Posts Tagged ‘Rory Reid’

Third And Final Major Campaign Finance Reform Bill On Way To Governor

By Sean Whaley | 3:13 pm June 5th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The third piece of a package of campaign finance reform bills sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller this legislative session is on its way to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his consideration.

The bill was sent to Sandoval today after the Senate on Saturday receded from an amendment it had previously approved to Assembly Bill 81.

AB81 contains a provision restricting the creation of political action committees to circumvent limits on how much money can be contributed to a campaign. The use of multiple PACS became an issue with Rory Reid’s failed gubernatorial bid.

That issue was resolved this past week when Reid agreed to pay a $25,000 administrative penalty to resolve the matter. No wrongdoing was admitted in the settlement.

Miller’s office investigated Reid’s use of 90 shell political action committees his campaign established to funnel $750,000 into his failed race for Nevada governor. Reid has said the use of the multiple PACs was legal.

Another section of AB81 would allow for bigger financial penalties if a third-party group spends money in a Nevada campaign without filing the required disclosure information.

AB81 joins AB82 and AB452 which are already before Sandoval.

AB82 includes a prohibition on candidates accepting campaign contributions from foreign nationals.

AB452 would require on-line filing of campaign contribution and expense reports by most candidates and require earlier reporting of the information so voters could review the data before casting their ballots.

Rory Reid to Pay $25,000 Personal Fine in Mini-PAC Funneling Scheme

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:50 pm June 3rd, 2011

As first reported and now confirmed and Flashed by Ralston a few minutes ago, Rory Reid did indeed violate campaign finance law when he authorized his gubernatorial campaign staff to form 91 shell political action committees that were then used to funnel three quarters of a million dollars into his campaign last year:

Rory Reid agrees to $25,000 fine in PAC scheme

Reid has signed a stipulation that the Secretary of State could well prove in court that he violated campaign finance laws.

SOS believes Reid the Younger broke law involving contributions in the name of another.
But to avoid litigation — and I’d guess, the chance a judge throws out case because of vague laws and Reid seeking counsel’s advice before engaging in scheme — Secretary of State Ross Miller got Reid to agree to hefty fine (largest in SOS history?) and an admission SOS could have proved violation in court.
David Cohen, his campaign manager, and Joanna Paul, his finance expert, will pay $2,500.
Here is the stipulation letter Rory Reid will sign acceding that it is viably provable his campaign was in violation of Nevada statutes and that he agrees to pay the large (personal) fine by the end of the calendar year.
The statement from the Secretary of State:
“My office has thoroughly reviewed the facts relating to this case with the full cooperation of the interested parties. This negotiated settlement ensures the public of my intention to vigorously enforce Nevada’s elections laws.”

 

 

In Redistricting Battle, Political Parties Argue Over “Who Loves Hispanics More”

By Andrew Doughman | 7:00 pm May 11th, 2011

CARSON CITY — A Republican Hispanic governor will soon decide the fate of a Democratic redistricting plan that has both political parties embroiled in a debate over fairness to Nevada’s Hispanic population.

Legislative Republicans, who voted against the plan, and Democrats are each claiming they truly have the best interests of Nevada’s largest minority population in mind as they consider the boundaries of new political districts.

As political columnist Jon Ralston asked on Twitter: “who loves Hispanics more?”

But some people in the Hispanic community object to the odes both parties are singing about fair political representation for the Latino community.

Is the Hispanic community being used?

“It’s quite obvious,” said Fernando Romero, president of the nonpartisan Nevada group Hispanics in Politics.

He said he does not like the Republican plan for Congressional districts because it lumps all Hispanics together in one big group. But he also does not like the Democratic plan, which he said fractures key Latino communities into different districts.

“We are throwing the Democratic plan out of the window,” he said.

Romero said that he and other Hispanic advocacy groups will introduce their own plan for Congressional and state Senate and Assembly districts by the end of this week.

At stake is the power of a new voter bloc comprising 26 percent of Nevada’s population and one of every seven voters in Nevada, a number that could be higher if historically low levels of voter registration in the Hispanic community improve.

The Latino factor also makes Nevada a “key state” during the 2012 presidential elections.

