Catherine Cortez Masto is Harry Reid’s hand-picked successor to his Senate seat. Her campaign will receive millions of dollars from Democrat mega-donors between now and Election Day. Click here Support Joe Heck.
Joe Heck and Catherine Cortez Masto offer voters a choice between different types of crimes carried out as a matter of policy. As for me personally, neither of those two are capable of debating me, nor would they represent me, and they would rather not even acknowledge me. The two parties leave me no choice but tax resistance. In this commentary, I explain why you should choose tax resistance as well.
I never thought I would see a day when support for the Bill of Rights would be considered radical, or even “anti-American”. Many people support one part of the Bill of Rights (e.g. the First or Second Amendment), while neglecting or even sabotaging another part. This thinking rests upon the fallacy that rights can be separated and traded, and that man can be fragmented into separate compartments. The government can somehow violate one sphere of a man’s rights, while still leaving the whole of the man intact.
The Bill of Rights is one of the most adroit documents crafted in the history of humankind. It is my contention that every amendment in the Bill of Rights is equally important, with each serving as an important firewall in the defense of liberty.
That we can safely exchange social liberty for economic liberty, or vice versa, is a ruse. In truth, there is an inextricable nexus between social liberty and economic liberty. One implies property rights and the other implies the right to self-ownership.
The right to own and control property and the right to self-ownership is the codification of human rights. There can be no human rights without property rights and the right to self-ownership. The essence of slavery is the deprivation of property rights. Rights are not collective, but belong to each and every individual – black, white, latino, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, gay, heterosexual, asexual.
Theft, arson, vandalism, and fraud have traditionally been considered to be crimes. This is because they violate property rights. Rape, kidnapping, and murder have traditionally been considered to be crimes. This is because they violate the right to self-ownership. Thus we can conclude that any violation of property rights or the right to self-ownership is a crime. If the government enacts and enforces a law that violates property rights or the right to self-ownership, then the government is behaving criminally.
Therefore, as lovers of life and liberty we must support every person’s unmitigated right of self-ownership and property rights. The refrain you might hear is this: “But some people would abuse these rights and harm other people.” What does harm imply? Somebody might violate another person’s property rights, or the right of self-ownership? These rights, absolute and unmitigated, preclude the right of trespass.
Not only are dollars physical pieces of property, but it is through the acquisition of dollars that one achieves a command over property. There is no objective difference between the government taking your cow, or taking your money so that you can’t buy the cow to begin with. Thus we can conclude that taxation can best be summarized as the confiscation of property.
Suppose the government taxed 100% of everything to do with, say, newspapers. How long would newspapers be in business? Without property rights, one can’t have the printing press. Without the printing press, one can’t exercise their First Amendment rights. Without property rights, one can’t eat. If one can’t eat, they can’t live. If one can’t live, they can’t exercise their First Amendment rights. Civil rights are a corollary of property rights. By exercising civil rights, one is also exercising property rights. It’s impossible for the government to encroach upon economic liberty without also encroaching upon social liberty.
As Lysander Spooner distilled what Caesar saliently articulated 2,000 years ago, money and soldiers mutually support one another. With money the state can hire soldiers, and with soldiers the state can steal more money. The first use of money by the state is to hire soldiers to subdue and kill all those who refuse to give the state more money.
The government doesn’t sustain itself by satisfying consumer demands (i.e. earning its income). The government sustains itself with compulsory taxation (i.e. coercion, or the threat of a jailhouse and bayonet). This is why problems inhere with everything the government inserts itself into. Joe Heck doesn’t understand this, as he believes the VA can be fixed by hiring more people. He hasn’t figured out that injecting healthy cells into a diseased patient will not cure the patient.
When it comes to the government, the consumer has no ability to punish misfeasance by taking their money elsewhere. That’s why the only reliable quality control mechanism is having to meet a profit and loss test on the free market. The problem is the nature of government itself.
Libertarians recognize taxation for what it is: the confiscation of property through force. But not only that, taxation is used to empower the state even further. Paying taxes is tantamount to placing a sword into the hands of a monster. If taxes are the price of freedom, then why is there an inverse relationship between the amount of taxes paid and the amount freedom we have? For this reason, all lovers of life and goodness should despise taxation.
The Declaration of Independence makes clear that when a government becomes destructive to the ends of liberty, we have a right to alter or even abolish that government. How do we have the right to abolish the government if we don’t have the right to cease rendering that same government aid through compulsory taxation? Politicians have no natural right to rule over us, nor does that government in Washington have any natural right to exist.
You say that we all must pay our “fair” share of taxes. The exact inverse of paying taxes isn’t not paying taxes (i.e. being a non-taxpayer). The exact inverse of paying taxes is consuming taxes (i.e. being a tax consumer). As John Calhoun explained with the taxpayer-tax consumer dichotomy, for every dime in taxes paid by one person that’s a dime of tax consumption by another person. Government employees pay no taxes at all. That they do is a bookkeeping fiction. They are, in fact, tax consumers.
When the government imposes a tax this inevitably divides the community up into two distinct groups: taxpayers and tax consumers. If everybody paid taxes, then that would mean nobody is a tax consumer. If nobody were a tax consumer, then that would mean the government isn’t spending any money. If the government isn’t spending any money, then that would make it an incorporeal entity that exists only on paper. To the contrary, government spending has been metastasizing. This means there’s actually a much smaller tax base carrying a much bigger burden for a larger subsidy base. The entire process of taxing and spending creates tax consumers. It’s impossible to be a taxpayer with revenue derived from taxation.
Joe Heck and Catherine Cortez Masto do not pay taxes. They are, in fact, tax consumers who seek to expand the tax consumer class (i.e. the subsidy base). They both endorse turning others into tax consumers (e.g. prosecutors who themselves pay no taxes) to carry out acts of violence against those who merely wish to remain free without having to aid and abet such violence.
Because of everything above, I have concluded the best thing I can do for my country is to kick off a tax revolt. Forget about Clinton. Forget about Trump. Forget about the nastiness and the violence. It’s time to stand for peace. It’s time to vote with our dollars by kicking off a tax revolt. I invite you to join with me in getting the tax revolt started.
Nevada conservative Sharron Angle says she’s trying to determine if she could raise enough money to run for the U.S. Senate again, a move that could throw a wrench in Republicans’ hopes to claim Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s soon-to-be-vacant seat.
The tea party darling won the Republican nomination in a divisive three-way primary in 2010, then lost to Reid in the general election, 50 percent to 45 percent.
Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck and former Democratic Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto currently are vying to replace Reid.
Angle said during a taping of KRNV-TV’s “Nevada Newsmakers” on Thursday she’s excited that two state GOP lawmakers — Sen. Don Gustavson of Sparks and Assemblyman Brent Jones of Las Vegas — have launched the “Run Sharron Angle for Senate Committee.”
She said she hasn’t decided whether to enter the race and didn’t indicate if she might run as a Republican or a third-party candidate.
“If you look on the website, you see I’m looking for that support,” Angle said. “I need to know that people want me to run and that, of course, translates into dollars and cents.”
For Immediate Release
February 11, 2016
Contact: (702) 530-3482, Press@CatherineCortezMasto.com
Las Vegas, NV – Today, along side Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards and former Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, former Nevada Attorney General and Democratic candidate for United States Senate Catherine Cortez Masto endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in Las Vegas. The endorsement comes nine days before Nevada’s February 20th First in the West Presidential Caucuses. After the endorsement, Cortez Masto released the following statement:
“I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for President because she is the champion Nevadans need fighting for us in the White House. Hillary is committed to ensuring middle class families are able to get ahead and stay ahead. She knows that we cannot sustain an economy where people at the top continue to prosper while wages for working families continue to flatline. And while too many in Washington are focused on ideological battles to defund Planned Parenthood, Hillary will focus on what Nevadans want: comprehensive immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work, and preserving a woman’s access to basic, affordable – and at times life saving – health care.
“When she launched her candidacy for President, Hillary came to Nevada and immediately focused on comprehensive immigration reform – highlighting an issue that is a centerpiece of her campaign – and an issue that is deeply personal for me. My grandfather emigrated here from Chihuahua, Mexico, and because of his hard work – and the hard work of my parents – my sister and I were the first in our family to graduate from college. Everyone should have that opportunity to succeed – here in Nevada and across the country.
“In the Senate, I hope to work with President Hillary Clinton and members of both Parties to solve problems like a broken immigration system, paycheck discrimination, and stagnant wages. In contrast, my opponent, Congressman Heck, is part of the problem in Washington. Congressman Heck opposes comprehensive immigration reform, opposes a woman’s right to choose, voted multiple times to defund Planned Parenthood, and voted three times against ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work. I’m running for Senate to solve problems, and I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton because unlike many Republicans in Washington, she is committed to solving the challenges Nevada families face.”
Getting a raise as an elected official has to be a tough balancing act.
This is especially the case in Nevada, where the state Constitution historically prohibited salary raises for any legislator or the state’s six executive officers, except through an act of the state Legislature. That meant even reasonable requests to update compensation could fall victim to political gamesmanship.
It’s also why, on the same day that former Democratic attorney general and current Nevada Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto addressed a union-backed summit on raising the minimum wage earlier in January, the National Republican Senatorial Committee pounced.
The advocacy group unloaded on the candidate for the “shameless hypocrisy” in accepting a pay raise in 2011 while other officials refused in order to support state workers with mandated furloughs and frozen pay.
Here’s what the NRSC said in full:
“In addition to frozen salaries, workers dealt with furloughs that further cut into their take-home pay. Then-Attorney General Cortez Masto accepted a taxpayer-funded 6 percent pay raise, increasing her salary from $133,000 to $141,086 annually – even as other Nevada elected officials declined the salary hike.”
Because these allegations make Cortez Masto look oblivious to state workers who faced years of furloughs and frozen pay, we wanted to take a closer look at the NRSC’s claim.
Making sense of the salary formula can be rather complex for each of Nevada’s six independently elected constitutional officers (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and controller). Historically, Nevada’s Constitution required the part-time state Legislature to make any salary adjustment for the state’s six constitutional officers.
Although the cost of living has slightly increased since Nevada became a state in 1864, any request to increase salaries often turned political, especially when legislative majorities and constitutional officers belonged to different parties.
And so in 2005, lawmakers attempted to avoid that pitfall by including a clause to anotherwise routine salary increase bill for state executive officers that changed the process significantly. Under the new law, state employee pay increases over a four-year period would then be added as an equivalent salary increase for the six executive officers, applying for the next four-year term.
This well-intentioned plan proceeded to backfire spectacularly.
After state employees received a 2 percent salary increase in 2007 and a 4 percent increase in 2008, the economies of the nation and Nevada tanked. With unemployment rates hitting record highs and state lawmakers approving “more than $1 billion in cuts to worker salaries and state programs” to close the state’s gaping budget hole, legislators entered the 2011 session with a problem: an unwanted but legislatively mandated 6 percent pay raise.
Lawmakers rejected an attempt to delay the mandatory raise, and because the state Constitution prevents meddling with the salaries of elected officials while in office, the six constitutional officers and the 63 members of the Legislature were essentially forced to take an untimely pay bump while most state employees were forced to take an unpaid furlough.
This is where the NRSC allegations come into play. Gov. Brian Sandoval “rejected” the pay raise and returned it to the state, while Cortez Masto and then-Controller Kim Wallin (both Democrats) decided to accept the pay increase.
But there is a huge caveat: Cortez Masto, along with the other five constitutional officers, donated a small portion of their salary both before and after 2011 back to the state as a show of support for state employees forced to take unpaid days off. Both Sandoval and Cortez Masto actually gave back money to the state; they just gave it back in different ways.
According to information collected from TransparentNevada.com and records request from the state Controller’s office, PolitiFact Nevada put together this spreadsheet of salaries, donations and what percentage of salary was donated back to the state.
As shown, it’s clear that as Attorney General, Cortez Masto didn’t “pad her pockets” while state workers suffered — rather, she received essentially the same salary (not counting benefits) during her eight years in office when donations are subtracted out.
And due to quirky provisions in Nevada law, the constitutional officers couldn’t outright reject the pay increase, meaning that the governor and other constitutional officers who “rejected” the pay increase had to find creative ways to re-distribute the new income, including cutting weekly checks to nonprofits, that made up the difference.
In response to inquiries about the allegations, Nevada Democratic Party communications director Zach Hudson said in a statement that the facts were being distorted.
“The fact is that as Attorney General, when state workers were furloughed, Catherine Cortez Masto stood with them and voluntarily donated tens of thousands of dollars of her salary back to the taxpayers,” he said in a statement.
The NRSC cited two articles backing up their statement, an editorial in the Elko Daily Free Press and a story in the Las Vegas Sun that claimed that Masto and others “are going to keep the 6 percent pay raise.” That may have been what it seemed like at the time of the reports, but Cortez Masto did give an average of 6.3 percent of her salary back every year, which is comparable to others who “rejected” the pay increase.
The NRSC said Cortez Masto “was happy to line her own pockets with taxpayer dollars when state employees were slammed with frozen salaries,” but this is a highly misleading claim. The state increased Cortez Masto’s salary during a time of pay freezes for Nevada’s state workers. She was unable to legally reject the pay increase, so she donated $38,000 back to the state during her last four years in office. We rate the claim Mostly False.
JStreetPAC put out a call to raise money for Catherine Cortez Masto’s U.S. Senate campaign and has bundled upward of $15,000.
The group is pro-Israel and favors the Nevada Democrat’s approach to national security. That includes her support of the Iran deal, which is intended to prevent that Middle East country from developing a nuclear weapon.
It’s an early signal that national security will be a big issue for both sides of the hotly contested race.
Cortez Masto supports the deal, and has said supporting it is the “best way” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and would block the nuclear program for at least 15 years. Nevada’s U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican candidate for the Senate seat, has called the deal uneforceable.
