AG responds to Dane's attorney with legal arguments; Dane's attorney responds to AG with bizarre attack

In the ongoing attempt by the secretary of state and the attorney general to probe GOP activist Tony Dane's suspicious quarter-million-dollar PAC contribution, the AG pointed out that the subject of the probe's lawyer apparently missed the point. The attorney then responded, in what seems to be his style, with a bizarre, invective-filled letter that attacked Attorney General Adam Laxalt and -- sniff -- some "blogger" who broke the story.

Ralston and Laxalt, together again, for the first time!

I have already detailed the first exchange between the SOS and Dane's attorney, David Otto, the same fellow who filed what may be the most insane legal document ever filed, also peppered with black-helicoperish language rather than legal arguments.

In the first set of letters, Otto cited the Citizen Outhouse case that has nothing to do with conduit contributions and sounded very much like a CO newsletter, often filled with unfounded rumors and spurious allegations. In his response, posted here, Senior Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson pointed out to Otto that the case is about Dane potentially funneling client money to his own PAC and not properly disclosing, not about the ability to keep donors secret in mail pieces that do not expressly advocate against candidates.

Benson points out that Otto's citing of Citizens United also is not on point:

You reference Citizens United v. FEC for the proposition that corporations have a constitutional right to engage in political speech. However, the allegation in this case is not that some entity violated the law by engaging in political speech, but instead that you, CRC PAC, and/or Dane & Associates used a conduit to conceal the real source of the $200,000 contribution to CRC PAC. As you are aware, the Court in Citizens United held that, even though the corporation had a right to engage in political speech, the disclosure requirements still apply. 

Benson also tells Otto that because Dane's company no longer is registered to do business in Nevada, other statutes come into play. And Benson asks Dane's attorney for his corporate filings in Virginia, where Metro police recently seized property from Dane and interrogated him. 

When I first talked to Dane, he made it clear he had clients who had given him money to try to recall Speaker John Hambrick and Assemblyman Chris Edwards. But his contention is what he did is legal because once he received the client's money, it is his money and can be contributed to a PAC without disclosure. This is the very essence of conduit contributions and would set a terrible precedent. (Even the Clark County GOP, which filed the complaint, is outraged by Dane's lack of disclosure.)

Otto's response, also posted here, begins with a screed that reads like a Citizen Outhouse email blast:

We are in receipt of your letter dated February 17, 2015 and hereby respond to it. You and Attorney General Laxalt seem to be suffering from the same misunderstanding – or intellectual dishonesty - that Blogger John Ralston suffered from when he wrote the story subject of your letter. Please allow us to clear this up for you both. Is your inquiry based solely on the opinions or reports of a blogger? We find this a bit strange as well. 

Blogger capitalized, name spelled wrong, but I think I get the point: Otto has disdain for me. This hurts. Deeply.

Otto tries to bootstrap the Citizen Outhouse case into the Dane matter, but it clearly does not apply, and he eventually goes to his default political attack mode:

Will you say that the Attorney General or other prosecutor or the police based on probable cause have the right to arrest or otherwise harass people or Political Action Committees simply for stating that a legislator or other public official is in the wrong and should be corrected? Please inform us.

It seems that NRS 294A.0025 was amended only to supply lifetime tenure in elective positions to career politicians such as the Governor of Nevada and the Attorney General. If anyone criticizes them – using a PAC they will be prosecuted for their “express advocacy” whether the criticism calls for people to vote one way or another at all. This is truly disgusting and truly un-American. Is this your position? If we are wrong, please inform us as to what Attorney General Laxalt’s position is. We’ll keep it in mind next time he wants to run for some government office.... Apparently our new Attorney General feels it is his job to silence political debate, to silence those who do their civic duty by encouraging citizens to exert pressure on legislators. That is truly unconstitutional and un-American. 

Seriously? This is in a letter to the SOS/AG?

And later this:

It seems your inquiry is based solely on a statement made by a blogger named John Ralston. During Mr. Dane’s discussions with John Ralston he mentioned that he, through his company Dane & Associates, had several or many clients all over the country. Please know, that having clients who pay for political consulting services from Dane & Associates, LLC. in no way was meant to say or equate with those clients making donations to CRC PAC or directing CRC PAC in any way related to the “Star Wars” Flyers or relating to Chris Edwards taking bribes in exchange for his legislative vote, or having anything to do with Nevada Politics at all. Apparently this is the fundamental misunderstanding held by Mr. Ralston, you and Attorney General Laxalt. 

Actually, there is no misunderstanding. Dane told me clients had come to him for the recalls, that they had given him money and that he had then funded the PAC for the recalls. Period. (He actually had to amend his report with a late $200,000 contribution. His money, you see.)

If the state lets this go, then, if I may quote my friend, Mr. Laxalt, what does the rule of law mean?