Danny Tarkanian made a new friend last year. The insurgent candidate, who is running in the Nevada Republican primary to unseat incumbent Sen. Dean Heller, obtained the endorsement of former deputy assistant to President Trump, Sebastian Gorka. He couldn’t be happier.
When Gorka gave his blessing on Dec. 20, 2017, Tarkanian beamed. And when Gorka attacked incumbent Heller as “a man who will lie about what he said yesterday,” Tarkanian was ecstatic.
I'm proud to support @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and #AmericaFirst. Thank you @SebGorka for your endorsement. We will WIN BIG in Nevada and FIGHT the DC Establishment!! #NVsen pic.twitter.com/IJmj7boATU— Danny Tarkanian (@DannyTarkanian) December 22, 2017
But there's a detail to the Gorka-Tarkanian friendship that hasn't been made public yet: Tarkanian, in December, paid Gorka $5,000 for a one time “speaking fee,” according to FEC filings.
"Danny is pleased to have Trump allies like Dr. Gorka," said campaign spokesman Richard Hernandez. "Dr. Gorka, along with other anti-establishment leaders, support Danny Tarkanian because he's fighting to drain the swamp. Our campaign, like other campaigns and groups, paid Dr. Gorka for his time to travel out to Nevada to speak at a public engagement. We would be delighted to do it again."
But this sort of thing is not normal. A search of FEC records for "honorarium" or "speaking" left the Washington Examiner mostly empty-handed. In the last two election cycles, only three House candidates paid speaking fees (averaging less than $2,000) and not a single Senate candidate paid a speaking fee or honorarium according to this search.
So that makes the Gorka-Tarkanian friendship something special.