(This post has been updated multiple times since first published. Scroll down to see the latest. Last update at 6:25 p.m. on Tuesday, 2/16/10.)
For those of you unaware, a third party called the Tea Party of Nevada just registered with the SOS. I’ve been researching and emailing around ever since, and here is what I’ve come up with so far:
I cannot find any evidence that any of these principals have ever been involved in any Tea Party activities, until now. I’ve emailed a number of Tea Party organizer-activists in the state and so far, nobody has ever heard of any of the principals – except for Barry Levinson because he is a Las Vegas attorney.
Here are some snippets from my research so far:
Barry Levinson was part of the “Bush Lied, People Died” cabal (very strange creds for a Tea Party guy).
Not really core to the story but one of the principals, Larry Lathum, appears to be a 9/11 Truther. A number of sane Tea Partiers emailed me to say they are concerned about credibility and perceptions and are not happy to see Levinson’s and Lathum’s names on that principals list.
Also, here are some notes from a conservative blogger (Flopping Aces) who is on this as well, along with some “Freepers” who have been researching the principals.
And from another (Nevada) source:
“The party’s candidate Jon Scott Ashjian has connections with Brittain Ashjian; both are listed on each others LLC’s docs with the state. (Go to http://nvsos.gov/sosentitysearch/CorpSearch.aspx and do an office search on Ashjian). A lot of the officers and resident agents for Ashjian are also “officers” for the Party. This just smells…
The Ashjian’s have listings for over 10 LLC’s including the following names:
W.I.T. Bro, LLC AKA AA Paving.
Two Amigos, LLC
Cajun Express, LLC
The 1720, LLC
TNT Energy Products, LLC
RNC Properties, LLC
Almost all of the LLC’s have various registered agents or officers with address of 4485 N. RAINBOW, Las Vegas.
I’ll keep researching/digging and will post updates as I have them.
Update (4:02 p.m.): Attorney Barry Levinson, Secretary for the party, returned my call a few minutes ago but declined to answer any of my questions until the party candidate officially announces “within the next few weeks.”
Also, Jon Ralston included this in his daily Flash a few minutes ago:
HAVING A TEA PARTY: As paranoia runs rampant among Republicans – both that Tea Party candidate Jon Ashjian could siphon votes and that Harry Reid is the Earl Grey of this group – the plain fact is that these folks are relatively unknown (and that is fueling much of the paranoia). I still haven’t been able to contact any of them – yes, it is a holiday – but Ashjian definitely is qualified for the ballot.
The question is what happens next. He will have to declare his candidacy and file when filing opens in two weeks. The Tea Party also could submit a slate of candidates in other races during the filing period and they would have to file, too. But because of the hostile third-party laws the major parties have passed here – and there even is some confusion because the laws are not updated yet on the legislative website – they would have to get 9,000 signatures by May 6 for the slate to qualify. Ashjian qualified himself under another part of the law but any contenders in other races would have to get the slate qualified because that deadline was Feb. 4.
Yes, they have made it confusing and difficult. The secretary of state’s minor party guide is helpful, although a typo or two won’t help assuage the confusion.
The national media is all over the story — even though one local outlet has yet to mention it more than 48 hours after I broke the story Saturday. NBC’s Chuck Todd, on his MSNBC program, “The Daily Rundown,” said what a lot of folks have said, which is even someone with dismal poll numbers such as Reid could survive if Ashjian can draw some votes.
The Nevada News Bureau has been doing some digging and Elizabeth Crum has posted some interesting info. What I find hilarious is that you can distinguish between sane Tea Partiers and these folks, who apparently have angered the “sane” Tea Partiers by daring to actually file documents of organization. My goodness.
Hoping to get a Tea Partier on the program this week….
Since Ralston suggests here that there are no sane Tea Partiers — or, at least, that one cannot much tell the difference — who from the existing Tea Party movement and/or the new Tea Party of Nevada wants to volunteer to go on his show this week? I guess either to prove him wrong, or right…
Update (5:51 p.m.): A search of the Contractor’s Board website rendered these results re: a complaint and pending hearing & action re: Tea Party of Nevada candidate Jon Ashjian:
License Number: 0038420
Current Date: 02/15/2010 04:36 PM(mm/dd/yyyy)
Business Primary Name: JON SCOTT ASHJIAN DBA
License Monetary Limit: $250,000.00
Fictitious Business Name: A & A ASPHALT PAVING COMPANY
Business Address: 4485 N RAINBOW BLVD, LAS VEGAS, NV 89108
Phone Number: (702)891-9111
Status: Summary Suspension
Status Date: 02/03/2010 (mm/dd/yyyy)
Origin Date: 11/02/1994 (mm/dd/yyyy)
Expiration Date: 11/30/2010 (mm/dd/yyyy)
Business Type: Individual
Classification(s): A-8 – SEALING & STRIPING OF ASPHALTIC SURFACES
A12 – EXCAVATING GRADING TRENCHING & SURFACING
A16 – PAVING STREETS,DRIVEWAYS & PARKING LOTS
Principal Name Relation Description: ASHJIAN, JON SCOTT Owner Qualified Individual
Bond Type: Surety Bond
Bond Number: FS7782036
Bond Agent: HUDDLESON, KATHLEEN A
Surety Company: GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY
Bond Amount: $15,000.00
Effective Date: 09/15/2006 (mm/dd/yyyy)
Cancellation Date: 03/28/2010 (mm/dd/yyyy)
Date: 12/29/2009 (mm/dd/yyyy)
Discipline document: Pending – Disciplinary action is pending against this licensee in the form of a Disciplinary Hearing.
