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Sen. Dean Heller Distances Himself From Attack Ad That Says 'I'm Dean Heller And I Approve This Message'

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Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is running for Senate against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.).
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is running for Senate against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.).

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) recently put out a campaign attack ad that ends with the line, "I'm Dean Heller, and I approve this message." Despite that seal of approval, the senator wants voters to believe that he had nothing to do with the ad.

In the new spot, Heller blasts his opponent, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), for potential ethics violations. The narrator says Berkley "twisted the arms of federal regulators" for financial gain.

When asked about these allegations by The Hill's Cameron Joseph on Tuesday, however, Heller tried to distance himself from the ad. In fact, he claimed that he had nothing to do with it at all.

"The campaign is [running the ad]," he said. "If you have any questions or comments it'd probably be better if you directed those towards the campaign."

"Just talk to the campaign," he continued, "they're the ones dealing specifically with this issue. Right now, I'm just worried about jobs and the economy."

Yet at the end of this latest ad -- as well as every other ad -- Heller says, in his own voice, that he approves of the spot's message.

This sort of approval is required under the "Stand By Your Ad" provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. As Real Clear Politics explained, the belief was that by "forcing candidates to 'own' their ads [it] would discourage over-the-top negativity and misleading appeals to voters."

When asked for comment, Heller spokeswoman Chandler Smith did not directly address the senator's claim but focused on the allegations against Berkley.

"Seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley singlehandedly wrote a letter to Rep. Pete Stark, the chairman of the Subcommittee with jurisdiction over Medicare 'warning him to move carefully in considering changes in compensating doctors who provided dialysis treatments,'" Smith said. "Not only was her husband one of these doctors, but the same day she received campaign contributions from kidney doctors."

"This is the kind of behavior that led a panel of five Republicans and five of her own Democrat colleagues to unanimously decide to create an investigative subcommittee on the basis of a non-partisan report for the first time since 2009," Smith added.

Watch the attack ad that Heller reportedly had nothing to do with:

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