“When you consider we’re about to enter a presidential election year, the Hispanic community is a community everybody is eyeing,” said Javier Trujillo of the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

Political parties could spend millions in attempts to sway Hispanic voters to the left or right, but every 10 years politicians are free — in fact, mandated — to choose the voters themselves. That is their business this year as the Nevada Legislature embarks on the decadal ritual of redrawing political boundaries in accordance with U.S. Census demographic data.

So far, both parties have accused each other of violating the federal Voting Rights Act, which addresses redistricting rules for ethnic minorities, in favor of partisan gain.

“They’ve clearly put their partisan interests ahead of what is morally right for the Hispanic community, and they’ve violated federal law in the process,” said Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas.

Democrats said nearly the same thing in a press release:

“Republicans opposed these maps on a party line vote while trying to mislead Nevadans on the purpose the Voting Right Act to mask their own partisan agenda.”

The Democratic plan passed out of the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday and now awaits Gov. Brian Sandoval’s signature or veto. It creates Congressional districts with Hispanic populations ranging between 20.5 and 33.6 percent of districts’ total populations.

A Republican proposal that did not receive a vote has Hispanics comprising between 14.4 percent and 50.7 percent of Congressional districts’ populations.

Republican Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 32.0% 45.5% 17.7% 9.9% 20.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 35.7% 16.6% 1.9% 20.4%
CD 03 675,138 0 40.8% 37.5% 12.2% 5.5% 14.4%
CD 04 675,137 -1 20.8% 57.8% 44.3% 14.2% 50.7%

Democratic Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 31.9% 47.9% na na 33.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 36.0% na na 20.5%
CD 03 675,138 0 34.4% 44.1% na na 29.2%
CD 04 675,137 -1 35.0% 43.1% na na 22.9%


Nevada’s explosive population growth between 2001 and 2010 earned Nevada one more congressional district, giving Nevada four seats.

UNR political scientist Eric Herzik said during an interview today that behind the squabbling about numbers lies the political reality of the Hispanic vote.

“The issue is not whether the districts are in compliance with federal law,” he said. “This is politics, partisan politics. …They’re both about trying to maximize party influence in districts.”

He said minority groups, including Latinos, tend to vote Democratic.

During the 2010 election, Hispanics overwhelming voted for Democratic candidate Rory Reid in the gubernatorial race and incumbent Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Senate race.

“If you diffuse the Latino vote, you can create more Democratic-leaning votes,” he said.

Likewise, he said the Republican proposal to create a district with more than 50 percent Hispanic population is a “shield” and the Republican party’s public concern is not the “root of their complaint” with the Democratic proposal.

“It works better for them if they can give up one overwhelmingly Democratic district,” Herzik said.

The historical data, however, only goes so far.

Romero contended that Latinos are independent-minded and value fair representation over agreement with Democrats.

“If we did follow party lines we would support the plan the Democrats issued,” Romero said. “We don’t.”

 

 

Campaign Finance And Election Reform Bills Win Approval In Assembly By Deadline

By Sean Whaley | 8:06 pm April 26th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Two bills that would close loopholes and increase transparency in Nevada’s election and campaign finance laws won approval in the Assembly today with no time to spare.

Secretary of State Ross Miller is seeking the bills restricting the use of multiple political action committees to bypass campaign contribution limits and requiring electronic filing of campaign contribution and expense reports by most candidates.

Today was the deadline for the bills to win Assembly approval or see no further consideration in the 2011 legislative session. They will now be considered by the Senate.

Assembly Bill 452 contains the provisions requiring most candidates for public office to file their campaign reports electronically so the data can be entered into a searchable database. The bill also requires the reports to be filed before early voting so voters can see who gave money to candidates and where they spent their funds.

Assembly Bill 81 contains a provision restricting the creation of political action committees to circumvent limits on how much money can be contributed to a campaign as is now being reviewed in Rory Reid’s failed gubernatorial bid.

Miller’s office is investigating Reid’s use of 90 shell political action committees his campaign established to funnel $750,000 into his race for Nevada governor. Reid has said the use of the multiple PACs was legal. The use of the PACs was first reported by political commentator Jon Ralston.

The section of the bill had been deleted by the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee after some lawmakers expressed concern that the language in the bill could be improperly applied to their caucus and leadership PACs as well.

