McDonald.

But he acknowledged that his solicitation letter dated Aug. 10 shouldn't have been on Nevada Republican Party letterhead while requesting checks be made out to Alpha PAC.

"I'm human and humans make mistakes," Harris said in an interview. "It's been rectified."

The letter, first reported by political journalist Jon Ralston, seeks "host sponsors" to pay $25,000 that would go to get-out-the-vote efforts. Host committee members would get half an hour with Trump and a photo opportunity at the Aug. 26 event, according to the letter signed by Harris.

The memo calls the dinner a "once in a lifetime opportunity to make Nevada and the Nevada Republican Party shine on the national level."

Harris provided The Associated Press a copy of an email timestamped later on Aug. 10 that indicates he corrected himself, apologized and redirected checks to the state party. The recipient's name is redacted. Harris said no funds had been collected off the solicitation.

Nevada GOP vice chairman Jim DeGraffenreid sent a cease and desist letter to Alpha PAC on Aug. 13, telling the group's chairman that the party had not authorized the communication and demanding the PAC cease any correspondence suggesting the two organizations were jointly fundraising.

Party spokeswoman Sara Sendek said proceeds from the dinner featuring Trump were going to the state party.

Reached Friday, DeGraffenreid said he felt the issue had been resolved, citing the retraction Harris sent to the potential donor who received the solicitation.

"Our understanding is that it was just an error," he said, adding that he didn't pursue a formal complaint with federal or state elections officials. "I don't see that there's another reason to take further action."

Gail Anderson of the Nevada Secretary of State's Office said the office hadn't received complaints related to the Trump fundraiser and said it didn't appear Nevada election law was violated in the case, based on published reports.

The Federal Election Commission and Trump campaign officials didn't have comment on Friday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Michelle Rindels

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