Posts Tagged ‘Krolicki’

$280,000 NDOT Contract Put On Hold After Concerns Raised By Gov. Sandoval, Transportation Board Members

By Sean Whaley | 2:34 pm November 14th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A 23-month, $280,000 contract approved by the Nevada Department of Transportation for a private sector individual to work as a liaison between the agency and contractors seeking work has been put on hold because of concerns expressed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and other members of the NDOT Board of Directors.

The contract with William “Buzz” Harris to serve as an ombudsman between the agency and bidders on contracts was approved by the agency in September, but NDOT Director Susan Martinovich said it will be put on hold while concerns raised today at the board meeting are resolved.

The board was told the $280,000 is the amount that can be spent on the services provided by Harris from August through June 2013, but is not guaranteed. Harris, who was selected after a request for proposals was issued by the agency, would be paid $100 an hour under the contract, which would include most of his expenses.

Courtesy of NDOT.

But Sandoval, who serves as chairman of the NDOT Board of Directors, noted the potential contract cost is well in excess of what even he earns as governor.

Other members of the board also raised questions about the contract, including Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who said such positions are usually filled internally by an agency rather that bringing in someone from the outside.

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, also a member of the board, asked for information about who submitted proposals for the contract.

“My understanding is historically and traditionally an ombudsman position is contained within the respective department, and that person would have an encyclopedic knowledge of the operation,” Sandoval said. “With an external ombudsman, that person will in turn have to get a hold of somebody who is within the office to perhaps respond to those questions.”

There are a lot of unanswered questions that need to be answered in regard to the contract, including the cost, he said.

Harris is a former assistant executive director at the Nevada Associated General Contractors.

Assistant Transportation Director Richard Nelson, said the purpose of the contract is to provide a problem solver and facilitator for contractors seeking to do business with the agency. Harris has a good working knowledge of both the contracting business and NDOT, he said.

Reporting on the success of the program to NDOT is part of the contract as well, Nelson said.

“There is a lot of nuance to dealing with the department,” he said. “And a lot of times these new contractors don’t know what questions they should be asking. And we don’t want to see any contractor go under because they get balled up in the bureaucracy.”

-

Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he has concerns with the nature of the contract in addition to the cost:

111411Sandoval :23 to those questions.”

Assistant Transportation Director Richard Nelson, said the purpose of the contract is to provide a problem solver and facilitator for contractors:

111411Nelson :18 should be asking.”

 

 

State Attorney General Defends Record, Denies Playing Politics Under Fire from Opponents

By Sean Whaley | 3:55 pm September 27th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Catherine Cortez Masto points to a number of accomplishments in her first term as attorney general, from reducing methamphetamine production in Nevada to cracking down on mortgage fraud, all while having to live with major budget cuts and fewer staff.

Masto, a Democrat running for a second term, faces Republican attorney Travis Barrick and Las Vegas attorney Joel Hansen, who is running as the Independent American Party candidate, in the Nov. 2 general election.

Both Barrick and Hansen criticize Masto for two controversies in her first term: her misguided and unsuccessful effort to prosecute Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki , a Republican, for allegedly misusing college savings funds while state treasurer, and her decision not to follow Gov. Jim Gibbons’ directive to file a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law.

Both candidates question whether Masto has let politics play a role in her decisions as attorney general, a claim she denies.

Masto said people do try to play politics with such cases but that her office does not engage in such conduct.

“It never will be,” she said. “I will always look at it from a legal perspective, what’s the best interest for the state of Nevada; the people I represent.”

Barrick, who went to law school late in life, said many of Masto’s priorities are laudable but that she is failing to pursue other important initiatives as the top law enforcement officer of the state, such as improving the safety of the state prison system, which is dangerous for both correctional officers and inmates, and protecting mining and ranching interests from legal attacks by environmentalists.

Hansen, who says he has more experience than both of the other candidates combined, said as attorney general he would file a “friend of the court” brief in defense of Arizona’s new immigration law. Hansen said he would also push for a similar law in Nevada and if it was challenged, file a counterclaim against the federal government seeking compensation for Nevada for the costs of providing services to illegal immigrants.

Hansen has already filed a private class action lawsuit against the federal health care law, arguing it violates the individual constitutional rights of Nevada residents.

“It wouldn’t be business as usual with me in there,” he said.

Masto is leading in a poll done for the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. It shows Masto with 37 percent to 27 percent for Barrick. “Another party” candidate gets 3 percent in the poll and 22 percent are undecided.

Masto said one of the top issues she pursued upon being elected was methamphetamine production.

“Methamphetamine was a number one issue for us because we led the nation in first time use, both for our kids and our adults,” she said. “From my perspective we’ve done a phenomenal to address it.”

Masto said she worked with the Legislature in 2007 to put the common medicines used in the drug production behind the counter of pharmacies, which led to a huge drop in the number of labs manufacturing the drug in Nevada.

Masto acknowledges that one result of that successful effort has been to see more of the drug smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico. But Masto said she is working with her counterparts in several Mexican states to address the drug importation issue, along with other important cross-border concerns including weapons trafficking, money laundering and human trafficking.

The efforts have produced results, as seen by the higher price and lower quality of meth found in Nevada, she said.

Now that meth use is under some control, a new threat is young people looking through the family medicine cabinets for drugs. As a result, Masto said the state and local governments are offering prescription drug roundups to collect and properly dispose of unneeded medications.