New language that was acceptable to a majority of the Assembly membership was amended into the bill on the Assembly floor before the final vote sending the measure to the Senate.

Another section of the bill would allow for bigger financial penalties if a third-party group spends money in a Nevada campaign without filing the required disclosure information.

The proposed language is intended to clarify state law and allow Miller to count each activity, such as multiple ad buys, as separate violations that could bring civil penalties. The clarification would help ensure compliance with the reporting requirements.

“It’s always been our position that every TV buy was an actionable violation of the statute,” Miller said after the committee vote earlier this month. “We recognize that it could certainly be argued that, in the aggregate, all of those violations only constituted one violation.

“Obviously it is a poor policy because it would allow a significant out-of-state buy and somebody to say, ‘here is your $5,000 fine and that’s an acceptable cost of doing business for us,’ ” he said.

The bill passed on a 32-10 vote with the “no” votes from Republicans. Six Republicans voted for the measure.

AB452, which also contains a controversial provision requiring a two-year cooling off period before a former lawmaker could be paid to work as a lobbyist in the Legislature, passed on a 27-15 vote with a mix of Democrats and Republicans in support.

Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, an attorney, objected to the provision, saying it would prohibit him from representing a client in the Legislature if he left office.

Assemblyman William Horne confers with colleagues on the Assembly floor today/Photo: Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau

“I have a fundamental disagreement with some of my colleagues that you should prohibit someone from doing what they’re gainfully employed to do,” Horne said after the vote.

He said “it’s a fiction” to imagine that two years spent away from the Legislature would erase the relationships he has built as an Assemblyman.

But Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, said that the cooling-off period is all about public perception.

“We want to promote good governance and a process that is free from influence, even if it’s sometimes not,” she said.

Assemblyman Skip Daly, D-Sparks, was a lobbyist before he became a legislator. He also voted against the bill because he said it would restrict a citizen from doing part of a job if that job required lobbying at the Legislature.

He said it would have been better to establish a two-year cooling-off period for a “hired gun” who lobbies at the Legislature as a contract lobbyist.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, commented on the unusual votes: “I think people are just voting their conscience. … I really don’t think there’s a problem, but the public perceives a problem … For me, it was a matter of principle and earning the public’s trust.”

AB452 would require campaign contribution and expense reports to be filed four days before early voting and would be updated to reflect any additional contributions and expenses four days prior to the primary and general elections.

It would also make the Secretary of State’s office the central repository for the campaign reports for all elections, as well as for financial disclosure statements required of candidates and elected officials. These reports would also be filed electronically.

The provisions for electronic filing and earlier filing dates for the reports are being sought  by Miller who has said Nevada’s current reporting laws result in the state getting a failing grade on campaign transparency.

Nevada has consistently received poor grades for its transparency on election reform efforts, including an “F” in 2008 from the Campaign Disclosure Project.

Nevada News Bureau intern Andrew Doughman contributed to this report.

Campaign Reform Bill, Minus Key Section, Wins Approval From Assembly Committee

By Sean Whaley | 5:03 pm April 14th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The third of three campaign finance reform bills being pushed by Secretary of State Ross Miller this session passed out of an Assembly committee today, but an important provision regulating political action committees was removed.

Lawmakers say the deletion of a key provision of Assembly Bill 81 is only temporary.

The section, which is aimed at restricting the ability of a candidate to create multiple PACs to fund a campaign and circumvent contribution limits – as is now being reviewed in Rory Reid’s failed gubernatorial bid – will be restored when suitable language is finalized.

Assembly Bill 81 had to pass out of the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee by Friday or it would not be eligible for further consideration this legislative session.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said the provision is important and he is committed to continue working on the language in Section 59.5 (c) that says “affiliated” political action committees would be collectively restricted on the amounts they could contribute to a campaign.

Another section of the bill sought by Miller, which would allow for bigger financial penalties if a third-party group spent money in a Nevada campaign without filing the required disclosure information, was approved by the committee.

The proposed language in Section 49.5 is intended to give the Secretary of State the ability to seek larger fines from third party groups that fail to follow the reporting requirements in Nevada law, Miller said. The proposal would allow each activity, such as an ad buy, to count as a separate violation that could bring a civil penalty. The clarification would help ensure compliance with the reporting requirements.

