Nevada Dem Downplays Casino Wealth in Fight for Vegas Suburb

Lee uses plane to fly on vacation after saying it's for her husband's business trips

Susie Lee for Congress
Susie Lee / Facebook

Nevada Democratic congressional candidate Susie Lee, who is downplaying her personal wealth from casinos in campaign materials, took four trips that appear to be vacations in her husband's plane over the last two and a half months.

Lee, who has run several charities, is married to millionaire casino-owner Dan Lee and is vying to succeed Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, who is running for Senate. Nevada's third district, a suburb of Las Vegas, has swung between Republican and Democratic control multiple times in recent years.

Two years ago when Lee first ran for Congress in a contested primary, she defended her use of the private plane against attacks from the Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union. The union accused her of leading a lavish lifestyle that included using the private plane to travel to the couple's $2.7 million vacation home in Wilson, Wyo., one of 17 properties they own.

The union also noted that the Lees have holdings in companies such as "Walmart, Halliburton, and GEO Group (a for-profit prison company)."

Lee's campaign has said she dropped the investments and clarified that the plane she and her husband own is not a jet but a single-engine turbo-crop that her husband uses to visit casino properties in rural areas such as Fallon, Nev., and Rising Sun, Ind.

Republicans pointed out that she is still using the plane to travel to her vacation home and other luxury destinations where her husband doesn't run casinos.

According to a website that tracks the flights of small aircraft, over the December holidays, the Lees flew the plane to a small Idaho airport near their Wyoming vacation home on Dec. 22 and flew back to Las Vegas New Year's Day.

The same plane was tracked traveling to Palm Springs, Calif. on Jan. 12 and leaving January 14. Dan Lee does not own or manage any casinos in California.

The couple also took the plane to the same Idaho airport near the vacation home on Jan. 4, flying back to Las Vegas, Jan. 7, and to the same airport again President’s Day weekend, Feb. 16, flying back Feb. 19.

Lee's campaign declined to comment on the flights.

Republicans say the shifting statements about the plane's use shows that Lee views the casino wealth as a campaign liability.

"The mood of the Democratic base is out of sync with an out-of-touch wealthy socialite running for Congress," said Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "She said one thing and is actually doing another."

On her campaign website, Lee never mentions that her husband is the CEO of Full House Resorts, which operates five casinos in Mississippi, Colorado, Indiana, and Nevada.

Instead, she highlights her "working-class roots" growing up in Canton, Ohio, as one of eight children, noting that her father was a military veteran who worked at a steel plant, and that she learned the "values of hard work and stretching a dollar, starting with a paper route at the age of eight."

Lee describes herself as a "non-profit leader" who founded an after-school program that serves 7,000 students and highlights her role as the president of an organization aimed at preventing school dropouts that serves 63 Nevada schools.

Lee also mentions that she founded a homeless crisis intervention center and a women's investment group, which she says has supported "dozens of vital nonprofits in Nevada."

Lee received some negative press earlier this month for blasting Steve Wynn over sexual harassment allegations against him while failing to acknowledge that she and her husband had investments in Wynn Resorts totaling between $165,000 and $400,000.

Cox told Breitbart News that the Lee family divested its investments from Wynn Resorts after the allegations against Wynn became public in January.