Masto said she is also working to address domestic violence, consumer fraud, especially for senior citizens, those who prey on families who face foreclosure, and Medicaid fraud, among many other issues.

With domestic violence, Nevada now leads the nation in the number of women murdered per capita as a result of domestic violence, she said. A gun is the weapon of choice in most of these cases, Masto said.

The state recently received a federal grant to perform a review of domestic violence fatalities with the goal of learning how to address the issue, Masto said. It will be a collaborative effort involving law enforcement, treatment providers, elected officials and others, she said.  As chairwoman of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council, Masto said the state workers with the batterers as well to try to stem the violence.

“We’re doing all this with less,” she said.

Her employees are taking unpaid furloughs, but they also come in after hours to get their work done without being paid overtime, Masto said.

Masto said she has reached out to work with law enforcement and other groups involved in the various issues pursued by her office as a way of stretching scare resources even further. As a result, every major law enforcement agency in the state has endorsed her campaign, she said.

Masto has faced a few controversies in her first term as the top law enforcement office in the state overseeing the state’s largest law firm. Masto and Gibbons, a Republican, faced off over whether the state should sue over the new federal health care reform law.

Masto declined to intervene, saying the challenges under way did not require Nevada’s involvement and her office’s scarce resources could be devoted to other pressing issues. Gibbons went ahead independently to sue over the health care law.

Masto also took some pointed criticisms for pursuing the case against Krolicki, which was thrown out by a Clark County judge last year. Krolicki had been facing criminal charges regarding the expenditure of funds for a college savings program. Krolicki denied any wrongdoing and said the failed prosecution was politically motivated. Krolicki is running for a second term as lieutenant governor.

Regarding the health care challenge, Masto said she is a firm believer in states’ rights and has defended them, but her office has to pick and choose where to spend scarce resources.

“We have the highest unemployment rate, highest bankruptcy, highest foreclosure, these people are concerned, rightfully so, about how they are going to survive and keep food on the table,” she said. “So from my perspective if I have the ability to assist them in some form or fashion that is where I’m going to focus.”

The health care and Krolicki issues, along with Masto’s decision not to investigate former state nuclear projects director Bob Loux over a salary controversy, are the reasons cited by Barrick for running against Masto.

Masto, citing a conflict of interest, turned the Loux investigation over to the Washoe County Sheriff for investigation in September 2008. No results have yet been reported.

Barrick, who worked as a contractor for many years before going back to school and eventually earning a law degree, said he filed for the race because he did not see a conservative seeking to challenge Masto.

Barrick said his campaign is about bringing integrity to the job.

“One of the knocks on my candidacy is that I am a relative newcomer to Nevada politics,” he said. “My response to that was, the other side of that is, I don’t owe anybody any favors at all. You can see that just in the campaign contributions I have not received.”

While contributions are limited, Barrick said he defeated a GOP opponent in the primary who outspent him four to one, suggesting money in itself doesn’t decide who will win an election.

While supporting those goals Masto is pursuing, Barrick said he is concerned about the issues that are not getting the attention they deserve.

“I think the prison system is a mess,” he said.

Since the attorney general is a member of the Board of Prison Commissioners, Barrick said he would work to create a safer environment in the state’s prisons.

“My conscience will not allow me as a Nevada citizen to stand by and allow our prisons system to be barbaric both to the correctional officers and to the inmates,” he said.

Barrick said he also has questions about a controversial labor commissioner ruling in support of a tip pooling policy instituted by Wynn Resorts to include supervisors.

“The rich and powerful in this state are being given a pass on bad acts,” he said.

Hansen said he believes Masto’s priorities as attorney general have been misguided. In particular, she was obligated to file a lawsuit challenging the health care law when asked to do so by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

“So she violated her duty,” he said. “She had no right to say no. I filed a private class action lawsuit because she failed to file one.”

Hansen said he would also seek to follow the lead of the Ohio attorney general, who sued several major Wall Street firms on behalf of the investors of the state and won a $1 billion settlement from American International Group, Inc. (AIG) and lesser amounts from other firms.

“What was our attorney general doing with her time while the Ohio attorney general was getting $1 billion for Ohio,” Hansen asked. “Well what she was doing is going after Brian Krolicki and getting thrown out of court because it was groundless. That’s what she did. That’s what she did for Nevada.”

Hansen said as attorney general he would also undertake a review of the various local gun laws in the state, particularly the requirement in Clark County that handgun owners register their weapons, to ensure their constitutionality. Hansen would then challenge any that violate the Second Amendment.

“I’m the most qualified and experienced candidate in this race,” he said. “And I don’t think anyone can deny that. That’s the truth.”

___

Audio clips:

Masto says she has worked to combat methamphetamine abuse in her first term:

092410Masto1 :19 a phenomenal job.”

Masto says she has worked directly with her Mexican counterparts to fight drug trafficking:

092410Masto2 :18 of our countries.”

Masto says she works collaboratively with law enforcement and others to make scarce resources go further:

092410Masto3 :27 find the solutions.”

Masto says she has focused on the issues that mean most to Nevadans:

092410Masto4 :17 going to focus.”

GOP AG candidate Travis Barrick says he has integrity and owes no one any favors:

092410Barrick1 :24 have not received.”