“It’s always been our position that every TV buy was an actionable violation of the statute,” Miller said. “We recognize that it could certainly be argued that, in the aggregate, all of those violations only constituted one violation.

“Obviously it is a poor policy because it would allow a significant out-of-state buy and somebody to say, ‘here is your $5,000 fine and that’s an acceptable cost of doing business for us,’ ” he said.

Two other campaign finance reform bills, Assembly Bills 82 and 452, have already been passed out of the committee. AB452 would require candidates to file their campaign contribution and expense reports online and allow the public to search the reports for donor information.

Miller’s office is investigating Reid’s use of 90 shell political action committees his campaign established to funnel $750,000 into his failed race for Nevada governor. Reid has said the use of the multiple PACs was legal.

The use of the PACs by Reid was first reported by political analyst and columnist Jon Ralston.

The language in AB81 is meant to clarify that such PACs are collectively subject to campaign contribution limits.

But some lawmakers have expressed concern that the language in the bill could be improperly applied to their caucus and leadership PACs as well.

Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, vice chairwoman of the panel, said an effort to clarify the intent has not yet been successful.

“We were concerned that it was perhaps too broad and that there could be some instances where there (are) caucuses or related PACs in the future that are affiliated and would inadvertently be caught up in this provision,” she said.

But new language developed to address the concern, “actually made it worse,” Flores said.

Miller said the concerns of legislative leaders on the applicability of the section are legitimate.

“So we’re committed to working with them on language that would be acceptable,” he said.

Panel Chairman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said: “I think it is pretty clear on the record everybody is committed to making this happen, so I think if we struck it, it wouldn’t be like we’re actually getting rid of the language.”

Oceguera pledged to keep working on the issue.

“It’s my pledge Mr. Chairman to you to get this done,” he said. “We think it’s an important piece of legislation, an important part of this legislation, and if we have to do a floor amendment to make it right we will.”

Audio clips:

Assemblywoman Lucy Flores says concerns remain with the current language:

041411Flores 33 made it worse.”

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera says lawmakers are committed to fixing the problem:

041411Oceguera :13 it right yet.”

Assemblyman Tick Segerblom says the deletion is only temporary:

041411Segerblom :06 of the language.”

Secretary of State Ross Miller says the third-party language needs to be clarified:

041411Miller1 :13 constituted one violation.”

Miller says current law is not enough of a deterrent:

041411Miller2 :11 business for us.’ “

 

The Audacity of Rory Reid: 75 Mini-PACs Funneled $750,000 from Leadership PAC to Campaign

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:34 pm March 4th, 2011

Here in the home of the politically audacious, Rory Reid has tested the bounds of boldness and possibly crossed into the land of the unethical. (Whether or not the campaign contribution law Rory thwarted should be on the books - many think it should not – is a topic for another day.)

Based on the law as it exists, Sun columnist Jon Ralston has what looks to be one of the biggest stories of recent times. It may, as he says, ultimately come down to a question of the spirit vs. the letter of the law:

In one of the most brazen schemes in Nevada history, gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid’s campaign formed 91 shell political action committees that were used to funnel three quarters of a million dollars into his campaign, circumventing contribution limits and violating at least the spirit – and maybe the letter – of the laws governing elections.

Reid, who was fully aware of what was done, essentially received more than $750,000 from one PAC – 75 times the legal limit — after his team created dozens of smaller PACS that had no other purpose other than to serve as conduits from a larger entity that the candidate funded by asking large donors for money. Indeed, the shell PACs were formed in the fall and dissolved on Dec. 31, after they had served their short-term function, which was to help the candidate evade campaign contribution laws.

Reid solicited donations for the Economic Leadership PAC, which raised more than $800,000 over a five-month period – donations that were then disbursed in $10,000 increments to dozens of other PACS, which quickly funneled the money back to the candidate’s campaign account.

(Read the whole thing, and check out the link to the Economic Leadership PAC report. Ralston has since posted a partial list of contributors, a legal memo from attorney Paul Larsen to Reid campaign manager David Cohen (saying the scheme was just fine and dandy) and a complete list of the very innocuous sounding mini-PAC names.)

