New Heller ad blasts Rep. Berkley after Ethics panel announces investigation

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is up with a new ad blasting Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) for possible ethics violations, an issue that could turn into a central focus of the Senate race.

"An independent watchdog group has named Congresswoman Shelley Berkley 'one of the most corrupt members of Congress.' Berkley pushed legislation and twisted arms of federal regulators, advocating policies for financial gain, saving her husband's industry millions," the ad's narrator says. "Shelley Berkley took care of herself — and she got caught."

On Monday, the House Ethics Committee announced it would investigate allegations that she violated House rules by using her position in Congress to benefit her husband’s medical practice. The news follows a tough cover story from The New York Times last fall detailing her support of a kidney transplant program her husband has ties to.

Berkley's campaign has pointed out that nearly all of the state's delegation — including Heller — joined her in supporting the program. But the issue threatens to do major damage to Berkley in what polls have shown is currently a neck-and-neck race.

The ad does not mention the Ethics Committee investigation, possibly because it was produced before the Monday announcement.

This is the first time Heller's campaign has attacked Berkley on the air for this issue, though the pro-Republican super-PAC America Crossroads has already run attack ads against her. Heller's campaign said the ad is running on broadcast television, but had yet to determine how much money they'll spend on it.

The Hill currently rates the race a "toss-up."