Barrick says Masto not working on important issues:

092410Barrick2 :13 of Prison Commissioners.”

Barrick says he would tackle prison problems as attorney general:

092410Barrick3 :17 other for it.”

Barrick says miners and ranchers aren’t being represented:

092410Barrick4 :09 are being represented.”

IAP AG candidate Joel Hansen says he has already challenged health care law on his own:

092410Hansen1 :47 way we want.”

Hansen says he would emulate Ohio AG and seek damages from Wall Street for Nevada investors:

092410Hansen2 :36 know about it.”

Hansen says Masto wasted time on Krolicki prosecution instead of recouping money lost by Nevada investors:

092410Hansen3 :17 did for Nevada.”

Hansen says he is the most qualified candidate:

092410Hansen4 :17 that’s the truth.”

Governor’s Conference On Tourism To Return In December After Two-Year Hiatus

By Sean Whaley | 11:04 am June 3rd, 2010

CARSON CITY – The popular Governor’s Conference on Tourism will return in December after a two-year hiatus, Gov. Jim Gibbons and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki announced today.

The conference put on by the Nevada Commission on Tourism, NCOT, had been put on hold due to budget limitations.

“It was a difficult decision to put the conference on hold, but the economy and strained budgets required NCOT to do so,” said commission Chairman Krolicki. “The conference has become a staple of learning and networking for Nevada’s tourism industry, and it’s with great pleasure we can resume this valuable program.”

Gibbons said the costs of the conference have been scaled back because of the state’s fiscal problems, but that a full spectrum of content will be offered.

“As we move toward fiscal recovery we must support the needs of Nevada’s tourism industry, a staple of our state’s economic base,” Gibbons said.

The conference will take place at the Peppermill Resort Casino in Reno, and the schedule will be condensed into two days, Dec. 7 and 8. It will focus heavily on analyzing current travel trends in order to understand economically induced changes to who is traveling, how they’re traveling and how to reach them. The registration fee will also be significantly reduced from previous years to reflect the shorter yet high-caliber schedule.

“Professional development is one of those things that often gets cut in tough times, but it’s still so essential to the health of our industry,” NCOT Director Dann Lewis said. “We wanted to offer a concentrated program that won’t take individuals away from their desks too long or cause a financial hardship but gives them useful tools to take back to work and apply.”

The 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is partnering with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), which is holding a conference Dec. 8-10 on social media marketing. The Reynold’s School of Journalism, College of Business and Extended Studies program are hosting the http://smart.unr.edu/ conference (Social Media at Reno-Tahoe) and will help develop and promote the Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

More information on the Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be announced as speakers are confirmed.

Democrat Lieutenant Governor Candidates Debate, Criticize GOP Incumbent and One Another

By Sean Whaley | 1:51 pm May 13th, 2010

RENO – One Democrat running for lieutenant governor criticized the GOP incumbent for being invisible in the job, and all three Democrat candidates appearing at a debate Wednesday evening took jabs at each other as the June 8 primary election day draws near.

Paul Murad, a small business owner from Las Vegas and Robert Randazzo, owner of a management consulting firm and resident of Sparks, emphasized their private sector business experience and successes as qualifications for the job now held by Republican Brian Krolicki.

Reno City Councilwoman Jessica Sferrazza said she is the only candidate who has a record of success as an elected official that gives her an advantage in taking on the Republican nominee in the general election.

Krolicki is running for another term but faces Henderson businesswoman Barbara Lee Woollen in the primary. Independent American candidate Ryan Fitzgibbons will also appear on the November general election ballot.

The Democrat lieutenant governor debate, the only one scheduled for Northern Nevada before the primary, was attended by three of the four candidates. Bob Goodman, a former director of economic development and tourism for Nevada and resident of Pahrump, was unable to appear.

The discussion initially involved only Murad, who noted that his real estate brokerage firm has survived through the tough economic times in Southern Nevada, and Randazzo, who said his firm has grown to include employees in multiple states and countries.

Sferrazza was not expected to attend due to a Reno City Council meeting, but arrived about 30 minutes into the discussion at the Joe Crowley Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno.

She quickly made up for lost time, calling herself the only life-long Democrat among the three candidates, and the candidate with all the major Democrat endorsements. She also pointed to her job creation efforts on the Reno City Council, including an emphasis on green energy development.

“I’m the only one up here who can say that I’ve actually done something,” she said. “The bottom line is our current lieutenant governor has to go. He is the invisible man. With the highest foreclosure rate in the country and the unemployment rate over 13 percent, we need somebody in there who can get the job done.”

Murad said he is not a career politician but someone who can bring fresh ideas to the position. The best candidate is one who can reach out to voters of all parties, and Murad said he is that candidate.

Randazzo said contrary to Sferrazza’s comment that he hasn’t done anything, he has a track record of job creation.

“While the city of Reno has been laying people off in record numbers because of poor budget management, because of budget mismanagement, I have continued to grow a business,” he said. “As hard as I try, I cannot hire as many people as the city of Reno can lay off.”

Sferrazza responded that the city avoided layoffs for as long as possible because the council created a rainy day fund.

She asked Randazzo how many employees he has in Nevada.

Randazzo said he would like to move all of his domestic employees to Nevada but he cannot do so.