January 22, 2016 11:00 am
As she stays quiet on the law, Masto’s husband, a former Secret Service officer who runs a private security firm in Las Vegas, provides security for two medical marijuana businesses.
Masto’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for clarification on her position on recently passed Nevada legislation legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
Masto, Nevada’s attorney general from 2007 to 2015, voted against the successful 2000 ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana.
She said during her 2006 campaign for attorney general that she would “support and enforce that law if it’s ever challenged” despite her personal opposition.
Though medical marijuana has technically been legal in Nevada since 2001, the state legislature only passed a law in 2013 regulating its sale, and hence making it publicly available.
Masto was a member of a legislative working group that came out against that measure in 2013, but she did not stake out a position in an individual capacity.
Masto admitted in 2005 that she “tried marijuana once or twice at parties” when she was young, but later said, “as a prosecutor and somebody who prosecuted drug dealers I saw direct correlation between drug use and other crime.”
She cited that experience in opposing an unsuccessful 2006 ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana in the state. That question is back on the ballot in Nevada this year.
“I do not see a benefit in our state in legalizing marijuana,” Masto said of recreational legalization in 2006.
However, she is seeing some benefits in the state’s legalization of medical marijuana. Her husband Paul Masto is a security adviser for GreenMart, an umbrella group of medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona, where medical marijuana is already legal.
He is listed as the security director of another company, Silver Leaf Farms, according to business licenses filed with the state.
Paul Masto, a former Secret Service agent, is the president and CEO of Universal Security Specialists. He and his wife brought in “over $1,000” in income from the business last year, according to personal financial disclosure filings.
According to Clark County, Nev., records, GreenMart has a cultivation license, meaning it can grow marijuana for sale to medical dispensaries. Silver Leaf has cultivation and production licenses, allowing it to grow and produce edible marijuana products.
While Cortez Masto is considered by some to be Reid’s handpicked heir apparent, Joe Heck is taking a hit-the-ground-running approach. He was in Reno meeting with the Chamber of Commerce about the economy, jobs and the future on Friday.
See the video here: http://www.ktvn.com/story/30980522/the-race-to-replace-harry-reid
“We’ve been across the state a couple of times already,” he told me. “It’s the only way to really hear what is important to the voters. And it’s a great way to meet them all,” he said.
To Heck, national security, education, the economy and healthcare are the biggest concerns and he says he’s concentrating on them.
On the other hand, Catherine Cortez Masto is fighting for lower taxes higher wages and more trade. And while issues are a big part of the race, money may be the deciding factor. And at last check, Heck was ahead on that.
According to the Federal Election Commission at last check Heck had $2.3 million in the campaign coffers. Cortez Masto had $1.3 million.
That website will be updated to include the numbers from the fourth quarter of 2015 in a few days.
“It’s tough going up against Harry Reid’s machine,” Heck said. “He’s calling in every favor marker and chip he’s accumulated over 30 years to try and ensure that this district stays Democratic as a part of his legacy. But we are getting a great response from people all across the state and that shows us we absolutely can with this.”
Calls to Cortez Masto’s campaign about campaigning and money were not returned.
And there is a third candidate in the race. Dr. Bill Tarbell is running as a Republican. Calls to his campaign were not returned either. But according to BallotPedia his campaign has currently raised $5,910.
President Obama last week signed the new military spending bill after vetoing the original version.
Military installations in Nevada include Fallon Naval Air Station, Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot, Groom Lake (which is actually a detached section of Edwards Air Force Base in California), Tonopah AFS, Creech AFB Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, and Nellis Air Force Base.
Nevada also has a considerable number of military retirees. It is one of nine states with no income tax, with the result that military retirees’ pensions are not taxed.
Obama vetoed the first version of the bill on Oct. 22. Unable to come up with the votes for an override, the two sides split the differences and passed a second version.
The veto message read in part, “Our defense strategy depends on investing every dollar where it will have the greatest effect. My administration’s proposals will accomplish this through critical reforms that divest unneeded force structure, slow growth in compensation, and reduce wasteful overhead. The restrictions in the bill would require the Department of Defense to retain unnecessary force structure and weapons systems that we cannot afford in today’s fiscal environment, contributing to a military that will be less capable of responding effectively to future challenges.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada, the likely Republican U.S. Senate candidate in 2016, said of the veto, “Now is not the time to put domestic politics ahead of our national defense. We have men and women in uniform serving in every corner of the globe helping us achieve our national defense missions. This bill provides their pay and benefits and gives them the tools they need to keep the United States safe.”
Likely Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Catherine Cortez Masto’s press office did not respond to two requests for comment on the veto.
Nevada’s U.S. Sen. Harry Reid said, “My Democrats, our Democrats have stated without question if it comes time that we sustain a presidential veto, that will be done.”
The measure funded a pay raise for most troops, weapons and other hardware, military aid to Ukraine, and a subtitle devoted to countering Russian actions.
Heck is an army reserve brigadier general and a member of the House Armed Services Committee. His statement further said, “The NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] gives the President every defense dollar he asked for and yet he vetoed it to advance his domestic political agenda. That veto sends a signal that the Commander-in-Chief is not committed to the same mission in which our service members and allies are engaged. The world is too dangerous and our enemies too opportunistic to waver for one minute on approving the funding and authorities the NDAA provides. This veto is irresponsible and I will do my part to find the votes in the House to override it.”
The GOP was unable to muster the votes for an override, but Heck’s claim that the bill gave Obama “every defense dollar he asked for” glosses over the president’s reasons for vetoing. Obama’s concern was not how much was being appropriated, but the way it was being appropriated. He objected to the GOP’s use of an emergency war fund, the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, that shields Pentagon spending from the same budget limits as other military spending. Money sequestered in that fund is not subject to the spending caps created by the Budget Control Act of 2011. It effectively allows the GOP to increase military spending without limits while domestic spending remains limited by the Control Act.
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee has called the OCO fund “nothing more than a Pentagon slush fund that allows the Pentagon to live beyond its means while evading the same sequestration caps that are crippling critical federal programs that support American families.”
Reid said he would stop all budget bills unless Republicans came to the table and negotiated on sequestration.
‘Defense’ dollars keep flowingThe level of military spending was not at issue—both Republicans and Democrats wanted it increased, raising the question of who in Congress speaks for those who want it reduced. Two Republican senators—Rand Paul and Ted Cruz—voted against the bill, joining 23 Democrats.
Newsweek observed, “This is one of those situations where you just have to hope that everyone loses. The good news is that Washington is so dysfunctional that even though the White House, Republicans and most Democrats all support repealing the limits on defense spending, it still might not happen.”
Obama did ask that the increase in spending in the bill be matched with equal spending increases in non-military programs. He objected to language in the original bill that restricted the executive’s ability to transfer Guantanamo prisoners and shut down the prison facility there.
In the end, instead of an override vote, a second bill was passed that sharply reduced funds sequestered in the suspect OCO fund, but the Guantanamo language was kept in place. Obama signed this version. The original bill put a whopping $89.2 billion in the fund, 14 percent of the bill’s total $612 billion expenditure. The second bill hid “only” $8 billion there. The overall size of the bill dropped from $612 billion to $599 billion.
Republicans tried to portray the veto as out of the ordinary, but in fact the annual military spending bill has been vetoed four times over the years, including by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. It was Obama’s fifth veto as president. They also tried to portray it as a case of Obama cutting off funding to U.S. troops, though that would not happen until next year, giving Congress plenty of time to either override or pass a new bill, the choice they took.
Cortez Masto’s silence on the issue plays into a portrait Republican operatives have been trying to paint of her as being unwilling to take positions. GOP news releases since she announced her candidacy have carried titles like this: “So … Has Anyone Heard From Catherine Cortez Masto?” “Catherine Cortez Masto Speaks, Runs Away From Her Own Words.” “Catherine Cortez Masto Ducks, Dodges …” “Rare Footage: Catherine Cortez Masto Speaks To Media.” “The Missing Candidate: Catherine Cortez Masto Officially In Hiding.”
Military personnel serving in Nevada number Army 91, Navy and Marine Corps 1,003, Air Force 6,627.
Another breakdown for Nevada: Active duty military 7,721, Reserve and National Guard 6,514.
The Senate cleared legislation that authorizes $599 billion for the Pentagon and defense-related programs for fiscal 2016, $5 billion less than both the president’s overall request and the original conference agreement. It provides $33 billion of the original $38 billion in added funds for defense, including $8 billion through the Overseas Contingency Operations account. The measure authorizes $715 million for Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State, $406 million to train and equip Syrian opposition forces and $300 million for lethal weapons for Ukraine. It modifies the military retirement system, blocks the Pentagon from retiring the A-10 Warthog aircraft and authorizes $11 billion for the F-35 Fighter.
The push to close the Guantanamo facility and house detainees in American facilities has been a major issue in Washington and has been forcefully criticized by lawmakers.
Congress will use every tool in its toolbox to block the White House from unilaterally closing the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned on Thursday. A day after the White House refused to rule out acting along to close the controversial facility, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said that it was ‘disgraceful’ that the administration would sidestep Capitol Hill.
Catherine Cortez Masto’s political mentor Harry Reid has been a vocal supporter of removing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay:
My own personal opinion, Guantanamo has been there far too long, and I think that we should get them out of there as quickly as we can.
But Cortez Masto, the candidate of perpetual silence, has offered nothing. Until now. The NRSC has obtained exclusive audio of Cortez Masto’s position on Guantanamo. The leak promises to break the race wide open:
We look forward to the candidate’s continued lack of commitment to speaking out on behalf of Nevada families
WASHINGTON – An enterprising TV camera managed to track down Catherine Cortez Masto at local Democrat headquarters yesterday and produced the rare footage below.
For those keeping track, this is the second interview Cortez Masto has done since announcing her candidacy…seven months ago.
And much like her last public appearance in mid-September, Cortez Masto stepped in it again – this time attacking her own absentee campaign strategy of avoiding voters and reporters at all costs.
“I think if you’re running for office in this state, then you should be out, involved in everything that’s happening in the community, be able to talk to people. You know it’s not just the political events you go to, or the dinners, it’s actually getting out and talking people one-on-one and letting them see you and get to know you personally.”
While Cortez Masto is admirably criticizing her own chronic disability to answer questions about important issues, the missing candidate hasn’t exactly been an open book. Her own website reveals she has failed to take a position on a number of issues that have been debated in Washington in recent weeks, including:
- President Obama’s veto of funding for the Department of Defense
- The budget agreement
- Landmark cybersecurity legislation
- The Obama administration’s latest EPA regulations
- Massive Obamacare rate hikes
And that’s just in the last few weeks. Let’s not forget about Cortez Masto’s absentee status on other important issues:
- It took nearly two months for her to commit to a position on the Iran nuclear deal.
- She was repeatedly unable to answer questions about which elements of the deal she finds concerning.
- She won’t say whether she’s supporting Hillary Clinton.
Here’s hoping Catherine Cortez Masto takes her own advice and actually, you know, starts talking to people at some point.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee unveiled a new televised ad targeting Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Nevada. The ad will begin airing in the Las Vegas and Reno media markets next week.
The TV-spot specifically takes aim at the former Nevada attorney general’s support for the Obama administration’s deal with Iran, and shows Cortez Masto, juxtaposed with images of people chanting “death to America” and a large explosion accompanied by a mushroom cloud.
“After hiding from the issue for months, Cortez Masto finally announced her support for President Obama’s nuclear capitulation to Iran, a state sponsor of terror,” said Greg Blair, NRSC spokesman, in a statement. “Poll after poll after poll shows that Cortez Masto’s support for the Obama-Reid agenda puts her firmly on the wrong side of the American people.”
The ad’s debut in the Silver State will coincide with the first Democratic presidential debate happening in Las Vegas. Cortez Masto is former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s handpicked successor, while the Republican opponent looks likely to be Rep. Joe Heck, an Iraq war veteran and physician whose congressional district includes parts of Las Vegas. The 2016 Nevada Senate race appears to be a dead heat and could become crucial to Republican efforts to maintain their majority in the Senate. The state’s senatorial campaigns could set the stage for the rough-and-tumble presidential contest, too.
The say-nothing, do-nothing candidate made her last public appearance three weeks ago on Ralston Live, where she endorsed Obamacare and offered a lackluster defense of her support for Obama’s Iran deal.
A quick look at Cortez Masto’s website shows her last public statement was issued over a month ago. And – you might have seen this coming – it was about the Iran nuclear deal, a topic she avoided addressing for nearly two months.
On issue after issue, Catherine Cortez Masto continues to avoid Nevada voters. Is she doing everything she can to hide her rubber-stamp support for the Obama-Reid agenda? Or is Harry Reid’s handpicked candidate just not ready for primetime?
Cortez Masto Said She’d Take A Position On Iran In The ‘Coming Days’ – And Was Silent For Nearly Two Months: “In Nevada, meanwhile, Catherine Cortez Masto — a candidate endorsed by outgoing Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — put out an early statement on the deal, but then went silent. Asked about where she stood, Cortez Masto’s campaign referred back to her July statement, which was released the day the Iran deal was announced.” (Jordain Carney, “Dem Candidates Mum On Iran Deal,” The Hill, 8/21/15)
Former Nev. AG Masto will be in tight race for Reid seat; ATRA expects her to be ‘beholden’ to plaintiffs bar
“Catherine Cortez Masto has made protecting Nevada families and consumers her life’s work, and she is the strongest candidate to keep this Senate seat in Democratic hands and continue Harry Reid’s legacy of fighting for Nevada’s best interests,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., chairman of the DSCC, in a statement following her announcement.
The DSCC endorsement means Cortez Masto will likely avoid facing the state’s other top Democrats, including Rep. Dina Titus, in a primary. She can instead focus on her highly-anticipated fight with the Republican frontrunner, Rep. Joe Heck, who has more than three decades in public service as a physician and Army Reservist.
