The accusations are flying in the Coachella Valley race between Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack and Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz.
Friends of Democracy, a Democratic political action committee, has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, accusing Mack's campaign of illegally steering a donor to a PAC that has raised money on her behalf.
Meanwhile, the Bono Mack side is painting her rival as a leftist revolutionary. The campaign has released a recording from 1999, where at a Plymouth Rock protest, Ruiz reads a letter from Mexico's Zapatista Army for National Liberation in support of Leonard Peltier.
Peltier is a Native American activist who went to prison more than three decades ago for the murder of FBI agents.
Ruiz — who was a student at Harvard Medical School at the time — objected to the tactic, saying there’s a “difference between disagreeing and character assassination.”
Pundits say the race is a toss-up. Bono Mack is an eight-term incumbent.