“I can’t because our education system simply will not support the development of a high tech company that requires the type of skills and employees that my company needs,” he said. “We have continually let our students and our teachers and our academic environment down.”

If money is the deciding factor in the race, Sferrazza is the favorite. She reported $106,000 in contributions in her January report filed with the secretary of state’s office. Both Murad and Randazzo reported under $30,000. There was no report for Goodman.

Randazzo said he brings two decades of business success to the table, starting his career cleaning toilets on United Airlines jets. He was promoted to management and worked in international business development and became a pilot.

Randazzo is currently president and CEO of his firm, which he said has quadrupled in size since it began. He has employees in eight states and seven countries.

“We do business with some of the biggest names in the aerospace business,” he said. “And this is a job creation record I am looking to hold up against our incumbent lieutenant governor, a fellow who during the course of the past three and a half years has managed to lose about 335,000 jobs in the state of Nevada.”

Murad said he views the position of lieutenant governor as the state’s chief development officer, the kind of work he has been doing successfully around the world in the private sector. The job also means being an ambassador for economic development and tourism around the country and world.

“We’re not just competing with Tennessee or New Mexico,” he said. “We’re competing with China, Brazil, Korea; and so we need someone that has experience and the background and the understanding of what it takes to get business done internationally.”

Born in the Soviet Union before coming to the U.S. at age 16, Murad said he speaks three languages and has studied in four countries.

“I’ve lived worked and traveled in over 40 countries,” he said.

Randazzo said the lieutenant governor has to focus on job creation in the current economic climate. Randazzo said he would work with the Nevada Legislature to change state law to drive more economic development money to small businesses in the state.

Too much of this investment is going to out-of-state companies working on jobs in Nevada, he said.

“I would like to modify the NRS to require that a percentage of our state’s spending be made with Nevada businesses here in state and within our local communities,” Randazzo said.

Murad said he would seek to immediately build relationships with the governor and lawmakers, many of whom he said he knows through his business and other activities, to develop strategies to bring jobs to Nevada.

Murad said he would then push forward with his “50-50” plan which would seek to go after the 50 largest global companies and 50 largest domestic companies in an effort to lure them to invest in Nevada. He would also push for a rail connection between the northern and southern parts of the state.

Sferrazza said her first goal as lieutenant governor would be to work with the Legislature to properly fund education.

“We’ve got to fund our educational system,” she said. “It really is an oxymoron when we are providing economic development initiatives and carving out funding for education at the same time.”

The lieutenant governor, who presides over the state Senate when the Legislature is in session, also serves as the chair of both the Nevada Commission on Tourism and the Nevada Commission on Economic Development. The lieutenant governor also serves as acting governor when the governor is absent from the state.

Lt. Gov. Krolicki says Nevada Missed Out on Chance to Protect Tobacco Settlement Funds

By Sean Whaley | 4:46 pm May 6th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki says it is now clear the Nevada Legislature should have “securitized” the money the state was scheduled to receive as part of a settlement with the tobacco companies a decade ago to protect it from the current reality of lower than expected annual payments.

Securitization essentially would have sold off the future value of the annual tobacco payments projected to come to the state over 25 years to investors, projected at $1.2 billion, for a lesser upfront value, allowing the state to receive and invest about $500 million.

Krolicki, asked this week about the failed securitization effort in response to the current financial problems facing the Millennium Scholarship program, said the evidence is in.

“It is no longer opinion, it is reality,” he said. “After the passage of a decade, we now know the answer to the question. We should have securitized.”

Tobacco settlement revenue predictions a decade ago suggested the state would get nearly $52 million this year, but the state actually received just under $42 million, Krolicki said.

“We’re getting very roughly a 20 percent haircut from where we thought we would be 10 years ago,” he said.

Krolicki, who served as Nevada State Treasurer for two terms when the master settlement agreement with the tobacco companies was signed by Nevada and 45 other states, proposed the securitization concept to the 2001 Legislature. Using the process would have protected the money from the vagaries of the tobacco industry and the annual payment estimates that have now proven to be overly optimistic, he said.

The securitization effort, and another attempt in 2003, both failed to win legislative support.

Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, who voiced concerns about the proposal in 2001, disagrees with Krolicki’s assessment that securitization was the right move.

“Securitization would have in my opinion caused us to run out of money a long time ago,” she said. “With securitization you get pennies on the dollar. It would have probably been used up the first time we were hit with a financial crisis.”

Securitization was essentially a bet that the tobacco companies were going to go out of business and so would have stopped sending annual payments to Nevada under the master settlement agreement negotiated more than a decade ago, Buckley said.

“That didn’t happen,” she said. “People are still smoking.”

Krolicki maintains that using securitization would have protected Nevada from the reality that payments from the tobacco companies are declining because people are smoking less.

From Fiscal Year 2001 through 2010, the state has received $416.1 million in tobacco settlement funds, according to information provided by the Treasurer’s Office. Projections used by Krolicki in 2001 showed the state anticipated receiving $469.1 million or nearly 13 percent more during the same period.

In part because of declining cigarette consumption, Nevada’s payment this year was about $5 million less than what the Treasurer’s Office had projected and has affected the solvency of the scholarship program.

Krolicki’s securitization proposal, contained in Senate Bill 488, passed the Senate by an 18-3 vote in 2001 but never emerged from the Assembly Judiciary Committee for a vote.  Minutes from the committee hearings show there were concerns about the idea of giving up $1.2 billion worth of tobacco payments over 25 years in exchange for an estimated $500 million.