Cortez Masto could not be reached for comment for this article.
If successful, Cortez Masto would be the first Hispanic woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Cortez Masto served as an assistant county manager for Clark County, Nev., a federal criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., and the chief of staff to Nevada Gov. Bob Miller before she was elected attorney general in 2006.
Tray Abney, director of government relations at Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, contends that this experience could help Cortez Masto overcome Heck in the election.
“Sen. Reid found a great candidate,” Abney said. “She has a law enforcement background. She is female, Hispanic, younger, moderate and a well-spoken person.”
In her two campaigns for attorney general, Cortez Masto also received generous support from private lawyers. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, she received 249 contributions from lawyers and lobbyists, for a total of $255,795. That group’s contributions were second only to the $431,078 she received from the gambling industry.
Cortez Masto has been questioned over her close relationship with private lawyers in past years, which could also affect her Senate run. In one high-profile case, she accused Lender Processing Services of consumer fraud and engaging in an illegal “robosigning” scheme. She hired law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll to sue the company for allegedly violating state consumer-protection laws in 2011.
LPS asked the Nevada Supreme Court to nullify Cortez Masto’s agreement with the private law firm. In January 2014, while the challenge was pending, Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered Cortez Masto to pay legal and discovery costs to LPS after failing to produce evidence that supported her lawsuit.
Cortez Masto settled the case the following month – and avoided paying the sanctions – but some leaders in the legal community, such as Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association, say similar issues could surface if she is elected to the Senate.
“Former Attorney General Masto showed herself in that capacity to be beholden to class-action personal injury lawyers, putting their interests ahead of the public interest,” Joyce said. “There’s no reason to believe that Senator Masto would behave differently.”
According to ATRA, Cortez Masto also hired plaintiff’s law firms to sue Pfizer Inc. over allegations that the company withheld safety information about its postmenopausal hormone therapy medications. After the district court considered sanctioning Cortez Masto for failing to produce evidence, and the Nevada Supreme Court was asked to decide whether she violated state law, the case settled in November 2014.
As part of the agreement, Pfizer made an $8 million donation to the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the University Medical Center to support the development of programs affecting women’s health issues. Pfizer was also responsible for paying $1.5 million to the state for court costs.
Abney also points out that her late father, Manny Cortez, was the president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and well-known in “southern Nevada circles.” Because of that, he says, voters may view her as the “home-grown” candidate.
However, Abney says, even though Heck struggles with statewide name recognition, his medical, military and congressional records could also appeal to Nevada voters.
“You’re looking at a great matchup,” Abney said. “It is going to be a huge race, if not the top Senate race in the nation.”
“Republicans want to see Sen. Reid’s seat go to a Republication,” Abney added. “If it was 2014, when Democrats didn’t show up, you could give it to Heck. But given that national Democrats will take this personally, and it’s a presidential election year, you will see more effort from them.”
David Damore, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, agrees that national Democrats, particularly presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, will bolster Cortez Masto’s chances of securing the Senate seat.
“She should be the beneficiary of what Clinton is building here, and she will help Hillary with the Latino community,” Damore said. “She’s obviously got Obama, who was at a fundraiser a few nights ago, so right now, she is building up her organization.”
However, Damore adds, the real “wild card” for both candidates will be the size of the Latino electorate.
“If they can get that to 19 to 20 percent, it will be very tough for a Republication to win here,” he said. “They mobilize that community, and get crossover white, suburban, women voters, that’s all they will need. That’s basically their strategy.”
The liberal website ranks Nevada as one of just four too-close-to-call Senate races in the 2016 election, posing the same question about its outgoing Democratic senator that many political insiders have: “Did Harry Reid’s retirement leave the Democrats worse off, because he’s a legendarily formidable campaigner and fundraiser? Or are they actually better off, since Nevadans have only soured on him further since his remarkable Houdini act in 2010?”
Cortez Masto, the former Attorney General, has raised significant funds in the early months of the race and would be the first Latina elected to the body. Heck, a two-term GOP representative and Army brigadier general, enjoys broad backing among Republicans.
It all makes for a tight race. According to the Daily Kos: “Democrats should be able to keep this seat if their presidential standard-bearer carries the state, but Nevada can prove disappointingly soft.”
WASHINGTON – More intra-party battles ahead for Democrats.
After a humiliating episode that required her to disinvite a well-known terrorist sympathizer from a fundraiser, Catherine Cortez Masto’s campaign has fallen further into disarray. Cortez Masto is now under fire from prominent Hispanic Democrats, with one Congressman calling her “uninformed.”
They were uninformed, and I want to say uninformed, because if you are running for the Senate of the United States you should know about the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States…I was surprised that the candidate would not know the issue…but most importantly that she would allow her campaign manager to make strong comments about an issue they obviously know very little about. – Congressman Jose Serrano
The fundraiser debacle has led establishment Democrats to drop their support for Cortez Masto, with two insiders demanding to have their names disassociated with the campaign:
- “Former ambassador Julissa Reynoso and Luis Miranda — a Democratic political consultant who served as special advisor for Hispanic Affairs to former Mayor Ed Koch — have both requested to be removed from the fundraiser invitation, according to sources.” (Gloria Pazmino, “Mark-Viverito Allies Pull Out Of Senate Fundraiser,” Politico, 9/14/15)
The latest development in Catherine Cortez Masto’s attempt to raise money with a terrorist sympathizer is just another sign that Harry Reid’s handpicked candidate isn’t ready for primetime. It’s hardly surprising considering Cortez Masto refuses to even answer questions about the most important issues facing Nevada families – but the attacks from fellow Democrats raise a red flag about her candidacy.
Catherine Cortez Masto Was Forced To Disinvite A Prominent Terrorism Apologist From Headlining Her Fundraiser: “Catherine Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general who is running for the U.S. Senate, has disinvited City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito from a fundraiser for her campaign, because of the speaker’s support for a Puerto Rican nationalist imprisoned for seditious conspiracy… Mark-Viverito supports the release of Oscar López Rivera, a member of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) in Puerto Rico, who was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison for conspiracy to transport explosives with intent to destroy government property, among other charges, in the 1980s.” (Gloria Pazmino, “Senate Candidate Disinvites Mark-Viverito From Fundraiser,” Politico New York, 9/9/15)
Mark-Viverito marched in 58th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade wearing a “Free Oscar Lopez Rivera Now!” T-shirt.
By GLORIA PAZMINO 6:14 p.m. | Sep. 9, 2015 follow this reporter
Catherine Cortez Masto, a former corrupt Nevada attorney general who is running for the U.S. Senate, has disinvited City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito from a fundraiser for her campaign, because of the speaker’s support for a Puerto Rican nationalist imprisoned for seditious conspiracy.
A day after POLITICO New York reported Mark-Viverito planned to headline a fundraiser later this month for Cortez Masto, a Democrat running to succeed Senate minority leader Harry Reid, Cortez Masto’s campaign told POLITICO New York that Mark-Viverito is no longer invited to the event, and her campaign will not accept any contributions from the speaker.
“After learning of Speaker Mark-Viverito’s support of clemency for a convicted terrorist, our campaign felt it necessary to immediately cut all ties between the Speaker and the campaign,” Scott Fairchild, manager for the Cortez Masto campaign, said in statement.
Mark-Viverito supports the release of Oscar López Rivera, a member of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) in Puerto Rico, who was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison for conspiracy to transport explosives with intent to destroy government property, among other charges, in the 1980s. Human rights advocates and political supporters have demanded Rivera’s liberation, saying he is being held for his political beliefs.
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President Bill Clinton offered clemency to Rivera in 1999 but he rejected the offer due to some conditions of the deal, which would have required him to remain on parole and for his group to denounce the use of terrorism.
“As Nevada’s former top law enforcement officer, Catherine Cortez Masto would never support clemency for a convicted and unrepentant terrorist. Oscar Lopez Rivera is a terrorist who deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison, not be granted clemency for crimes for which he refuses to apologize,” Fairchild said.
Last year, Mark-Viverito dedicated the city’s Puerto Rican Day Parade to the jailed nationalist, after the parade board named her grand marshal and has called for his release on several occasions, most recently joining a march to demand his release.
Mark-Viverito is not the only elected official to have called for the controversial figure’s release, and Cortez Masto’s gesture may put her at odds with other prominent Latino lawmakers, including Rep. Nydia Velasquez and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez from Illinois, as well as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which recently sent President Barack Obama a letter in support of Rivera’s release.
Cortez Masto would be the first Latina elected to the Senate, and a campaign official told POLITICO New York the decision had nothing to do with Puerto Rico and that it was not about Latinos, but rather Rivera’s convictions and what the campaign considers to be Rivera’s terrorist acts.
In a statement, Pedro Julio Serrano, a spokesman for Mark-Viverito, did not directly address the fundraiser, but said, “the Speaker holds the same position on Oscar Lopez Rivera as numerous Members of Congress and elected officials all over the country, community activists and faith leaders from across the spectrum.”
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto has come out in favor of the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The former Nevada attorney general announced her position on Thursday, after what she described as countless hours talking with experts and reading opinions about the deal.
She said she’s concluded that the agreement will do more to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon than the status quo.
Masto’s position is opposite of her Republican opponent Rep. Joe Heck, who said he does not support the deal. Heck said Wednesday that he doesn’t trust Iran to cooperate with the terms, and doesn’t believe the Obama administration would act if Iran broke its promises.
Heck and Masto are vying for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s seat in what’s expected to be a close contest.
Senate hopeful Catherine Cortez Masto really, really doesn’t want to say anything about the Iran deal
Why Harry Reid Needed to Announce Iran Deal Support When He Did
Posted at 8:13 a.m. on Aug. 24, 2015
When Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Sunday he would support the international nuclear agreement with Iran and work to ensure it survives a GOP-led disapproval effort, the Nevada Democrat avoided what could have been an awkward Monday.
Reid is hosting dignitaries at his National Clean Energy Summit at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The list of speakers is headlined by President Barack Obama, as well as Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz — a key U.S. negotiator on the Iran deal. After the event, Obama and Reid are scheduled to attend a Democratic fundraiser to benefit former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democrat with Reid’s backing to succeed him in 2017.
“This nuclear agreement is consistent with the greatest traditions of American leadership. I will do everything in my power to support this agreement and ensure that America holds up our end of the commitment we have made to our allies and the world to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran,” Reid said in a statement. “I will vote no on the resolution of disapproval and urge my colleagues to do the same.”
The Nevada Democrat told the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal last week he was talking to supporters in his home state before he would announce a position on the agreement.
“I have had several of them and they are very important to me because I want people who have been so good to me for so many years to have the opportunity to talk with me — person-to-person — and not on the telephone. So I am doing that,” Reid told the Reno paper.
In announcing his support for the Iran deal in an interview with The Washington Post, Reid said he had been privately supportive of the agreement for a while. He also said the “vote of conscience” against the Obama administration on the result of the international negotiations would not harm the standing of Sen. Charles E. Schumer. The New York lawmaker is still firmly in line to succeed Reid as Democratic leader.
Reid’s announcement brings the number of Senate Democratic Conference members supporting the agreement to 27. The president needs at least 34 senators in his corner to sustain a veto.
For Obama, getting Reid’s backing on record before Air Force One is wheels up to Las Vegas for the energy summit and a fundraiser for the Nevada State Democratic Party eliminates the possibility of the president’s message being subsumed by speculation about Reid and Iran.
The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call race ratings list the contest to replace Reid as a tossup, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been hammering the Reid-backed Cortez Masto to take a position on the agreement with Iran.
“Catherine Cortez Masto has nothing to offer but silence on a nuclear deal that threatens our national security,” NRSC spokesman Greg Blair said in an Aug. 20 statement. “Either she’s waiting for marching orders from Harry Reid or she’s refusing to come clean with Nevadans about where she stands.”
When Nevadans vote next year for their U.S. senator, Harry Reid’s name won’t appear on the ballot for the first time in three decades. But even though the powerful and polarizing Senate minority leader is retiring, that doesn’t mean he won’t have a role in in, and impact on, next year’s election.
The first indication of Reid’s effect on the contest to replace him came within hours of his official retirement announcement in March. In an interview with Nevada public radio, the five-term senator said he had talked to former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and encouraged her to run for his seat.
“If she runs, I’m going to help her,” he said. “Whoever runs against Catherine will be a loser.”
Less than two weeks later, Cortez Masto officially announced her candidacy. She is no newcomer to statewide politics, having spent eight years as attorney general, finishing her tenure at the start of 2015.
Despite her early announcement in April, it took several months before she had an opponent. After significant speculation about who might run against her, Republicans landed a top candidate in three-term Congressman Joe Heck, who announced his decision in early July. A physician, Iraq War veteran and brigadier general in the Army Reserves, Heck won a sweeping re-election in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District last year.
Both he and Cortez Masto are seen as strong, if cautious, lower-profile candidates by those within Nevada politics, and their race is expected to be hard fought, close and extremely expensive. It will also have important national implications.
Republicans see Nevada and Colorado as their two best opportunities to flip a Democratic Senate seat, and there have been significant problems in the search for a candidate in Colorado. Democrats, on the other hand, are attempting to flip seats in a number of swing states and win back control of the upper chamber, where the GOP currently holds the majority with 54 seats. A loss in Nevada would be a serious blow to their chances.
Those high stakes, coupled with Nevada’s importance in the 2016 presidential race – both as an early primary proving ground and as a key swing state in the general election – mean the Silver State will be crucial to both parties next year. And critical to the strategies of both Senate campaigns will be the man they are seeking to replace.
Reid as a Fundraising Tool
Heck’s campaign wasted little time in crafting the message that he was the right man to replace Reid in the Senate. In late July and early August, his team sent out five fundraising emails attacking the Democratic leader – with subject lines such as “Replace Harry Reid / Undo his legacy” and “Harry Reid – PAYBACK.” None of his fundraising emails have even named his actual opponent, Cortez Masto. In fact, one email that referenced a Nevada visit on Monday by President Obama to raise funds for Cortez Masto referred to her simply as “Harry Reid’s handpicked successor.” Robert Uithoven, a state-based Republican strategist, called the strategy a “very smart play.”
