- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada political consultant was indicted in Las Vegas on a variety of charges that include extortion, perjury and filing a false document.

Tony Dane was accused Thursday of using threats to try and get Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards to change his vote for the Assembly Speaker post in the weeks before the state Legislature convened early last year. A judge ordered Dane’s arrest on the 11 felony charges.

“This is a very good day for me and for the people of Nevada,” Edwards said in an interview, adding that he’s “100 percent confident” that Dane will be found guilty. “His activities have been detrimental to the legislative process and to the activity of the government. Nevada simply doesn’t need this kind of activism.”

Dane declined to comment when reached by phone on Thursday. His lawyer, David Otto, said he was going to comb through the indictment but that he believes “it is all based on an affidavit which shows a reckless disregard for the truth.”

Dane, who runs the Dane & Associates robo-call business used mainly by conservative candidates, is accused of illegal conduct during a contentious period after Republicans unexpectedly won a majority of seats in the Assembly in 2014. Conservative and more moderate party members were split on which Republican among them should hold the top-ranking Assembly Speaker post.

According to the complaint, Dane threatened Edwards that unless he voted for Elko Republican Assemblyman John Ellison for speaker, Dane would file a complaint with law enforcement or a state regulatory body accusing Edwards of taking a bribe.

Republican Assemblyman John Hambrick, the choice of more moderate members, ultimately won the speaker post.

The indictment also accuses Dane of filing a false campaign finance disclosure form with the Nevada Secretary of State, and illegally recording phone conversations, including those of moderate Republican Assembly members Hambrick, Paul Anderson, Derek Armstrong and Stephen Silberkraus.

The charges come after police said they used court-authorized wiretaps to monitor phone calls during last year’s legislative session. Police served search warrants last year at a home in Las Vegas and at a home Dane owned in Virginia, and it became public in December that Dane was the subject of a grand jury investigation.

Still, documents filed with the state show that many Republican Assembly candidates have been paying thousands of dollars for Dane’s services this spring. They include Assemblyman Brent Jones, who opposes the new commerce tax authorized last year by the Legislature, and other anti-tax candidates: Tony Baca, Blain Jones, Mary Rooney, Steve Sanson, Diana Orrock, Tina Trenner, Leonard Foster, Jim Marchant and Christine De Corte.

Anderson, who voted in favor of the tax package and is supporting Assembly members who face primary challenges from Jones-backed candidates, criticized the connection.

“Tony Dane is all over Brent Jones and his team’s expenses reports,” Anderson said. “They should be ashamed of their association with his criminal actions and continued use of his services.”

Jones did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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