“I wish we would have done it,” Krolicki said. “If we had locked in the amount of money we thought we would receive, the programs funded with the money would still be very viable.”

The market has fluctuated since 2001 but the money today would be largely intact, he said.

A number of states went the securitization route with their tobacco funds a decade ago, including North Dakota, Alaska, Alabama and South Carolina. The value of the settlement money at the time had a higher credit rating than Nevada-backed bonds, he said. Today their status is junk and the securitization opportunity has been lost, Krolicki said.

Buckley said states that used securitization for their tobacco funds have long since spent the money.

Nevada is still receiving its annual payments, she said.

The issue isn’t securitization but the fact that the College Savings Plans board did not transfer $2 million to the scholarship in March as lawmakers anticipated, Buckley said. In addition, the scholarship is a victim of its own success with many students taking advantage of it, particularly during this economic downturn, she said.

The scholarship is provided to Nevada high school graduates who must earn a minimum GPA and who go on to college in state.

The Legislature in 1999 agreed to use 40 percent of the settlement funds for the scholarship program proposed by then-Gov. Kenny Guinn. The remainder goes to public health related programs except for a small amount that goes to the Nevada Attorney General’s office.

Buckley also noted that some Assembly Republicans, along with Krolicki, proposed securitizing the Unclaimed Property Fund managed by the state Treasurer’s Office as a way to help balance the budget in the special session held earlier this year.

Lawmakers chose not to move forward on the proposal after current Treasurer Kate Marshall said such a move could hurt the state’s credit rating.

Buckley, who will not be returning to the Legislature next year, said she believes the scholarship program should and will be continued. A temporary solution is needed to fund it through 2011, giving the Legislature time next year to consider ways to fit the program within the available funds, she said.

Giving the scholarship only to those in financial need is one likely topic for that discussion, Buckley said.

Krolicki, who is running for re-election as lieutenant governor, said he supports continuation of the scholarship. As chairman of the Commission on Economic Development in his current position, the scholarship is clearly helping generate the educated workforce Nevada needs for its economic development efforts, he said.

But he did criticize Marshall’s office for failing to properly project tobacco revenues for lawmakers so they could make informed judgments to maintain the program.

Lawmakers would not have eliminated transfers to the scholarship from the Unclaimed Property Fund, or transferred money out of the scholarship fund itself, if there was any suggestion doing so would have rendered it insolvent, Krolicki said.

Lawmakers approved taking $32.8 million in total from the scholarship at a special session earlier this year to help solve a more than $800 million shortfall in the state’s general fund budget.

“People need to take responsibility for their actions and projections,” Krolicki said.

Marshall said today the missed tobacco payment projection was a first for her office and has come at a time of unprecedented economic crisis.

Marshall reported to lawmakers this week the scholarship needs about $4.2 million to say solvent through next fiscal year. She has presented three alternatives to keep the program going that lawmakers will consider in June.

“During our global financial crisis there have been a lot of firsts,” she said. “Part of my job in a financial crisis is to find financial solutions I can present to the Legislature so they have options. I have provided leadership and I am proud of my record.”

In a letter to lawmakers sent Monday, the Treasurer’s Office said the record shows Marshall expressed concerns to lawmakers that the decision to use $32.8 million destined for the program to balance the general fund budget could put it at risk. Information was posted on the office website to keep parents and students informed as well.

Marshall also said the annual tobacco payment came in April, several weeks after the Legislature had made its decisions regarding the scholarship funding.

In a fact sheet posted on the treasurer’s website, the reason for the lower than expected tobacco payment received in April is because national tobacco sales were down about 9 percent.

“However, there is no present information that would clearly indicate that the lower-than-projected amount was an anomaly or a pattern for future payment amounts,” the fact sheet says.

GOP Consultant Calls State Treasurer Hypocrite for Radio Ads

By Sean Whaley | 9:58 am April 27th, 2010

CARSON CITY – A spokesman for Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall is rejecting any suggestion that her participation in radio ads to promote a children’s contest involving a college savings program is aimed at helping her re-election campaign.

But a campaign consultant for her GOP opponent called Marshall a hypocrite for engaging in the same practice she criticized her predecessor for doing, and for “pushing the envelope” by running ads after the close of filing for office.

The radio ads encourage children from kindergarten to fifth grade to participate in the contest, the theme of which is: “I want to go to college so I can become a______.” Six students will receive a prize of a $529 gift to be used to open a college savings plan account or to enhance an existing account.

Steve George, public information officer for Marshall, said the $12,000 radio campaign was approved by the College Savings Plans Board.

“It takes about two seconds for her to say, ‘This is state Treasurer Kate Marshall’ out of a 30-second or 60-second commercial,” he said.

The ads are aimed at children who can’t vote, George said.

The college savings programs are managed by the treasurer’s office but do not involve any state funds, he said. Parents who open accounts pay fees to fund the operating costs of the program.

Ryan Erwin, a campaign consultant for Steve Martin, a former state controller who is running against Marshall as a Republican, said Marshall, “is rapidly becoming a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do case.”

“She may be the biggest hypocrite in Nevada politics today, and that is a high bar to reach,” he said.