“Harry Reid’s name ID in Nevada is near 100 percent and hers is not, so I think Joe Heck is playing it smart by not giving her the free name ID boost right now,” Uithoven told RealClearPolitics.
Several sources tell RCP that Heck mentions Reid in nearly every speech on the campaign trail. Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said he expects that strategy to continue for the next 15 months.
“I think you’ll watch the campaign and the ads and think Harry Reid is running for re-election,” Herzik said. Cortez Masto, he continued, “is going to, and already has been, deemed … a shadow Harry Reid.”
Democrats, for the most part, have brushed off this message in fundraising pitches, saying that attacking Reid is par for the course for Republicans in Nevada. They also argued that Heck’s decision to almost entirely ignore his opponent is a sign that Cortez Masto will be difficult to attack given her successful tenure as the state’s top law enforcement official.
“As far as Congressman Heck attacking Harry Reid, I think that’s a prerequisite to being a Republican in Nevada. You have to do that and I don’t think it’s going to matter all that much,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “He’s their favorite punching bag, but he can take it. It’s never worked yet.”
Reid is not likely to spend much time on the campaign trail backing the woman he hopes will succeed him. Though he won five consecutive elections – including several that many political observers expected him to lose – Reid has a very high unfavorable rating among state voters, and isn’t seen as a fiery campaigner. Instead, he’s a wily strategist and commands a vast network of supporters, donors and activists who will be crucial to Cortez Masto.
“From a process standpoint, it helps her tremendously,” said Andres Ramirez, a Democratic consultant in Nevada who knows Cortez Masto but is not affiliated with her campaign. “Campaigns require resources and candidates need to be able to raise money to be able to mount a credible campaign, so the fact that Reid is able to throw his name behind her and contact his donors and say here’s the candidate I’d like you to support, it makes it easier for her to break into that network.”
It was that activist network – known to many in Nevada as the “Reid Machine” – that helped him pull off a very difficult re-election campaign in 2010, when he was the majority leader in the Senate and many predicted he would lose. That network will be crucial to Cortez Masto’s fundraising in what may be one of the most expensive races in the country (a combined $50 million-plus was spent on the 2010 race). Also, her operation has strong links to Reid, including Scott Fairchild, Cortez Masto’s campaign manager, who was in line to be Reid’s campaign manager had he sought a sixth term, according to veteran Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston.
“There is an intertwining there that is unmistakable and there is no question that Harry Reid is helping her raise money,” Ralston told RCP.
Neither Cortez Masto’s campaign, nor Heck’s, returned multiple requests for comment. Reid’s office declined to comment for this story.
The Importance of Reid’s Seat
Beyond both campaigns’ strategic need to utilize Reid in their election strategies, there are strong emotions attached to the outcome of this race. Democrats, and Reid in particular, do not want to see the seat he has held since the late 1980s turn over to Republicans. Reid is seen as the leader of the Democratic Party in Nevada and much of the party’s infrastructure exists thanks to his efforts. It would be a blow to his legacy to have a Republican succeed him, particularly since a Republican, Dean Heller, won the Silver State’s other Senate seat in 2012 (he had been appointed to replace John Ensign, who stepped down amid scandal, the previous year).
“I don’t think he wants his legacy to be two Republican senators from Nevada,” said David Damore, a political science professor from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Across the aisle, however, there is deep-seeded animosity toward Reid both in the state and nationwide. Republicans saw 2010 as a missed opportunity to boot him from office, and would relish the idea of beating the person he supports and flipping his seat.
For Heck, the motivation may be personal. He was elected as a state senator in 2004 and served for four years before being ousted in 2008. Several Nevada political observers told RCP that Reid and his Democratic machine were actively involved in that defeat for two reasons: first, because they wanted to take as much advantage of the 2008 presidential election as possible and create a Democratic wave. Second, because Heck represented a potential challenger to Reid in 2010.
“Heck’s defeat is slightly perplexing. They came after him very harshly,” said one Nevada GOP strategist who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly. “The Reid machine has always [played] the long game, so taking out somebody like Heck early on probably always factored into their plans.”
Several sources attributed Heck’s loss in that race almost entirely to Reid and the Obama wave of 2008, and gave little credit to Heck’s opponent, Shirley Breeden, who won the election by just over 1,000 votes. Ralston described Heck’s opponent as “a cipher … who essentially hid for most of the campaign and won relatively easily because of what Reid’s team did.” Eight years later, Heck has an opportunity to pay Reid back.
“He’s been on the other end, on the losing end of the Harry Reid Democratic machine before, and so I think it’s also a little bit personal for him to try to beat the Harry Reid machine this time around,” Uithoven, the Republican strategist who worked for Heck in the state Senate, told RCP. “I think if Joe Heck is successful in November of next year, he will have been successful in getting a little bit of revenge on Harry Reid.”
Can’t Rely on Reid Alone
Though both campaigns may rely on Reid heavily – Masto for support, Heck for a fundraising focal point – there is a danger to those strategies. Several Nevadans who spoke to RCP questioned whether Reid’s supporters would come out in full force to support Cortez Masto, given that she would lack the power and prestige he had in Washington, thanks to his long tenure and position atop the Democratic caucus. His prominence in the Senate was one of the reasons people donated to him en masse, according to Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada. Lokken said the possibility that Reid’s support network will diminish is a “very clear concern.”
Both Herzik and Ralston pointed to organized labor, a powerful group within Nevada politics, as a key constituency that has backed Reid in high numbers, saying their support will be critical for Cortez Masto to win over.
Ralston asserted that she “can’t just rely on, well, ‘I am inheriting everything from Harry Reid.’ No. She’s … going to have to make the connection with a couple of key constituencies.”
(What’s more, Reid’s strength in his home state has not always been transferrable, even to blood relatives: His son Rory lost his 2010 bid for governor to Brian Sandoval.)
For Heck, while there are numerous advantages to criticizing Reid, there are dangers in overdoing it. Some voters might be turned off by a campaign that focuses its attacks on someone who isn’t running for office.
Ralston told RCP the execution of those attacks will be critical, and that without tying Reid and Cortez Masto together through specific policies, there’s a risk that “you can have the whole thing blow up in your face.” Herzik said this could become particularly problematic if outside groups flood the airwaves with such attacks, causing a backlash.
“You do have to give people a reason to vote for Joe Heck,” he said.
While the GOP standard-bearer is expected to target the senior senator throughout the campaign, several sources said he will need to talk at length about his own background and introduce himself to voters, given that his district covers a geographically small portion of southern Nevada. He must also at some point shift the rhetoric and criticism towards his actual opponent.
With nearly 15 months until Election Day, however, the contest is in its very early stages, and plenty could happen in the coming months to shift the tide or reverse any momentum from one side to the other. Absent a dramatic change, Nevada will likely be one of the most important races in the nation, especially if Democrats appear likely to secure enough victories in other swing states that control of the Senate hinges on the outcome. With the stakes potentially so high, and given his prominence as the de-facto leader of the Democratic Party in the state, Harry Reid’s name will loom large in the race, even if it won’t appear on any ballots.
James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.
Obama and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will hold the dinner the evening of Aug. 24, the same day the president is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.
Cortez Masto is running against Republican Rep. Joe Heck in what is expected to be a highly competitive race.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The two Democrats will join business leaders, politicians, students and other interested parties to discuss renewable resources in America. The summit is in its eighth year and will be held Aug. 24 at the Mandalay Bay Resort.
“I have so much affection and admiration for President Obama and we are thrilled to welcome him to participate in this year’s summit,” Reid said in a statement. “President Obama’s record on clean energy and climate stands above all others. His administration has made the largest investment in clean energy in American history and there is no place better than Nevada to discuss how we will continue this progress.”
The event will also feature Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich.
Obama’s visit is timed during an election year when Reid, the highest-ranking member of the Senate, is not running for reelection. Reid endorsed Catherine Cortez Masto, the former Nevada Attorney General, in April. Cortez Masto will face U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Henderson, in November 2016.
Nevada is the race to watch in 2016: Not only is it Republicans’ best chance of stealing a seat, it’s one of just a few toss-ups that will decide control of the Senate.
Catherine Cortez Masto is running to keep Nevada blue and take back the Senate. Right now, she needs our support.The polls are showing a virtual tie, the other side is already running hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of ads, and Catherine’s Tea Party opponent could spend up to $10 million – ON TOP of all the super PAC money pouring into the state.
We need to raise $10,000 for Catherine by midnight tonight to have the resources to fight back now – and if we wait, it will already be too late. Will you give now to help Catherine keep Nevada blue and take back the Senate?
Catherine is a historic candidate with an incredible record. As Nevada’s attorney general, she has stood up for our progressive values. If elected, she would be the first Latina to serve in the Senate.
But our opponents are determined to take this seat and keep their grip on the Senate. And they’re pulling out all the stops to do it: misleading ads, buckets of dark money spending – the whole nine yards.
Catherine has to be ready to fight back no matter what they throw at her next – and to do that she’s counting on us to raise $10,000 by midnight tonight.
With Harry Reid retiring, it’s critical that we hold on to his seat. Give whatever you can now to help Catherine Cortez Masto keep Nevada blue and take back the Senate.
Pollster Tom Jensen’s analysis notes that Cortez Masto’s numbers have more room to grow, as voters who are currently undecided in the Senate race also supported President Obama by 24 points in 2012 and support Hillary Clinton over Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker by an average of 11 points. These voters are likely Democratic voters in the Senate race next year. Jensen also argues that Clinton’s coattails in Nevada will benefit Cortez Masto significantly in 2016 and should Clinton’s margins hold, “she’s likely to bring Cortez Masto along with her.”
The full polling memo can be read here.
Heck will face former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who was endorsed by Reid in March.
In an interview Monday afternoon in Reno, Heck said he expected Reid’s political team — known as the “Reid Machine” — to be well-oiled in backing Cortez Masto, even though Reid is retiring.
“My opponent is Harry’s hand-picked successor,” Heck said. “I would assume he would not do that if he wasn’t going to be all in for her or whoever the Democratic presidential nominee is.
“So we are planning that this is going to be a very difficult election year in Nevada and that Harry will be very engaged and his machine will be ginned up.”
Heck, 53, has never run a statewide campaign before and plans on giving Northern Nevada some extra attention next month with a five-day trek across the Interstate-80 corridor.
“In August, we’ll do a tour across the northern part of the state where we will go introduce Joe Heck to the voters of Northern Nevada and say look, this is who he is, this is his life story, this is what he has been able to accomplish and this is what he wants to do for you,” Heck said. “And then it is up to the voters to decide.”
Rural Nevada has been the tipping point for victory for many Republican candidates in the past. Doing well in rural Nevada helped propel U.S. Sen Dean Heller, R-Nev., past Democrat Shelley Berkley in 2012 and helped Republican Adam Laxalt nip Democrat Ross Miller for attorney general in 2014.
“We have been around the state previously, as you know, when I was in the state Senate,” Heck said. “I spent time up here so I have contacts. I have friends throughout the state of Nevada.”
Heck said he only began to seriously consider running for the U.S. Senate after Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval announced he was not going to run. Heck said he would not have challenged Sandoval in a GOP primary.
“If the governor said he was in, I would have stayed in the House.”
Heck said he made the decision to run only after a serious kitchen-table discussion with his family.
“The motivation is simple,” Heck said. “When you look at the issues that Nevadans continue to struggle with — getting and keeping a full-time job, getting their child a quality education, affordable health care, raising a family in a secure and safe community — those are issues I’ve spent my life working on.
“So I believe that my life experiences make me ideally situated to answer the concerns that Nevadans are telling me are the most worrisome to them,” Heck said. “And that is why I am running for the U.S. Senate.”
Sandoval and presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took to Twitter on Monday to back Heck, saying he is the best chance to replace Reid.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded to the announcement within minutes, with communications director Justin Barasky saying Heck spent his time in office “catering to insurance companies, big banks and Washington special interests.”
Reid announced in March that he would not seek a sixth term. The decision came after an exercise injury left Reid blind in one eye.
Heck served in the state Senate between 2004 and 2008 and won the congressional seat in 2010, narrowly defeating Dina Titus, now the U.S. representative for Nevada’s 1st District.
He won re-election by big margins in 2012 and 2014, even though Democrats have a slight edge in voter registration in District 3.
Heck has spent more than two decades as an Army reservist, including three active-duty tours and a deployment in Iraq. He’s also the only one-star general in Congress.
Heck was born in New York and moved to Nevada in 1992. He lives in Henderson with his wife, Lisa, and three children.
University Chancellor Dan Klaich is under fire. Everybody knows that.
“It’s not been a good time,” Klaich said during an interview Thursday for the Nevada Newsmakers statewide TV show.
On Wednesday, journalist Jon Ralston reported the University System Board of Regents hired a prominent and expensive California labor lawyer to investigate allegations against Klaich.
The investigation will focus on Klaich’s treatment of a outside study about Nevada’s community colleges. The study was critical of the university system’s leadership, which is a bad reflection on Klaich. Now, he accused of either squashing and quashing the report or at least demanding it rewritten.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Bethany Barnes has been all over it, as well as noted R-J columnist Jane Ann Morrison.
This Klaich controversy comes after Barnes – late last year – uncovered documents that showed the Nevada System of Higher Education copied large sections word-for-word of a Brookings Mountain West report draft in creating a competitive grant. It’s alleged to be plagiarism, which is a major crime in Academia.
And let’s not forget Klaich’s hiring for former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto as executive vice-chancellor for a salary of more than $200K a year. She stayed about three months before leaving to run for U.S. Senate in May.