Number Of Complaints: 1 complaint is associated with this action.
Notice: The pending action alleges the following violations. Upon final adjudication some violations or cases may be found to be without merit.
Violation(s): NRS 624.3013(3) Failure to establish financial responsibility, NRS 624.3016(1) Fraudulent or deceitful act
Action(s): Pending Adjudication.
The information contained on these pages are provided as a courtesy and may not reflect recent changes or updates. Neither the completeness nor accuracy is guaranteed. The Nevada State Contractors Board shall have no liability or responsibility for loss and damages arising from the information provided or retrieved from these pages.
No telling if this is legit or not until the Board makes their final call. Will keep an eye on it and keep you posted.
As reported by Ralston over the weekend and as shown in that list of LLCs above, there is also a Jon Ashjian listed as the resident agent of TNT Energy Products, LLC. The address for that entity is the same as for A&A Asphalt Paving Company. Which is the same as the address for the office of Barry Levinson. Which doesn’t mean anything, necessarily, except that Levinson’s law office appears to the resident agent for some of Mr. Ashjian’s business entities.
Update (8:32 p.m.): Here’s another blog post by Levinson. Would seem to put him in good company with Tea Party peeps on a few issues.
Update (11:32 a.m. on 2/16/10): From a RalstonFlash email a few minutes ago, some comments from attorney Barry Levinson, Tea Party of Nevada Secretary:
Tea Party of Nevada spokesman: “It’s real”
Barry Levinson, a well-known Las Vegas attorney, had that response when I contacted him today about the new party that will have a U.S. Senate candidate on the ballot in November. Levinson is the secretary of the Tea Party and said he was drawn to a third way by many of his clients going through bankruptcy, his “fight for the little guy,” as he described it.
Despite insinuations by those close to GOP Senate candidates that the Senate majority leader was somehow involved in erecting this party, Levinson immediately scoffed, “Harry Reid has nothing to do with it.”
Levinson said the party members have agreed not to say much until filing opened. When I asked if Jon Ashjian, the Senate candidate, would actually file, Levinson responded: “I guarantee it.”
Update (6:25 p.m. on 2/16/10): From Ralston’s newsletter this afternoon:
I learned a little bit more today about Jon Ashjian, who will be filing against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Some morsels to chew on:
—I have little doubt that he will file, and he scoffed (via e-mail) at the notion he is a stalking horse for Reid:
“I am not for Harry Reid, I have never been supportive of Harry Reid, My candidacy is real, The Tea Party is real, and we are not going away.”
—Ashjian, who goes by Scott, not Jon, is the second (count ‘em!) Armenian in the race (Danny Tarkanian is the other) and is from a large family of Mormon converts. I also understand he is quite wealthy and has a ton of business dealings, which inevitably will cause some controversy.
—Ashjian and Tea Party spokesman Barry Levinson, as Flashed to you earlier, are waiting for filing to really open up about the effort. But if what I hear is true, and if he decides to spend his own money, this could be a real nightmare for the GOP – and if the Tea Partiers qualify their slate, not just in the Senate race.
For the record, I never said that Ashjian or the Tea Party of Nevada had anything to do with Harry Reid. I did link to a Flopping Aces blog post that at one point speculated about a possible association — and then trusted you, Dear Readers, to decide what you thought for yourselves.
I’d also like to state that my post headline — “Tea Party Imposters?” — was meant in a half-serious, half-playful way because I had received SO many calls and emails and questions about the new party and its principals. The “buzz” was significant and people were throwing around the term, so I included it — with a question mark. Once you have all the facts, you can decide for yourselves what the legitimacy/credibility of this party and its candidates(s) is/are.
Lastly: This has become a very long blog post so the next time I write about this, it will be in a new post. Look for it.