Erwin said Marshall was a vocal critic when former treasurer, now GOP Lt. Gov Brian Krolicki, appeared in college savings ads. While not suggesting Marshall has violated any laws, it is a violation of common sense, he said.

Using a state managed program to get her name out in an election year, even in a modest radio ad campaign, is still hypocritical, Erwin said.

Krolicki faced more than just criticism over the ads he appeared in. The commercials became part of an investigation into Krolicki’s handling of the college savings program by Democrat Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto after concerns were raised by Marshall. The ads stopped in 2006 before Krolicki filed for lieutenant governor.

Krolicki was indicted in December 2008 on charges of misallocating funds for the program, but earlier this year a Clark County district judge dismissed the case and Masto declined to pursue the matter further. Krolicki said the prosecution was political and that he had done nothing wrong.

The use of the airwaves by state elected officials to promote various programs has also been raised by the Nevada Republican Party in an ethics complaint against Secretary of State Ross Miller, who appeared in a TV ad promoting the U.S. Census. The ad featured fighters with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Miller is also running for re-election.

Miller told the Las Vegas Sun the allegation in the complaint was “silly.”

Ciara Turns, communications director for the state GOP, said the Marshall radio spot issue has not yet been reviewed, but added it could become part of an ethics complaint in the future.

Both Marshall and Miller also face GOP complaints that they violated campaign laws by listing their state offices as contact points for their campaigns. Marshall said the criticism is baseless because the Secretary of State’s office inadvertently posted the incorrect phone number for her campaign contact. Miller called the complaint a frivolous campaign ploy.

More Goose/Gander Talk re: Our Public Officials

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:59 am April 22nd, 2010

I recently wrote a What’s-Good-for-the-Goose post re: Sec of State Ross Miller’s decision to let Dem Assemblywoman Kathy McClain off the hook for misuse of campaign funds in return for a public slap on the wrist and generous donation to a local charity.

Steve Sebelius of LV CityLife now also invokes Ma and Pa geeses — and in the process pens a pretty good one re: another ethics matter involving Ross Miller.  Steve’s take, followed by my agreement, plus an interim suggestion:

A word about celebrity pols

The state Republican Party has filed an ethics complaint against Secretary of State Ross Miller, who appears in a television ad urging Nevada residents to participate in the 2010 census. It won’t likely go anywhere; Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki’s appearance in ads for the state’s college savings program when Krolicki served as treasurer was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Commission.

But Ryan Erwin, a campaign consultant to Krolicki, says there’s a double-standard, inasmuch as Democrat Miller has received much less criticism for his star-turn in the census ad than Republican Krolicki got for his appearances in the college savings ads. What’s good for the Republican goose should be good for the Democratic gander, he says.

And he’s right.

As the No. 1 critic of Krolicki’s appearance in the college-savings ads, I should note there are some facts that differ between the two situations. Krolicki took personal charge of advertising dollars, outside the state’s regular accounting system, and overspent the budget in the process, an audit later showed. (He was indicted for mishandling those funds, but the case was dismissed late last year.)

But the basic nature of what Krolicki did is exactly the same in Miller’s case: A state official appearing in state-paid TV ads, which tends to constitute free publicity for a person who needs publicity in order to get re-elected someday. And, in both cases, it’s unseemly.

There’s no doubt that incumbency has its perks. Krolicki can hold a news conference and get a gaggle of reporters pretty much any time he wants; his opponents, not so much. Miller can schedule a briefing on election procedures, and he’ll get himself on TV and in the newspapers. His challengers have no such ability. That’s just the way it is.

But these ads are something else entirely. They’re only tangentially related to holding office, and there is absolutely no need whatsoever for an elected official to appear therein, especially when those officials are running for re-election.

In Las Vegas and Clark County governments, there’s a policy that says an elected official cannot appear on city- or county-run television channels or in government-published newsletters while they are running for office (defined as that period of time from when a person files for re-election until Election Day). The policy was enacted after criticism — some from me — that such appearances were essentially a taxpayer-financed promotion of a political candidacy.

Perhaps a similar policy could be enacted at the state level.

Such a policy would not only reduce the disadvantage for challengers, but would also protect elected officials from ethics complaints and the appearance they are using their office (and state funds) in order to buy free publicity that cannot but help their re-election. This would, of course, apply to all elected officials, regardless of party. Because what’s wrong for a Republican is also wrong for a Democrat.

Yep.  What he said.

And furthermore, all elected officials who are also candidates ought to voluntarily cease the practice of starring in state-funded TV ads until such time as new policy can be crafted and passed.

Any elected officials willing to be first out with That pledge to the taxpayers?

AD: Lt. Gov.’s Race Gets Wacky

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:24 am April 2nd, 2010

Anjeanette Damon of the RGJ caught some good quotes from Barbara Woollen on Nevada Newsmakers Wednesday:

Down ticket races such as the lieutenant governor’s race rarely get much attention. But this year’s Republican primary rematch between Las Vegas businesswoman Barbara Lee Woollen and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki is shaping up to be different.

Their 2006 race rivaled even the ugliest judicial races, with Krolicki accusing Woollen of producing pornography and Woollen accusing him of mismanagement as treasurer. Woollen spent $1.6 million of her own fortune in that race.

Yesterday, Woolen was interviewed by Nevada Newsmakers and asked to explain her remarks on a 48 Hours segment exploring the 2006 death of Controller Kathy Augustine.