It made it look like a “political juice” job, where Cortez-Masto parked and got paid long enough to help Klaich with the 2015 Legislature before jumping into the U.S. Senate race.
Clearly, it has been a trying time for Klaich. One regent told the Review-Journal that he is losing confidence in Klaich.
Klaich does not feel the pending investigation will lead to his termination or resignation.
“I don’t think that will occur,” Klaich said on Newsmakers. “I know who I am and what I did and I know the kind of person I am and I think that will ultimately be the result here. The chair ( of the regents) has appointed this investigator and I fully support that. I absolutely support his doing that and I think I know how this will come out.
“I will say this, I have never held myself out as a perfect human being and if as a result of this whole discussion, we can improve things, whether that is relationships with the board, my own personal style of leaderships, relationships with the public, I am open to that.”
KLAICH ALSO DENIED he hired Cortez-Masto for the political clout and possible future considerations that clout may bring.
“I would say that is absolutely false,” Klaich said. “I ran a search for that position. I did not get the quality of candidates that I wanted. So I started looking around to try to recruit someone. And I had a number of conversations with Catherine Cortez-Masto and ultimately hired her because I thought she was exactly the kind of person we needed in that position, a person who knew Nevada, who had dedicated her life to Nevada.”
Klaich said the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., — which gave Cortez-Masto the opportunity to run for Reid’s seat – caught him off guard. Reid announced his retirement earlier this year after an accident with workout equipment in his Searchlight home left him blind in one eye.
“We didn’t know what the political future held when I was recruiting her and I don’t think any of you or any Nevadans thought at that time that Sen. Reid would be retiring,” Klaich said. “But that is what happened and she left and it was a real blow to my staff.”
When asked by Newsmakers’ host Sam Shad if he ever had discussions with Cortez-Masto about her future political aspirations, Klaich said:
“Catherine and I clearly has discussions and let me phrase it this way: We did not know what the future held. Clearly she has a strong political resume and I would be foolish to tell you that I didn’t contemplate that we may come to a point in time where she may run again. That was not my (immediate) concern. My concern was can she do the job, starting on day one? Will I get the best service for the state of Nevada every day she is there? And I did.”
WASHINGTON — Staked to a head start, Nevada Republican Rep. Joe Heck holds an early advantage over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto in fundraising for U.S. Senate, according to federal records.
Heck reported holding $1.4 million in his campaign account as of June 30, after raising $577,576 during the second quarter of the year, according to the latest reports at the Federal Election Commission.
Heck’s fund includes money he raised as a House member this year, plus money carried over from earlier races during three terms as a Henderson-based congressman. He announced his Senate candidacy on July 7.
Starting from scratch after announcing her candidacy on April 7, Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general, reported raising $1.1 million through the end of June, and had $955,825 cash on hand after campaign startup costs.
The numbers reported to the FEC provide the first look at the dollars expected to be accumulated toward the 2016 election to succeed Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who is retiring at the end of next year.
The campaign for the open seat is being billed as one of the marquee Senate races, as Democrats strive to hold the seat and Republicans eye a potential pickup to preserve their Senate majority.
Heck and Cortez Masto could raise between $15 million and $20 million apiece for the race, most analysts believe, while a few say it could get even costlier.
And those funds are expected to be dwarfed by spending by outside groups. Already the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending a reported $750,000 to air commercials praising Heck.
“It is going to be a free-for-all, we know,” said Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College.
Lokken said the sums being raised by both candidates so early make it highly unlikely either will be challenged in a primary.
“It tells us this early on we have two very serious candidates,” he said. “To have that commitment early is impressive, with more to come.”
Lokken predicted fundraising for the 2016 Senate race will track closer to the combined $50 million that Reid and challenger Sharron Angle raised in 2010 than the $20 million that GOP Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley raised in 2012.
Cortez Masto raised most of her early money from individuals. About 25 percent of her total came from people who contributed through Act Blue, a Democratic bundling group. Another $30,000 came from contributions steered through Emily’s List, an organization that promotes Democratic women.
Initial donors included professional poker player Phil Ivey ($5,000), former Sen. and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of Colorado ($1,000), Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun ($2,700) and Democratic political philanthropist George Soros ($5,400).
Roughly $178,000 came from political action committees, most of that from PACs controlled by Democratic senators.
For most of the fundraising quarter, Heck was being recruited by Republicans to jump from a House re-election campaign to a Senate race amid reports that the party’s first choice, Gov. Brian Sandoval, was not interested in running for Senate.
Of Heck’s $577,574 in contributions during the three-month period, 53 percent came from political action committees.
Heck, a physician and a brigadier general in the Army Reserve who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, drew support from medical groups representing, among others, ophthalmologists ($5,000); OB-GYNs ($5,000) and cardiologists ($2,500); and defense contractors such as Boeing ($10,000) and Lockheed Martin ($10,000).
Prominent Las Vegas donors included casino owners Steve Wynn ($5,400) and Anthony Marnell III ($2,700), and Allegiant Air chief executive Maurice Gallagher ($5,400).
Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam gave $5,400 apiece.
Both candidates now will ramp up their fundraising to even higher levels, according to Lokken.
“The first people they hire are the ones who raise money,” he said. “Now we will see that full-court press to see how much they can raise in the next quarter. We should see one and a half million to two million figures in the next quarter.”
The widely corrupt Republican has been saying he was laser-focused on getting a $1.1 billion tax plan and major education initiatives past state lawmakers. He scored a major victory when the Republican-dominated Legislature approved a tax hike and budget before closing down their 120-day session on Monday.
Sandoval’s name has been discussed as a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid, or as a vice presidential candidate.
The governor told reporters on Tuesday that he’s been ignoring outside political interests asking about his career prospects, but said an announcement will come in the near future. (AP)
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Dina Titus announced Tuesday she will seek another term representing her Las Vegas-area district, ending speculation that she will challenge Nevada’s former attorney general for Sen. Harry Reid’s seat.
The news came in a YouTube video that Titus sent to supporters.
At the end of the 3½-minute clip, the congresswoman said she wants to continue fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare, keep college affordable and serve veterans from her seat in the House.
“We’ve been making progress since being hit so hard by the Great Recession, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Titus said in the video, which came a few days after she sent out a teaser email saying she’d be making a big announcement. “That’s why I’m running for re-election in Nevada’s 1st District, and I’m asking for your help in this effort.”
After announcing in March that he planned to retire, Reid said former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto would be a great successor. Several Democratic groups have added their support.
Titus was elected in 2012 to the safely Democratic 1st Congressional District, in the heart of urban Las Vegas. She spent more than 20 years as a state senator before that.
She was expected to be a serious primary threat for Cortez Masto if she entered the Senate race. But Titus told the Reno Gazette-Journal last month that she realized moving to the Senate would mean giving up her seniority in the House.
Reid echoed those comments in a statement Tuesday.
“Dina Titus has done a remarkable job representing Nevada in the House of Representatives, and I know she will continue to do so for a long time,” he said. “Representing the first district, Dina will be able to gain crucial seniority on committees and ensure our small state has a voice on issues affecting us.”
Only one Republican, Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers, has formally announced a bid for the Senate seat. Republican Rep. Joe Heck has said he’s exploring the possibility of running, and speculation has swirled about Gov. Brian Sandoval entering the race, although he has said he’s not interested.
LAS VEGAS — Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says she will run for Harry Reid’s Senate seat in 2016.
The Democrat made the announcement Wednesday. She says she left her new job as the executive vice chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education on Tuesday to launch her campaign.
The news comes less than two weeks after Reid said he would not run for a sixth term. No Republicans yet have declared their intention to run since Reid’s announcement.
Cortez Masto was elected attorney general in 2006 and served two terms but could not run again due to term limits. She was replaced by Republican Adam Laxalt.
She said her campaign will focus on the issues that defined her term as Nevada’s top prosecutor, including protecting seniors, women and homeowners.
After U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced he will not run for a sixth term, political prognosticators declared the post a “toss-up,” with either party able to win the seat in 2016.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval immediately was declared the favorite to win, though the popular leader has said he isn’t interested.
On the Democratic side, Reid played the queenmaker, endorsing former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to succeed him. Just days following his March 27 retirement announcement, Reid was in Las Vegas, plotting her path to victory, saying he would put his formidable machine behind her.
“We are going to do everything we can,” Reid told the New York Times over a bowl of chicken soup, settling into his new role of political Godfather. “I have to make sure I take care of the person running for Senate in Nevada.”
Several potential contenders already have taken themselves out of the running, from Reid’s eldest son, Rory, to former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who now runs Tuoro University in Nevada and California.
U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said he would rather stay in the House, where he has served since 2011. But like Sandoval, the congressman likely will feel pressure from GOP leaders who want their best candidate in 2016’s hottest race after the presidency.
Meanwhile, Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, said he’s preparing for re-election and “leaning no” on a Senate run. U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., has said in the past that he’s not interested, although Reid’s retirement could change that. State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a Republican, said he would consider running only if Sandoval and Heck do not.
Yet the list of Nevadans who could try to join Washington’s exclusive club of 100 remains fairly long. Reid’s retirement has shifted the electoral ground, prompting relative newcomers and political veterans alike to consider the possibilities. Here’s a report card on some of the potential contenders:
CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
Money — A+: Cortez Masto should have no trouble filling Senate campaign coffers in a race that could exceed 2010’s highly competitive race in which both Reid and Republican Sharron Angle each raised and spent more than $25 million. Outside groups just about matched the candidates’ spending.
On her own, Cortez Masto took in nearly $2.5 million for her elections in 2006 and 2010 and will have Reid as a rainmaker in 2016.
Since 2009, Reid has raised $23.6 million for his campaign committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Reid also helped land $46.7 million for the 2012 midterm elections for the Senate Democrats’ super PAC, Senate Majority PAC. Reid’s own campaign committee held $1.5 million as of Sept. 30.
Experience — B: Cortez Masto served eight years as attorney general after a career as a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., that gave her a taste of Capitol Hill.
Name Recognition — B: She’s held a high-profile statewide office for two terms and is a native Nevadan of Hispanic heritage. Her father, the late Manny Cortez, had a high profile in Southern Nevada as the longtime head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and was partly responsible for making the Strip a tourist mecca.
Liability/Asset — C: Cortez Masto hasn’t had a tough campaign and might not be ready for a rough-and-tumble Senate race. She declined to challenge Sandoval last year.
Money — B: Titus has never had trouble raising money. She raised about $1.1 million last year for a 1st Congressional District race that wasn’t very competitive. She raised nearly $2.6 million for the highly competitive 2010 campaign in the 3rd Congressional District, which she lost to Heck. For a Senate run she could expect a lot of support from outside groups such as Emily’s List.
Experience — B: Titus has survived the campaign crucible and runs strong. Even her losses in some of the state’s most competitive districts were close. In 2010 she lost to Heck by just 1,748 votes.
Name Recognition — B: Titus has been around Nevada politics for decades, including 20 years in the state Senate (1988-2008) where she rose to become minority leader. She also has a statewide profile, having run for governor and losing to Republican Jim Gibbons in 2006.
Liability/Asset — B: Titus, a native Georgian, has a thick Southern accent that can dissuade voters who favor native Nevadans. Strongly independent, she isn’t afraid to cross Reid and wouldn’t hesitate to challenge Cortez Masto if she thinks she can win. Titus in 2012 ran for the 1st Congressional District after Reid hand-picked state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, for the open seat. Kihuen dropped out before the primary.
Money — A+: Miller is a talented fundraiser who brought in $2.6 million for his failed 2014 attorney general campaign.
Experience — C: At age 30, Miller became the youngest Nevada secretary of state in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. But he faced weak GOP challengers in both campaigns. In 2014, he lost his first truly competitive race to Adam Laxalt, a political newcomer who eked out a slim 4,750-vote victory, or 46.2 percent to 45.3 percent. Miller suffered in the low turnout race as Democrats stayed home, but his campaign also failed to turn voters against Laxalt.
Name Recognition — A: Miller held statewide office for eight years and boasts the highest social media profile among Nevada officials with nearly 17,500 Twitter followers. In addition, his father is Bob Miller, who was governor from 1989 to 1999.
Liability/Asset — C: Miller’s love of socializing proved his downfall against Laxalt. He reported accepting more than $70,000 in gifts while secretary of state, including tickets to sporting events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and football games where he sat in luxury skyboxes. Miller said some of the freebies were educational conferences. His opponents were able to exploit the gifts and question his ethics.
Money — C: Flores raised nearly $754,000 in her failed 2014 race for lieutenant governor — not nearly enough to keep up with Republican Mark Hutchison, who raised about $2.5 million to win.
Experience — C: Flores served two terms in the Assembly, but neither of those elections featured tough competition. In 2010 she took 82.16 percent of the vote in the general election. She swept up 73 percent of the vote in a three-way primary in 2012 but faced no general election opponent at all.
Name Recognition — C:Little known outside of Clark County, her weak showing last year was her first statewide campaign. It focused on her bio — former gang member and high-school dropout who had an abortion as a teen, then went on to graduate from law school and enter politics. Inspiring to many, her hard-luck tale might not play well in conservative rural Nevada.
Liability/Asset — C: Hispanics comprise nearly 30 percent of Nevada’s population and Flores had the Latino vote last year, but she had trouble reaching other demographic groups statewide. She’s considered a long shot for a Senate bid but a better candidate for the 4th Congressional District.
Money — C: Her secretary of state campaign raised $715,245 last year but spent $100,000 more.
Experience — D: Marshall won two terms as state treasurer but failed in a 2011 special election for the 2nd Congressional District and lost the secretary of state job last year.
Name Recognition — C: Few Nevadans can name the state treasurer, even one who served two terms.
Liability/Asset — C: Her high-pitched voice can be grating; she’s a two-time loser in her most recent elections.
Money — B: He raised $152,000 in 2013 for his Las Vegas City Council campaign and has shown he can get bigger bucks when needed, including more than $500,000 for one past state Senate bid.