Ralston’s digging reveals that all these mini-PACs had the same Las Vegas residential address — that of Joanna Paul, a Rory Reid staffer. And all the baby PACs were quietly dissolved right after the election. All in all, three-quarters of a million dollars was funneled into Reid’s campaign coffers after short stop-offs at the smaller PACs, effectively sidestepping the legal limits that restrict PAC contributions to just $10,000 per election cycle.

Rory told Ralston today that he not only cleared what he did with his legal counsel but also with the Nevada secretary of state’s office. But Secretary of State Ross Miller told Ralston that neither he nor his staff  remember any such conversations.

Is creating oodles of temporary PACs with deliberately obscured purposes in order to funnel large Leadership PAC contributions into a campaign lawful? And if so, should it be?

We can add these questions to those already created by the controversy over last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case and the subsequent free-flowing money into Nevada’s campaigns.

(Comments welcome below.)

Big Race Blurbs

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:16 pm October 27th, 2010

A few recent items of interest in the three big races from the Nevada page of Battle ’10, where I know many (but not all) of you have been following me since August, Dear Readers:

Senate

  • The expected GOP surge started Monday and continued yesterday. Will it continue?
  • The attorney for the Sharron Angle campaign says she is gathering details in preparation for a complaint to the Secretary of State’s office regarding alleged shennanigans related to voting and polling locations. Will it have teeth?
  • Secretary of State Ross Miller had a press conference today to address all the recent concerns and allegations, including those listed in a 44-page document from the Nevada Republican party. Will this quiet the calls for investigations?
  • Even if this is true, voters can change their choices on voting machines before they advance to the next screen. They can also review and change their votes before they cast their final ballots. (Make sure you review your votes!)
  • Sharron Angle sent flowers and a thank you note to Joy Behar after remarks made ABC’s “The View.”
  • John McCain will join Sharron Angle at a get-out-the-vote rally at the Orleans in Las Vegas this Friday night. Michael Reagan and actor Jon Voight will also be there.
  • The AFL-CIO has been lending a hand to Harry Reid.
  • Who is sending anonymous mailers supporting Scott Ashjian?
  • If you missed Newt Gingrich’s recent visit, we’ve got some good (short) video clips.

House

  • The Joe Heck campaign said the most recent television ad from Team Titus means she is getting desperate.
  • A source inside the Heck campaign today suggested that Dr. Heck would be glad to discuss the matters raised in the ad if his accusers were willing to sign away their HIPPA (medical privacy) rights. As it stands, he is unable to defend himself because he is prohibited from doing so by law.
  • A little bird told me Sheriff Gillispie was none too happy about the ad, either.

Gov

  • Rory and Sandoval debated last night. Both candidates did well and there were some good zingers. Sandoval finally gave voters something on his intentions for the budget — namely, roll back to 2007 spending — but one cannot call it a “plan.” Rory is the man with the plan. One that will soon be collecting dust, the way the polls are looking.

For those who have asked (complained, chided), yes, I’ll be getting back into the swing of things here at the blog — recently rebranded as E!!Politics, as you can see up top — so please check back soon.

And please make sure you are catching my political segments on Channel 13 Action News every Tuesday and Friday at 6:20-ish. We’ll be doing an elections special this Friday at 8 p.m. as well.

Nevada Assembly Majority Leader Says Public Transparency Issues Will Be Major Focus Of 2011 Session

By Sean Whaley | 6:21 am September 10th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera said yesterday he will pursue a number of transparency measures in the 2011 legislative session with an eye towards providing the public with accountability and confidence in how the state spends taxpayer dollars.

Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said Assembly Democrats have been working on a number of ideas since last session, including a two-year “cooling off” period before former state lawmakers and other officials could work as lobbyists.

Oceguera, who is expected to be elected speaker for the 2011 session, said Assembly Democrats want to go even further than some other proposals for a cooling off law to include state regulators and local government officials as well.

“Some of these ideas were part of a bill last session that didn’t make it out of the Senate but made it out of the Assembly,” he said. “So it has been on our radar since at least last session and we’ve tried to refine it and look at what we think we can get passed. But some of the issues we’re going to pass out of the Assembly one way or the other.”