On that program, Woollen implied Augustine was the victim of a Republican plot to prevent her from exposing a GOP scandal, and not an angry husband. (Augustine’s husband Chaz Higgs is currently serving time in prison for her murder.)

Co-host Ray Hagar asked Woollen if she believed there was a Republican conspiracy to kill Augustine.

“Umm. I don’t know. Albert Einstein once said that, ahh, that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous,” Woollen responded in a somewhat shaky voice. “It was just very coincidental to me her life was threatened two and a half weeks before she was murdered. I don’t know anything for sure. I only know that information that Kathy Augustine had shared with me, obviously prior to her death, about the indiscretions being committed by Brian Krolicki were the very, very same charges that he was indicted on.”

Pressed further by Hagar about whether she believed Higgs was guilty, Woollen responded: “No, I feel he was the actual perpetrator in this case.”

Krolicki was indicted last year on charges of misusing state funds. A Las Vegas judge threw out the charges.

Gov Gibbons Email Blasts: Giant “Contribute” Button Replaced with Giant “Volunteer” Button

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:36 am March 3rd, 2010

No fundraising allowed so soon after a special session, so, a blast from the governor’s office just now (see my comments at the bottom):

“This building [The Nevada Legislature] is full of difficult decisions and Gov. Gibbons’ participation has been instrumental in making these decisions reach the critical point of action” – Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki

Friends,

It’s hard to look around Nevada and not see the toll taken by the current economic crisis. With record unemployment, record home foreclosure rates and dramatically decreasing state revenues, last week I was forced to call the Nevada Legislature into a special session to deal with the nearly $900 million deficit facing the state. Many called it impossible. I was told countless times that the only way to fill this budget gap is to “expand the tax base.” Many were calling for increased taxes on business, insisting that they share the burden of the budget shortfall. But while everyone is suffering during these tough economic times, we can’t tax ourselves out of a situation of our own making.

The answer to these problems is the same one you and I make a daily basis. When our paycheck decreases, we have to decrease spending, so I submitted a budget for the Special Session which would reduce spending.

As the session opened, I submitted a budget which cut state spending by $850 million. After a week of negotiations and many late nights, we were able to reach and agreement which focused on spending cuts instead of more taxes. Instead of placing the burden of balancing our budget on taxpayers, fiscal responsibility has temporarily returned to state government.

The sad truth is this isn’t the end of Nevada’s budget struggles. A recession brought on by Washington politicians is a reality Nevadans have to live with. The next session of the Nevada Legslature will bring even greater challenges with an even greater budget shortfall being forecast already. I will continue to fight for fiscal responsibility and against the proposed tax increases which are still being proposed in Carson City.

I’m committed to continuing to building One Nevada and pushing back against those who expand the reach of government through taxes and government spending. There are many people claiming that they will unite our state and solve our economic recession, but none of them have taken the kind of bold action my administration has to ensure that this recession doesn’t get worse,and those on the other side of the aisle are already gearing up their efforts to promote new business taxes and more government spending on their pet projects.

I vetoed the 2009 tax increases. I called the 2010 special session and was able to get the spending cuts we needed to balance the budget. I have taken an 8% cut in my own pay and asked my staff to do the same. I understand the burdens this recession has placed on Nevada families, and I’m committed to fighting for Nevadans for another 4 years, but I need your help.

Nevadans need to know what is at risk in this election. Please join me in reaching out to voters and sharing with them importance having a strong leader in the governor’s mansion who understands the challenges we are all facing.

As Battle Born Nevadans, we need to stand together and oppose continuing efforts to increase taxes and spending. At this critical time, I need the help of every one of you who believes in our pledge to hold government back to join us in this re-election campaign. Please visit my website and volunteer to tell your community that you want strong leadership in Carson City.

Sincerely,

Jim Gibbons

GIGANTIC VOLUNTEER BUTTON HERE

Krolicki is invoked because this is primary season and he’s a Hero with the base.  If Gibbons makes it to the general, will he repeat all the nice things Raggio, Buckley and Horsford said about him last week as well?  The nicey-niceness — how appreciated and respected Gibbons was for his pro-active participation — was flowing very freely during all the public special session LoveFests…

Ensign to Headline Churchill County Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner

By Elizabeth Crum | 7:39 pm February 18th, 2010

Lahontan Valley News reports.  Other candidates for statewide offices will attend including Brian Krolicki, Danny Tarkanian, Sharron Angle, Mark Amodei, Chad Christensen, Mike Montandon, Brian Sandoval, and Steve Martin.  Assemblymen Pete Goicoechea and Tom Grady are also expected to attend as are a number of Churchill County office holders and candidates.  The event is Saturday night at 6 p.m.

Funny

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:04 pm February 11th, 2010

I like it when either side of the aisle is able to insert a little snark in their PR.  The DSCC gets brownie points for this one today:

DSCC STATEMENT ON BRIAN KROLICKI DECIDING AGAINST A SENATE RUN IN NEVADA

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Eric Schultz released the following statement upon news that Brian Krolicki will not run for the Senate in Nevada:

“Washington Republicans recruited an indicted lieutenant governor because the current crop of candidates includes Sue Lowden who still wants to campaign with John Ensign, Danny Tarkanian who supports dumping nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, and Sharron Angle who wants to let insurance companies refuse to cover mammograms without paying a higher premium.