Experience — B: Beers served in the Nevada Assembly and Senate from 1999 to 2008 but was washed away by the Democratic wave that swept Barack Obama into the White House. He rebounded in 2012, beating eight other contenders in a Las Vegas City Council special election with 37 percent of the vote. The following year voters gave him a landslide re-election, with 76 percent of the vote.
Name Recognition — C: He ran in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary but isn’t widely known outside Clark County.
Liability/Asset — B: Beers is the first candidate to announce he’s running for Reid’s seat, putting out the word and 55,000 pamphlets in January 2014. An accountant, he’s known for asking lots of questions before spending taxpayer money and was a leader of the Assembly’s “mean 15” which blocked a proposed $1 billion tax hike in 2003.
Money — A+: Running virtually unopposed, Sandoval raised about $3.7 million for his 2014 re-election, plus $1.4 million for his New Nevada PAC helping other GOP candidates. He raised more than $5 million to easily defeat Rory Reid in 2010.
Experience — B: The governor has served in all three branches of government as a member of the Nevada Assembly, state attorney general and as a federal judge. He’s never faced a tough campaign.
Name Recognition —A: Not only is Sandoval widely known, he’s also popular. More than 60 percent of Nevadans say he does a good job. No credible Democrat would run against him last year, and his re-election was a 71-percent landslide. He’s also gaining popularity among Nevada Latinos, who lean Democrat. Latino Decisions said exit polls showed Sandoval got 47 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2014, up from 15 percent in 2010.
Liability/Asset — Incomplete: Sandoval insists he doesn’t want to run for the Senate but instead is focused on finishing his second four-year term, which runs through 2018. How Sandoval comes out of the Nevada Legislature could affect his political future: Will lawmakers approve his $7.3 billion spending plan that includes $1.1 billion in new and extended taxes to fund education? Is he as “unbeatable” as some insiders say? Stay tuned.
Money —A: Heck raised nearly $2.5 million for his 2014 campaign and spent less than $2 million. He would have no trouble raising big bucks for a Senate race from gaming interests and other major Nevada industries.
Experience — B: Heck has been able to hang on to his seat in the 3rd Congressional District for several elections, although it’s the state’s most competitive House district with an even Republican-Democrat split and independents leaning GOP. He’s also had a taste of defeat: In 2008 he lost his state Senate seat in a Democratic wave election that put President Barack Obama in office.
Name Recognition — C: Heck maintains a fairly low profile as a serious, workaday congressman, and he has never run a statewide race. That could put him at a disadvantage against someone with statewide campaign experience.
Liability/Asset — B: Heck’s promotion last year to brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve and past active duty as a doctor in Iraq make him an appealing candidate, particularly among Nevada’s large veteran population. But the moderate has come under fire from the left for voting with the conservative House caucus on hot-button issues such as immigration and equal pay. Heck said he’s staying put in the House, but 2016 could be his best chance to move up to the U.S. Senate.
Money — B: Krolicki hasn’t had a big-money race, although he raised $640,000 and spent $1.1 million in his first election for lieutenant governor in 2006. He raised about half that for his 2010 re-election.
Experience — B: He’s been around state government and GOP politics for a long time, serving two terms as state treasurer followed by two terms as lieutenant governor. He contemplated a run against Reid in 2010 but was sidelined by an ethics investigation that ultimately foundered.
Name Recognition — C: Krolicki has been on the statewide ballot four times, but remains relatively unknown.
Liability/Asset — D: His career took a hit with his 2008 indictment related to management of a college savings program while state treasurer. A judge later dismissed the felony charges, which Krolicki characterized as a partisan attack by then-Attorney General Cortez Masto.
Money — A: Hutchison showed he can raise money — lots of it — even for the low-profile post of lieutenant governor. He raised at least $2.5 million to win a part-time job that puts him in line to replace Sandoval, if need be.
Experience — B: A newcomer to politics, Hutchison resigned his state Senate seat midterm to run for lieutenant governor as Sandoval’s choice. The stakes were high, but Hutchison sailed into office with 59.5 percent of the vote.
Name Recognition — C: Hutchison’s campaign attracted a lot of attention and he crisscrossed the state several times, yet he remains relatively unknown.
Liability/Asset — B: Sandoval’s support is a big plus. An attorney, Hutchison represented Nevada for free in its challenge to Obamacare — work that made him popular among conservatives but could hurt him among Democrats.
Money — B: Roberson raised more than $600,000 last year toward his 2014 state Senate race, plus money for a PAC and other candidates, helping the GOP take control of the upper house.
Experience — C: His political career has taken off like a rocket since his first election to the state Senate in 2010. But the Senate majority leader never has been tested in a statewide race.
Name Recognition — C: His state Senate leadership gets his name out there, but his lack of a statewide run means he’s not that widely known. On the plus side, his base is Clark County, home to 75 percent of all Nevadans.
Liability/Asset — B: Roberson first ran as a strict conservative but has become a moderate over time. He’s now pushing for Sandoval’s $7.3 billion general fund budget and $1.1 billion package of new and extended taxes. This could hurt him in any GOP primary but help him during a general election. Insiders say family considerations and a desire to stay in the Legislature weigh against a U.S. Senate race, for now.
Money — A: Laxalt surprised many observers by raising more than $1.8 million in his first political campaign to score an upset over better-financed Ross Miller in last year’s attorney general race. He tapped conservatives in Washington, D.C., where his mother, Michelle Laxalt, was a widely known lobbyist. Acquaintances of his grandfather, former Nevada Gov. and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, also ponied up.
Experience — C: Laxalt was a Navy judge advocate general and a lawyer in a private practice in Las Vegas. But he has only lived in Nevada for a few years and has run just one campaign. He would be sorely tested in a high-stakes contest that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Name Recognition — B: Laxalt’s family name helped him win support statewide. He also spent a lot of time traveling the dusty roads to reach every corner of Nevada last year.
Liability/Asset — C: During the campaign, an operative leaked a memo from a Laxalt job review at the private firm, Lewis Roca, where he worked. It said he had sloppy legal skills and was “a train wreck” as a lawyer. His campaign countered by releasing rave reviews he got in the military, including when he oversaw terrorism cases in Baghdad. Laxalt has suggested he wants to focus on his new job but hasn’t ruled out a Senate bid.
Contact Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) — Emotion dominated standing-room only hearings Thursday on a bill that would allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns on Nevada school campuses.
Amanda Collins, a 2007 victim of rape on the University of Nevada campus in Reno, provided the drama at the hearing on Assembly Bill 148. Her assailant was James Biela, later convicted of murdering UNR student Briana Dennison. Biela currently sits on Nevada’s death row.
“October 22, 2007 was a typical evening,” Collins testified by a teleconference connection from Ely. She was studying for midterms, and was attacked by Biela as she walked in a parking garage.
“Out of the corner of my eye I could see the university police cruisers parked across the way, and in that same moment I knew that the university police offices had already closed,” Collins said. “I knew no one was coming to help me.”
Collins had a concealed weapons permit, but under Nevada law she could not carry her weapon on campus, “which means that the law – the very law that was meant to ensure my safety, only guaranteed the criminal an unmatched victim.”
The hearing rooms at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas and at the Legislative Building in Carson City, packed with both supporters and opponents of “campus carry,” fell silent as Collins testified.
AB148 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore, R-Clark. In addition to Fiore, 18 other Assembly Republicans are listed as sponsors, as well as two Republican state senators.
This is the third time a campus carry bill has been introduced in the Legislature.
Two previous attempts failed when both houses were controlled by Democrats. Now, Republicans control all branches of state government. The governor, a Republican, has not said whether he will sign the bill.
Former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, now the executive vice chancellor of Nevada’s higher education system, testified that current law, which bans campus carry, works. In the hearing, she called the bill “a solution looking for a problem.”
Masto, speaking to News 3, said, “I believe in 2nd Amendment rights.” But she said, not everyone wants guns. “They don’t want to be around weapons. They don’t want to have to carry them. They don’t want to live in a dorm with somebody who has a weapon.”
Masto said campus carry could be dangerous, especially when school police get the call someone has a gun on campus.
“And if they don’t have a police uniform on, or police badge, insignia, they’re going to take that person down and they’re not going to inquire whether they have a CCW,” Masto said.
Campus carry supporters say permit holders would be trained to act properly in those situations. They discount the danger to themselves, or police.
“This is something that can be covered with training and I do believe that the university police department are (sic) at least willing to work with something, should this bill pass,” said Alex Murdoch, co-founder of the group “UNLV Students for Concealed Carry.”
Murdoch says campus crime isn’t an illusion.
“I live just a mile from campus and just over three weeks ago I had a drive-by shooting at my house while I was on campus talking about concealed carry,” Murdoch said. He held up the bullet he said he later found in the back of his truck.
At Thursday’s hearing, Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, asked if bringing guns on campuses already awash in alcohol and drugs would prove a dangerous mix.
“Young permit holders, college age permit holders are at least as safe or safer than the rest of the permit holders, and permit holders as a whole are extremely law abiding,” said James Lott, author of the book “More Guns, Less Crime,” and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.
In Las Vegas, many watching the hearing opposed campus carry. When asked to stand by one speaker, a majority of the room at the Grant Sawyer Building stood.
One of them was Nina Nittalgun, a student at the College of Southern Nevada.
“I don’t think that I should be in a school and have to feel protected by having guns everywhere to feel safe,” she said.
Seven states allow weapons on campus. Under current Nevada law, students and campus employees can apply to the institution’s president to bring weapons on campus.
Few ask and even fewer requests are granted. In 2013, there were 11 applications, with only one being accepted. In 2014, only half of the eight weapons applications were granted.
For Amanda Collins, what happened to her is the ultimate, and tragic, cautionary tale.
“My case is the perfect example that despite law enforcement’s best efforts to ensure our safety, they are unable to be everywhere at once,” Collins said. “All I wanted was a chance to effectively defend myself.”
It will be part of the debate on campus carry legislation during the Assembly Committee on Judiciary Thursday.
On the agenda is Assembly Bill 148, which authorizes a person with a concealed carry permit to have weapons on school grounds including college campuses, K-12 schools, day cares and nonsecure parts of airports.
University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College are against the bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore of Las Vegas and 21 other lawmakers.
“The administration, faculty and students oppose Bill 148,” said UNR President Marc Johnson this week, just days after the university’s student government passed a resolution opposing it.
“They aren’t doing this for us,” Johnson said of lawmakers. “They are doing it to us.”
Johnson said the university opposes AB 148 for many reasons.
“This a place that encourages people to express controversial thoughts,” he said. “We don’t want controversy to turn into a gunbattle.”
He also said because college campuses face issues with alcohol and drugs, adding a third element is a safety issue.
Recently, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the student government, opposed the bill in a resolution.
“We want more tenured professors and lower student-faculty ratios,” said UNR student Caden Fabbi. Fabbi is the speaker of the senate and is running for school body president. “In attracting new faculty, this could be looked at as a deterrent to wanting to come here,” he said.
“We think sexual assault and campus carry are exclusive issues with a lot of misinformation,” he said. “There is this misconception that there is some guy jumping out of a bush and that’s not the case,” he said.
In 2014 Johnson approved five out of 11 people who applied to carry a concealed weapon at UNR.
He said after an extensive background check by school police, an interview and showing just cause for carrying a weapon, he personally approves or denies a request.
Approval is most often based on a student who may have an outside threat, for example having a restraining order.
“From our perspective, the people that know best are the people that are on our campuses,” said Catherine Cortez Masto, who was hired in January as an executive vice chancellor for the System of Higher Education. Cortez Masto was formerly the Nevada attorney general and will represent higher education along with school police at Thursday’s meeting.
Campus presidents including Johnson and TMCC President Maria Sheehan, along with Chancellor Dan Klaich and regents, are in Las Vegas during the hearing for a scheduled Board of Regents meeting.
Cortez Masto said the concern about the bill is that a concealed carry permit can be held by a person 21 and older.
She said more than 30 percent of those on campuses are under 21 including those in campus day care centers, and in elementary and high schools.
Bill sponsor Fiore recently made national news commenting on the bill, similar to ones in almost a dozen states, by telling the New York Times that sexual assaults would go down if sexual predators got a “bullet in their head.”
Assembly Bill 148
8 a.m. Thursday in room 3138 of the Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson Street, Carson City
After 24 years in state government, including eight years each as treasurer and lieutenant governor, Brian Krolicki is leaving office.
But that doesn’t mean he’s through with public service.
He doesn’t rule out he may run against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in 2016 if his Republican friend Gov. Brian Sandoval doesn’t.
And he intends to continue on the committee to bring the Winter Olympics to Lake Tahoe in the future.
Krolicki packed his personal furniture and documents Thursday and said he intends to spend more time with his wife and three children. And he intends to search for employment as a consultant for companies in Nevada.
According to his financial disclosure statement, he already has ties with United Power Technology and Gazillion Inc. He says he still has the “public service gene” and called government office “a noble calling.”
Krolicki considered challenging Reid in 2010 but bowed out when he was criminally indicted for improper paperwork while treasurer. The charges were thrown out.
He says he will wait to see if Sandoval decides to take on Reid. He said he would never run against his friend Sandoval in a GOP primary.
“The governor is first in the queue,” he said. If Sandoval declines to run for the U.S. Senate, “I will consider all my options,” he said.
Some of his proudest moments as treasurer were helping roll out Gov. Kenny Guinn’s Millennium Scholarship program and starting the college saving plan.
As lieutenant governor, he served six years as chairman of both the economic development commission and the tourism commission. Sandoval revised those programs but kept Krolicki as a member on both.
In economic development, he said he was part of a team that brought many credible companies to Nevada. In tourism, he said the program expanded globally to bring tourists to Nevada.
He cited the growth from Asia, where visas 10 years ago numbered 150,000 and now stand at 1.8 million.