The cooling off proposal predates the recent controversy over former Assemblyman Morse Arberry, who resigned to accept a lobbying contract with the Clark County District Court. The contract was rejected earlier this week by the Clark County Commission.

In announcing the proposals earlier in the week, Oceguera said: “We’re serious about reforming the way Nevada government does its business. Today, we are putting a series of reforms before the public. They are common sense and timely measures, and I will work for bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate.”

Among the reforms Assembly Democrats will pursue include:

- Establishing a two-year cooling off period before an elected official can be hired to lobby the government body where the individual served;

- Creating a two-year cooling off period before an elected official or regulator can be hired to work for any agency they regulated or oversaw;

- Putting the state’s checkbook online where taxpayers can see how tax dollars are spent;

- Putting the entire state budget on the web so taxpayers can see spending priorities;

- Requiring all candidates for public office to report every financial contribution, the amount and donor, online within 72 hours of receipt.

Gov. Jim Gibbons has created a transparency page on state government spending on his website, so at least some of the state budget and spending information is already available to the public.

Oceguera said the Assembly Democrat proposal for reporting campaign contributions goes even further than what is being sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller, who wants earlier reporting of contributions and expenditures as well. Miller also wants reports filed electronically so the public can search the information more easily.

Oceguera said he and Miller worked closely on other measures in 2009 and will likely do so on the campaign reports transparency issue in the upcoming session as well.

Efforts to improve the reporting and usefulness of campaign reports have ended in failure in the past. A proposal to require online reporting for most officials passed the Assembly in 2009 but the provision was deleted in a Senate Committee by Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

Transparency has become an issue for many lawmakers on many different fronts. Many of those running for seats in the state Senate and Assembly have responded to a transparency questionnaire sent out by the Nevada Policy Research Institute. It asks candidates for their views on the posting of state spending information online as well as the need for a searchable database for campaign contributions, among other issues.

Other lawmakers have previously weighed in with their own proposals, including Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, who has proposed a four-year cooling off period for lawmakers and statewide elected officials who want to become lobbyists.

Goedhart also wants a three-day wait before bills are voted on by the Legislature, another transparency proposal included on the NPRI candidate questionnaire.

Assemblyman Joe Hogan, D-Las Vegas, has weighed in with his own plan to change the campaign report filing deadlines to make the reports more useful to voters. He introduced similar legislation in 2009 that did not get a hearing.

Democrat candidate for governor Rory Reid in December released an ethics reform plan that includes a call for a two-year cooling off period before former lawmakers or state employees can represent private interests at the Legislature.

Twenty-six states have such laws. Nevada does not.

___

Audio clips:

Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera says the Assembly will work to get transparency measures passed next session:

090910Oceguera1 :22 or the other.”

Oceguera says Assembly cooling off law would go further than what others are suggesting:

090910Oceguera2 :23 are talking about.”

Reid, Sandoval Debate Education in First Big Head-To-Head

By Sean Whaley | 6:48 am August 30th, 2010

Underdog Democratic candidate for governor Rory Reid took the opportunity at a first debate today with leading GOP candidate Brian Sandoval to challenge his opponent’s commitment to spending on public education.

In his opening remarks, Reid said he has a plan to erase a $2.5 billion shortfall it the state budget without cutting education. Sandoval would cut education and lay off teachers, he said.

Sandoval, leading by double-digits in the polls, parried Reid’s attacks, saying his proposals, including given parents the choice to send their children to private schools with public funding, would not result in teacher layoffs.

Sandoval said Reid’s budget plan would cut education despite his comments to the contrary.

The one-hour debate in Las Vegas, held at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy and broadcast statewide, did not appear to produce any serious political gain for either of the two major party candidates.

Reid emphasized his experience as chairman of the Clark County Commission, saying he has balanced budgets as big as Nevada’s for eight years without raising taxes.

“Strength and consistency is what Nevada needs in its next governor,” he said.

Sandoval said his credentials as a lawmaker, gaming regulator, attorney general and federal judge, and said Nevada’s public education needs a shakeup.

“We need to do something tough, we need to challenge the system, we need to shake up the status quo,” he said.