“With Washington Republicans struggling to find a candidate viable in Nevada, maybe they should see if Dan Coats can move there and give it a try.”

If you don’t know why that’s funny or who Dan Coats is, read this Politico story.

Krolicki Running for Re-election for Lt. Governor

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:38 pm February 11th, 2010

Still on the call with Brian Krolicki.  Here’s the main stuff:

He’s not running for U.S. Senate, as surmised earlier.

Said was not a money decision:  “I believed the resources would be there” and “I did not open up an FEC account but in terms of pledges, I believe we could have raised the seven figures needed to run.”

Said was partially a matter of support:  “Having the right campaign team and the right grassroots volunteers is important…with me starting so late, many had already obligated themselves to other candidates.”

And a matter of campaign talent:  “Also, not having access to the people that have helped me along the way:  Ryan Erwin, who had contracted with another candidate, John Chachas, many months ago…  Ryan, being a decent man, has to honor his contract.”

On other matters:

Question re: mining tax:  “The mining industry in NV and in North America realizes they need to participate in another way” but “We need to make sure we don’t kill the golden goose.”

Update (8:40 p.m.):  Meant to come back and add to this sooner.  I was rushed when I posted this and now I’m just tired, so how about if you go read Steve Sebelius’ write-up at SlashPolitics instead.

Krolicki to Hold Conference Call at 3:00 today

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:43 am February 11th, 2010

Just hit the Inbox:

MEDIA ALERT

Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki to host conference call at 3:00 p.m. (PST) today

WHO: Lt. Governor Brian K. Krolicki

WHAT: Conference Call

Dial-in Number: 1-xxx-xxx-4600

Participant Code: xxxxxx#

(Please note that all media will be able to ask questions – all lines are live)

WHEN: Today – Thursday, February 11, 2010 @ 3:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time)

WHY: Lt. Governor Krolicki will be discussing his 2010 election plans.

Potential candidates usually do not hold formal conferences to announce they are not running for office – unless they are Oscar Goodman, of course – so under normal circumstances, we could assume that Krolicki plans to announce he is jumping into the GOP primary.

However, as @RalstonFlash just pointed out, this is being done by conference call and not press conference so Krolicki is most likely NOT running for U.S. Senate and will probably just seek re-election for LG.

Stay tuned.

Outside Looking In

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:47 am February 5th, 2010

Here’s what The Fix‘s Chris Cillizza had to say about our GOP U.S. Senate primary race (ranked 4th on his list of most interesting Senate races, rated by “overall impact on the national political landscape, the amount of money involved and, of course, their sheer entertainment value”):

4. Nevada Senate (R): With polls showing Senate Majority Harry Reid (D) losing to all comers, the Republican nomination is a precious thing. And yet, the current GOP field is decidedly unimpressive. The latest example? At a debate earlier this week, former state party chairwoman Sue Lowden didn’t attend and businessman Danny Tarkanian arrived late. And, they’re the frontrunners! Throw in a wealthy businessman no one knows (John Chachas) and the state’s lieutenant governor who recently had a criminal indictment against him dropped (Brian Krolicki) and you have all the makings of a great primary. (Previous ranking: 4)

Krolicki has not announced, of course, and many think if he’s wise, he won’t. We’ll see.

Brian Krolicki Announces…

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:37 pm January 29th, 2010

…that his candidacy for the U.S. Senate is “yet to be determined” and that he is in the middle of a very intense due diligence process.

This from/on Jon Ralston’s interview program Face to Face.  Other statements excerpted from Ralston’s exclusive interview with Krolicki this afternoon:

“I need to make sure we have the resources.”

“Last year was an incredible excercise. I believe I was politically abducted for the year by the Attorney General in a partisan attack.”

“The groundswell of support is significant.”

When asked if he was already considering a run before being contacted by folks in D.C.:

“I really didn’t. I thought we had put it to rest, and I was looking at reelection. But the phone calls started happening pretty quickly. Hundreds of people on a weekly basis, calling, urging me, giving support…”

“Sue Lowden, a friend of mine, urged me to get in this race a year ago, 6 months ago.”

When asked about potential hard feelings if he jumps in:

“This is politics.  This is not always a game of Nice in the Sandbox.”

When asked if the NRSC was going to remain neutral:

“They will take stance of neutrality.  They got burned several times already this cycle.”

When asked who has encouraged him if not the NRSC:

“There are elements around the NRSC. There are individual U.S. senators… Folks around Nevada.”

When asked if he was really “amused” by Bob List’s comments, including one that Krolicki was/is “disingenuous”:

“I’m terribly… This process is rattling cages in certain areas. I’ve known Bob List for a very long time. I was surprised…”

and

“If he is working on behalf of the Sue Lowden campaign, that is…  Well, I just think she needs to be careful. If Bob List had had his way, we’d have Guiliani as President, and we’d have a nuclear waste dump here…  I think Sue needs to be careful about her spokespeople.”

When pressed on an announcement date:

“I will try to do it as quickly as possible. It will be before March 12.”

And there you have it, Dear Readers.  Krolicki shakes up the news cycle and says he is going to file no later than the filing date.  That’s the kind of hard-and-fast political news you can always find right here on The Blog at the Nevada News Bureau.