That growth he said was the “saving grace of tourism when tourism turned sour” during the recession.
As lieutenant governor he also served as president of the state Senate. Asked if he was frustrated with the long delays and other problems in the Senate, he said, “I understand the delays and I accept the fact there will be frustrations.”
He said he understood the process and was a member of the Republican caucus during the 120-day sessions. “I believe I have the respect of the full Senate,” he said.
He doesn’t see himself becoming a lobbyist at the 2015 Legislature.
Krolicki is still upset about Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto getting a grand jury indictment that he and his top aide mismanaged the college savings program while he was treasurer.
No money was missing and a district judge in Las Vegas dismissed the indictment. “I’m still waiting for an apology from her (Masto) to my family and me,” he said.
“We did nothing wrong and shame on the attorney general for allowing the prosecution to go forward.” He called it a partisan move by Masto, whose husband was arranging a fundraiser for Krolicki’s opponent.
Masto at the time denied the indictment was driven by politics.
Despite the indictment, he says he left office “with a positive image.”
He added, “My public service was enhanced.”
He worked in the treasurer’s office before being elected to the statewide office. Term limits stopped him from serving more than eight years in the two elective offices.
Outgoing state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto told KNPR’s State of Nevada that she has not thought about running for governor. However, she did not rule out getting back into an elected office, if the right position became available.
The two-term attorney general has a new job as the second in command of the Nevada System of Higher Education.
Her appointment came as a surprise to some regents. But, she will assume the role of executive vice chairman beginning next month once her term expires.
She told KNPR’s State of Nevada that her new position fits with a problem she has been looking to tackle, which is education.
She said that although she doesn’t have experience in academics, she feels comfortable with requirements of the job, including working with the leaders of higher education institutions and talking with Nevada lawmakers.
Catherine Cortez Masto will be replaced as attorney general by Republican Adam Laxalt who beat Democrat and Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller.
While Cortez Masto would not comment on whether Laxalt’s recent letter denouncing President Barack Obama’s executive order covering undocumented workers would put him at odds with Governor Brian Sandoval. She did say there is potential for conflict in the attorney general’s job because of the dual roles that you play.
“We’re the attorney for the governor. We provide advice like any attorney to their client,” she said, “But that’s a different hat that the attorney general wears as opposed to the consumer protection hat or the hat I wore representing the state when we were involved in litigation against the banks and Wall Street.”
That litigation ended up forcing Cortez Masto to make one of the biggest decision she had to make during her tenure: whether to sign a national mortgage fraud settlement.
The settlement, which was signed in 2012, involved billions of dollars and five major banks, but it also ended lawsuits filed against banks involved in subprime mortgages.
Cortez Masto said she had only two weeks to look at the proposed settlement and make a decision whether to sign it.
In the end, she decided to agree to the deal in order to get some relief for people hit hard by the collapse of the housing market.
“We felt it was better, for the homeowners, to sign onto this agreement and bring relief back here which we did,” Cortez Masto said.
Cortez Masto will now focus on improving the state’s higher education system.
Term-limited state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has found refuge in the lucrative end of Nevada’s higher education system, and now it appears departing Treasurer Kate Marshall is trying to follow suit.
Marshall, who lost a bid for secretary of state in November to Republican Barbara Cegavske, has been asking about the possibilities of a six-figure position at UNLV, reliable sources say.
Cortez Masto late last month was named executive vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, an unfilled position that pays $215,000 a year. The appointment was so surprising it came as a shock to at least one member of the Board of Regents, the Review-Journal reported.
University system Chancellor Dan Klaich personally sought out Cortez Masto and in a statement called her “an outstanding addition to our leadership team.”
Klaich recently chatted with the job-seeking Marshall, I’ve learned. On Thursday, he downplayed the discussion.
“I have spoken with Kate about her desire to work in education,” Klaich said. “But I haven’t been a part of any discussions she’s had with anybody at UNLV.”
He described his conversation with Marshall as “very general” and acknowledged his name “comes up all the time” when positions in higher education are mentioned.
An attempt to reach Marshall on Thursday at her office was unsuccessful. Like Cortez Masto, Marshall is term-limited.
You don’t suppose the state’s higher education system is part of a Democratic Party Full Employment Act, do you?
FIREBRAND FIORE: The state’s political observers may wonder whether firebrand conservative Michele Fiore is ready for prime time after easily prevailing in a proxy skirmish for Assembly majority leader. Mild-mannered conservative John Hambrick emerged with the top spot of Assembly speaker, replacing an embarrassed but apparently indefatigable Ira Hansen.
Hansen, who I’m told played an integral role in the proxy vote, continues to pay for bigoted rhetoric he once espoused as a Sparks newspaper columnist and radio chat show regular. Dennis Myers of the Reno News &Review once again uncovered eyebrow-raising nuggets from Hansen’s past.
He’s probably lucky his many hours on the radio aren’t archived.
The jaw-dropper I’ll never forget from the Hansen clan is the bumper sticker they once proudly displayed: “No civil rights for sodomites.”
But that was a long time ago, right?
DEAD POET: Dead Poet Books, a beloved refuge for Southern Nevada readers, is closing. The store, located in a shopping strip at 937 S. Rainbow Blvd., has welcomed readers and writers for the past decade.
Owners Linda and Rich Piediscalzi opened their first bookstore in 1994. They somehow managed to survive the lingering recession, but now family issues have compelled them to close their friendly shop and put their stock up for sale.
COPYCAT OUSTED: This week the R-J reported UNLV professor Mustapha Marrouchi was fired last month for “serial plagiarism.” He had apparently been lifting the work of other writers for years.
Frankly, I’m sorry to see him go. He seemed very talented.
I really enjoyed his novels, “The Brothers Karamazov,” “The Sun Also Rises,” and “The World According to Garp.”
ON THE BOULEVARD: Failed county medical marijuana license applicants who complained of receiving an unfair hearing must be feeling vindicated now that the rushed process has jammed at the state level. … Have you heard the one about the Strip corporate casino vice president of security who keeps ducking service in a simmering civil litigation? Chances are you will soon. … It’s not often you hear about school kids from a poor neighborhood prevailing against heavy odds, but you’re about to. … Dept. of Shameless Plugs: I’ll sign copies of my recent books “Vegas Voices: Conversations With Great Las Vegas Characters” and “Even a Street Dog: Las Vegas Stories” from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Boulder Dam Hotel.
Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — Finding out who have been selected winners and losers of Nevada’s budding medical marijuana business, and why, has turned out to be almost impossible.
When the state released its list of the companies authorized to take part in the medical marijuana business, we wanted to know one thing: how did the state make the decision? Thanks to a state regulation that protects medical marijuana applicants and their investors, the whole process has been clouded under a shroud of secrecy, far from transparent.
The questions remain: who set it up this way, and why? It has been weeks of phone calls, e-mails, and interviews, all aimed at trying to get more information on the state’s process to license medical marijuana business applicants.
We started at the Division of Public and Behavioral Health. Chad Westom is a Bureau Chief, and the head of the Medical Marijuana program.
“We do not write the laws,” explained Westom. “We did not write this law, but we do carry out what is required.”
Westom is referring to NRS 453a.700, the medical marijuana law passed in 2001. “It states the Division and our designees must maintain the confidentiality and shall not disclose the contents of any application record or any written documentation that the Division or designees credits or receives pursuant to this chapter,” said Westom.
But when that was written, it was referring to medical marijuana patients, and their application, not the application of cultivators or dispensary owners. Westom confirmed that the Attorney General was consulted on this regulation.
Westom also stated applicants could sign a disclosure form that would let the state release the name of the company and how many points it scored during the ranking process. But even with some companies doing that, the public still does not have access to basic information on ownership, backgrounds, and business practices.
“We’ve had legal review from the Attorney General’s office all along the way,” Westom said.
News 4 contacted Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s office to ask how she interpreted the law for the division. She declined to go on camera, but in an email sent by her staff, she noted that it was the Health Division who adopted NAC 453a.714, a regulation which makes the information confidential.
We made several calls to the 12 members of the Legislative Commission who approved that regulation on March 28. Only one, Assemblyman Jason Frierson, called back, but did not remember specifically discussing the regulation.
The Legislative Council Bureau said the Nevada Health Board proposed the regulation to the Legislative Commission, but a Health Board member said he did not recall that, and referred me back to the Health Division and Richard Whitley, an administrator at the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
Whitley has not return our call, but we were sent to a Public Information Officer. A week ago, an e-mail was sent, asking who proposed the idea of a completely confidential process and why? On Wednesday, we received an email from Pam Graber, the Public Information Officer at the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
The e-mail said that Senator Tick Segerblom, who crafted the orignal medicial marijuana bill, set up the criteria for the ranking results, with the help of the division.
But she is refusing to tell the public the names and backgrounds of the taxpayer-paid panelists that decided the winners and losers in Nevada’s medical marijuana business. She is also refusing to release the specific formula, or rubrick, that these people used to rank the businesses.
The biggest question still remains: who originated the complete confidentiality of the state regulation that is keeping all this information secret?
News 4’s On Your Side will be continuing to cover this story, and will keep you posted as we learn more.
EDITORIAL: Hire education
The Nevada System of Higher Education had a perception problem well before it hired outgoing Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to be its second in command.
Public colleges and universities everywhere have responded to declining academic rigor, the declining value of many diplomas and declining state support for higher education with ever-higher tuition, ever-higher administrative salaries and a seemingly ever-higher number of administrators who seldom set foot in a classroom. With so many families confronting massive debt to put their children through degree programs that offer no guarantee of the income required to repay loans, they’re more than justified in asking, “Where, exactly, does my money go?”
On Nov. 25, the office that oversees all public colleges and universities in the state, provided an answer to that question when it announced that Ms. Masto would begin work in January as executive vice chancellor, just after the Democrat’s second and final term as attorney general ends.
Ms. Masto, who will run operations at the system’s Las Vegas office, will be paid an annual salary of $215,000, plus benefits. The hire raises eyebrows for two reasons.
First, the system did not conduct a formal, open, national search for the job. As reported Wednesday by the Review-Journal’s Francis McCabe, Chancellor Dan Klaich said he had recruited Ms. Masto for the position. Because his recruitment focused on a powerful elected official long viewed as a rising star within the Democratic Party, Mr. Klaich invites criticism that politics was part of his calculation. Anytime an elected official lands a high-paying government job through appointment, it creates the appearance of favoritism and patronage. Might there have been a more-qualified applicant who would do the job for less money?
Second, and most important, the Nevada System of Higher Education has managed just fine without an executive vice chancellor for more than five years. Mr. McCabe reports that the position has been vacant since Mr. Klaich was promoted from the No. 2 job to chancellor in 2009. But the position suddenly is an urgent need, just as Ms. Masto leaves office?
That said, the hiring of Ms. Masto into a leadership position is not an overreach. Prior to serving as attorney general, Ms. Masto was an assistant county manager with Clark County, a federal prosecutor and chief of staff to former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller. She is a highly qualified administrator with no shortage of career options.
But the elected members of the Board of Regents — the stewards of the state’s higher education system — had no say in Ms. Masto’s hiring. And regents just completed the process of hiring a new UNLV president amid concerns about salary. Regents soon will repeat the salary discussion when they sign off on a new UNLV football coach. They should be worried about personnel costs — regents voted six months ago to increase university and community college undergraduate registration fees 4 percent per year for four years, starting in fall 2015.
When regents meet this Thursday and Friday, they should ask Mr. Klaich about Ms. Masto’s hiring — and about why he needs an executive vice chancellor at all.
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — Uber has given Nevadans a forum to come its defense and get the car service app up and rolling legally in the Silver State.
On Tuesday, the company posted a petition and within three hours, it gained 7,000 signatures, with a goal of 15,000. The petition urges the governor and the state attorney general to stand against special interests in the taxi industry.
Now customers are sounding off on on social media. They are using the hashtag #NVNeedsUber. “I am so sick of this town being run by people with special interests,” tweeted Emma Burns. “Uou can’t stop innovation, only delay it!”
“Support choice & innovation,” added Joe Schmitt on the social media network. “Stop protecting some types of businesses and hammering others.”
Atternoy General Catherine Cortez Masto attended a cyber security event on Tuesday. She said she did not know about the social media campaign, but did offer her thoughts on Uber. “In our state, if a judge determines the laws in our state don’t allow Uber to operate, under the existing laws, then Uber has every right to go to the legislature, and there should be that discussion. What’s a public policy? What do we want to allow in the state or not, and Uber should talk to our legislatures and that process should go and have a full hearing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
Cortez Masto filed a temporary restraining order against Uber when it launched on Friday. But Uber drivers are still on Nevada roads.
A hearing is set for November 4.
We have heard from supporters, and we want to know which side you are on and why. Tweet us @krnv and use the hashtag #LiveOnNews4.
Tonja Brown wanted to remind Ross Miller about her ongoing issues. Adam Laxalt is not immune from the protest and both these potential AG candidates must deal with the years old issue.
See More here: Tonja Brown Stories
Then just today we see this:
Doing what’s best for Nevada
Thu, Oct 16, 2014 (2:02 a.m.)
The past year has been a trying time for our family — the Laxalt family. Sadly, we have been forced to face the loss of several cherished family members. This challenge has made many of us stop and pause about what truly does matter in life.
During our journey, we have found a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that best captures the essence of a core value that has guided us throughout our lives — the value of speaking up for what is right. He wrote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
In the spirit of King’s words, then, we can no longer be silent as we seek to maintain the integrity of our home state of Nevada.
Therefore, we collectively speak up to support Ross Miller as the most qualified candidate to be our state’s attorney general.
It is our belief that Ross Miller’s documented history of pulling himself up by his own bootstraps and establishing a well-respected career in law and public service while still maintaining a strong sense of family and community constitute the critical characteristics needed for Nevada’s highest legal office.
We ask that our fellow Nevadans follow our lead by speaking up with their own votes during this election season.
Know that our message does not originate from a Republican, Democratic or even family affiliation. It has to do with the most basic question all voters must ask themselves when they step into the voting booth, “Who really is the best qualified candidate for attorney general for the state of Nevada?”
Will Mr. Adam Laxalt who is running for Nevada Attorney General look the other way with regard to that Attorney General’s Office having a practice and a policy of withholding evidence from Plaintiff’s in cases?
Brown claims that they did not place on the record her documents until after she had filed suit in July 2013 and to this day not all of the documents have seen the light of day, nor have they done as she had requested of them during the December 5, 2011 and May 17, 2012 Board of Prison Commissioners meeting.
She claims they have breached the terms ofthe Settlement Agreement she made with them. A trial date has been set forApril 6 & 8, 2015 in the First Judicial District Court, Department 2 Judge James Wilson.
Nolan Klein passed away 5 years ago on September 20, 2009 from lack of medical care by the Nevada Department of Corrections.Just prior to Mr. Klein’s death the evidence was found hiding in the Washoe County District Attorney files that would have exonerated him from the 1988 Payless Shoe Store crime.
In October 2011 Ms. Brown hired a private investigator to locate the prime suspect, Mr. Zarsky. The Sparks Police theory was they believed Mr. Zarsky had committed the crime Nolan Klein was convicted of. In November Ms. Brown drove to another state and had the opportunity to listen to what Mr. Zarsky had to say.
Mr. Zarsky admitted he had knowledge of the Payless Shoe Store crime and the 3 other crimes the SPD believed he had committed. The victims from the 3 other crimes had cleared Mr. Klein and all was hidden by the Washoe County District Attorney’s office.
In Mr. Klein’s file were over 200 documents hidden from the defense mostly exculpatory evidence. During the January 17 – 23 1989 trial Mr. Rachow presented only 20 exhibits, mostly, photographs of the Payless Shoe Store crime scene.In 2010 Ms. Brown filed suit against the NDOC in the wrongful death of Nolan Klein. During the discovery process Ms. Brown discovered that the Attorney General’s office had withheld evidence in one of Nolan’s federal civil cases against the NDOC. Ms. Brown claims that ultimately this new development with regard to this evidence had a profound adverse effect on Mr. Klein’s 2007 Parole Board hearing and 2008 Compassionate Release Pardon.
As a part of the Settlement Agreement Ms. Brown made with the State she could exonerate their names. When she went to do this at the December 5, 2011 and May 17, 2012 Board of Prison Commissioners they claimed the documents were deemed confidential and would not be placed on the record. Ms. Brown demanded that they call for an investigation into the Attorney General’s Office for withholding evidence, file a complaint with the State Bar of Nevada against Mr. Geddes for withholding evidence in Mr. Klein’s federal case, and write a letter of apology to her. They have refused to do so.Brown then filed suit Tonja Brown v NDOC, Governor Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Katherine Cortez Masto, Secretary of State Ross Miller, DAG William Geddes, DAG Kara Krause in Carson City, NV for Breach of Settlement Agreement. Trial is set for next April 2015.
CINCINNATI – Tracie Hunter’s attorney began her defense Friday by raising questions about workers backdating documents in the suspended juvenile judge’s court.
The same backdating thing happened in Carson City by Judge James E. Wison, the clerk and the Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto:
After Judge Norbert Nadel denied his motion to dismiss the case, Hunter’s attorney, Clyde Bennett II, grilled Lisa Miller, a part-timecase manager in Hunter’s court.
Miller said she and others backdated documents in Hunter’s court because they could not keep up with the amount of filings.
Bennett has claimed in court that Miller, not Hunter, backdated the two court filings at the center of one of the nine felony counts against Hunter.
Prosecutors accuse Hunter of backdating documents in two specific cases so they could not appeal her rulings
Under Bennett’s questioning, Miller testified that two other court workers, Connie Murdock and Cathy Dykes, backdated multiple documents in Hunter’s court. Miller testified that Murdock is her supervisor and Dykes works in deliquency but is called in to help when needed.
Bennett made the point that several people were needed toscan documents in Hunter’s court because Hunter didn’t have a full-time case manager. The other juvenile court judge, John Williams, does have a full-time case manager, Bennett said.
Miller acknowledged that she backdated documents if she wasn’t able to file all of them on the day they were created. She said she would only backdate documents to match a hearing date.
Prosecutors say backdating, whether common or not, is a crime if it is done to prevent prosecutors from appealing.
Prosecutors have stated that Hunter is responsible for filings in her court, so even if she didn’t backdate the two documents at the center of the charge against her, she would be culpable if she signed an incorrectly dated entry.
The court recessed at 3:30 p.m. with Miller on the stand. She will continue her testimony when court resumes at 10 a.m. Monday.
WATCH the trial live on WCPO.com’s livestream
While Nadel ruled Friday he would let the jury decide the case, he added that some of the nine counts may be redundant.
Nadel heard arguments about the dismissal motion Thursday afternoon in open court after letting the jury go for the day.
Special prosecutor Merlyn Shiverdecker argued that it was simple to make the charge of theft in office against Hunter for charging $1,100 in filing fees on her county credit card.
“She knowingly used the credit card. She received the benefits of not having to pay the filing fees herself. That’s theft in office,” Shiverdecker said.
Shiverdecker said Hunter submitted false documents even if someone else in her office backdated them, as Hunter’s attorney claims.
“She signed two entries that had the wrong dates on them. Therefore, they were purported to be something they were not,” he said.
“She signed the entries. She’s responsible. It’s the jury’s decision to decide if she did it to impede prosecutors in their attempt to appeal.”
Bennett presented testimony Monday from a company official that installed the CMS that Miller and at least four other people in juvenile court backdated documents.
Bennett, seeking to have the charges dismissed, led off his argument by claiming the prosecution presented “no evidence that Judge Hunter backdated any entries.”
Bennett defended Hunter against the charge of unlawful interference with a public contract by claiming she did nothing to help her brother in a disciplinary hearing after he punched a juvenile inmate at the juvenile jail, where he worked.
Stephen Hunter testified Wednesday that his sister gave him documents in the case – including the inmate’s medical records – one day before his disciplinary hearing. Stephen Hunter’s supervisor testified that he thought that was a conflict of interest.
Afterward, Nadel said he had three options:
> Grant the motion in full, which would mean dropping all nine felony counts against Hunter and ending the trial;
> Grant the motion in part, dropping some counts.
> Reject the motion completely,
She claims they have breached the terms of the Settlement Agreement she made with them. A trial date has been set for April 6 & 8, 2015 in the First Judicial District Court, Department 2 Judge James Wilson.
Just prior to Mr. Klein’s death the evidence was found hiding in the Washoe County District Attorney files that would have exonerated him from the 1988 Payless Shoe Store crime.
In October 2011 Ms. Brown hired a private investigator to locate the prime suspect, Mr. Zarsky. The Sparks Police theory was they believed Mr. Zarsky had committed the crime Nolan Klein was convicted of. In November Ms. Brown drove to another state and had the opportunity to listen to what Mr. Zarsky had to say.
Mr. Zarsky admitted he had knowledge of the Payless Shoe Store crime and the 3 other crimes the SPD believed he had committed. The victims from the 3 other crimes had cleared Mr. Klein and all was hidden by the Washoe County District Attorney’s office.
In 2010 Ms. Brown filed suit against the NDOC in the wrongful death of Nolan Klein. During the discovery process Ms. Brown discovered that the Attorney General’s office had withheld evidence in one of Nolan’s federal civil cases against the NDOC. Ms. Brown claims that ultimately this new development with regard to this evidence had a profound adverse effect on Mr. Klein’s 2007 Parole Board hearing and 2008 Compassionate Release Pardon.
Brown then filed suit Tonja Brown v NDOC, Governor Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Katherine Cortez Masto, Secretary of State Ross Miller, DAG William Geddes, DAG Kara Krause in Carson City, NV for Breach of Settlement Agreement. Trial is set for next April 2015.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s office is drafting legislation to require “kill switches” on cell phones sold in the state. The switch allows the owner to remotely disable the phone if it is stolen, creating a disincentive for thieves, but it also allows others—such as the police—to do the same.
The Cortez Masto draft may be unnecessary by the time it is submitted to the Nevada Legislature. Given the huge size of the California market—the state makes up just over 12 percent of the population of the United States—it’s possible that phone manufacturers will build the kill switches into all models rather than provide switch-free versions to states that have no such requirement.
The attorney general is allowed to request up to 20 drafts of legislation from the legislative bill drafters. But Cortez Masto is termed out and will be out of office by the time the legislature goes into session next year, so it will be the decision of her successor whether to continue with the kill switch measure. Candidates for the job are Republican Adam Laxalt and Democrat Ross Miller.
Mobile carriers say the switches will make smart phones more susceptible to hackers and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a letter to California legislator Susan Bonilla, opposed the legislation, saying the technology was already available on an optional basis and the legislation “is not explicit about who can activate such a switch. … [M]andating a solution through legislation is not the right approach.”
But Consumers Union supported the legislation, less for theft prevention than because the smart phones contain so much private information. The organization conceded that kill technology is already available but said its inclusion in devices should be mandatory by law. “Every smart phone should be required to have a ‘kill switch’ that lets you wipe personal information off your device,” it said in a prepared statement. “What’s more, you should be able to disable your phone remotely to make it inoperable to thieves. And if you’re fortunate enough to get your phone back, it should be easy to reactivate.”
On Aug. 11, 2011, during protests on Bay Area Rapid Transit stations against a police killing of a homeless man, BART disabled cell service to four stations to hamper coordination of the protests. That angered some residents who joined the subsequent day’s protest. It also sparked a Federal Communications Commission investigation of BART and prompted the California Legislature to pass a law limiting official interference with cell transmissions.
It’s not just community groups whose work could be disrupted. The Columbia Journalism Review described the problem for photographers and reporters: “You’re a journalist covering a street protest, and the local police chief doesn’t like the photos you’re tweeting from your iPhone. One shows an officer arresting a minister. Another shows a protester surrendering as an officer chokes him. Yet another shows a teargas canister landing near a group of young people. The batons and rubber bullets come out, and the chief remotely disables the journalist’s iPhone, rendering it useless.”
The blockage may not stop reporting of a news event, but it slows things down until law enforcement gets all its ducks and spin doctors in a row and may well get its account of an event out before on-the-scene observers. In California, that would likely be illegal under the post-BART protest law, but what are the chances that local prosecutors will charge the police with a crime? In Nevada, there is no crime to charge.
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Secretary of State touted his work enforcing Nevada’s election law while his opponent Adam Laxalt pointed to his legal experience in the military in a debate over who should be Nevada’s next attorney general.
Democrat Miller and Republican Laxalt squared off Saturday morning at the annual Nevada Press Association convention in North Las Vegas, fielding questions about public records, sparring about the ethics of politicians accepting gifts and comparing resumes.
“My broad range of legal experience makes me most qualified for this job,” said Laxalt, 36, a first-time candidate who worked as a private attorney in Las Vegas for three years and previously served as a judge advocate general in the U.S. Navy.
“I have experience solving real problems,” said Miller, 38, pointing to his work as a prosecutor in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and noting that he investigated even organizations friendly to his party during his two terms as secretary of state.
The forum, held before Nevada journalists and moderated by Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius, focused largely on how the attorney general would enforce public records laws. Miller cited examples from his work in campaign finance disclosure as secretary of state, while Laxalt spoke broadly in favor of transparency but acknowledged he was unfamiliar with some of the finer points of open meeting and public records laws.
Attorney General candidate Ross Miller (D) made it clear where he stands on equal treatment under the law.
Asked whether there should be a cap on the fees public agencies can charge to pull up public records, Miller pointed out that there’s a real cost to assigning staff members to the task and processing documents.
“We’ve absolutely got to set a rate that’s reasonable,” Miller said. “We don’t want a standard in place that allows people to shut down government … It’s got to be reasonable, and there’s got to be balance.”
Laxalt said he believed transparency is essential and said he was willing to “roll up his sleeves” and work on the issue just like he’d done in the military, but he also said he didn’t know what would constitute a reasonable fee.
The two sparred about politicians accepting gifts, an issue prominent in attack ads run against Miller. Laxalt criticized Miller for taking more than $70,000 in gifts over a five-year period and vowed he would not accept any.
“My opponent has shown what I believe is a reckless habit of taking gifts,” Laxalt said. “I think it makes people wonder if their government works for them or for special interests.”
Miller shot back, saying many of the gifts he accepted were scholarships for educational seminars that have made him a stronger leader. He added that he’s disclosed more information than most politicians would because he’s a champion of transparency and wants voters to make their own judgments about the individual gifts.
“The entire reason that’s out there is I went above and beyond to put that out there,” Miller said. He also challenged Laxalt to disclose more records from his personnel file.
“We don’t know who he is or what he stands for,” Miller said.
The personnel file became an issue this summer when an unflattering job performance review from a Las Vegas law firm was leaked to the press.
The candidates also fielded questions about whether they’d defend Nevada laws that they might disagree with. It stemmed from an instance in which Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto declined to sue over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in spite of then-Gov. Jim Gibbons’ request.
Laxalt said he couldn’t foresee a situation in which he’d decline to follow a lawsuit that the governor requested.
“The last thing I want to do is to send a message that I wouldn’t enforce laws,” Laxalt said. But “If it was something that I felt was somehow unconstitutional, I’d have to very much evaluate that.”
Miller said it was hard to say what he would have done in the same situation, but said he would decline to sue “only in the rarest of circumstances.”
“You can certainly envision statues in place that would be clearly unconstitutional and based on those, I wouldn’t defend those,” Miller said, giving examples of laws requiring people to wear a Star of David or reinstituting slavery. “The attorney general is the state’s top attorney. That individual has to be a true leader.”
Adam Laxalt for Nevada Attorney General
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