Both candidates talked up their ideas of giving principals, teachers and parents more power over how to spend tax dollars in the classroom as ways to improve student performance and get more mileage out of the state’s public education investment.

Sandoval said he would achieve local control by using block grants to schools to let them decide how best to spend their limited dollars.

Reid said his proposal would be to let parents take their kids out of failing schools and enrollment them in successful public schools. He called his plan true choice.

“I provide real choice, not the false choice Brian’s plan calls for,” he said.

Reid attacked Sandoval on his support of private school vouchers saying it would take $100 million from public schools to fund the private education of those who could afford it.

In response, Sandoval said choice would create competition and improve education.

Not surprisingly, both camps claimed victory immediately after the debate.

The Reid camp said in part: “If elected in November, Brian Sandoval will continue Jim Gibbons’ shameful legacy of taking money from our children’s classrooms to supplement the state budget. Brian Sandoval does not consider education a priority. Brian Sandoval does not understand the simple fact that we will never get out of this economic slump and draw new industry until we have good schools.”

Sandoval’s commented: “My education plan is a bold approach to challenging the status quo. We must end the social promotion of our children, end teacher tenure and give parents choices to seek the best possible education for their children. It’s time to get serious about reform. Our children deserve nothing less.”

___

Audio clips:

Rory Reid says Brian Sandoval budget plan would cut public education:

082910Reid1 :38 in your classrooms.”

Brian Sandoval says he has plan to shake up public education system:

082910Sandoval 1 :46 will do that.”

Reid says Sandoval voucher plan bad for Nevada children:

082910Reid2 :08 a bad choice.”

Sandoval says Reid plan would cut education:

082910Sandoval2 :10 cut to education.”

Rory Reid Plan To Balance State Budget Without Raising Taxes Gets Favorable Response For Theory, But Details Lacking

By Sean Whaley | 8:50 am August 27th, 2010

CARSON CITY – A plan released today by Democrat governor candidate Rory Reid on how to balance the Nevada state budget without raising taxes received some praise from a free market think tank even though many questions remain, including whether the proposal includes an overly optimistic prediction of future tax revenue growth.

Reid discussed his plan Thursday on the statewide television show Face To Face with Jon Ralston, saying the target he used for a balanced budget was $2.5 billion. If the shortfall is higher, Reid said he has other ideas to close the gap.

Reid said he has balanced budgets as Clark County Commission chairman that are as big as the state government budget for eight years, in good times and bad, without raising taxes. He said every number in his plan can be justified.

He acknowledged signing off on generous employment contracts for local government employees, but said he is now working to reduce those costs.

Layoffs will likely be part of the budget plan, but Reid would not specify numbers.

“There will be jobs lost,” he said.

But Reid defended his plan, saying he is the only major party candidate to present a budget balancing plan.

“Brian Sandoval has no experience with a large budget, and he doesn’t have a plan for action,” Reid said.

Geoffrey Lawrence, a fiscal policy analyst at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, said a review of Reid’s plan shows several good points, but it includes some questionable assumptions as well.

“Overall I’m very supportive of most of the ideas that are in the plan,” he said. “There are also some major assumptions that are made that may or may not bear out.”

Lawrence said one example is Reid’s belief that state tax revenues will come in $615 million higher in the second year of the budget than most people are anticipating. Whoever is governor will have to abide by the forecasts made by the Economic Forum, not rely on a personal assessment of what the level of tax revenues will be, he said.

The next two-year state budget has an anticipated shortfall of at $3 billion compared to what is viewed as needed to provide basic government services and fund education. Expiring tax increases and the loss of federal stimulus funds, along with much lower tax revenues, are the biggest contributors to the funding gap.

Both Reid and Brian Sandoval, the Republican candidate and frontrunner in the race, say they can balance the budget without raising taxes.

Reid’s plan, called “Moving Nevada Forward,” would cut the number of state agencies from 26 to 16, which he claims would save nearly $50 million, and cut funding to state constitutional officers, such as the attorney general and treasurer, by 50 percent, saving $26 million.

Reid would also seek a greater share of federal tax dollars to support state programs, bringing in an estimated $186 million, and cut down on tax deadbeats for $9.2 million in additional revenue.

Reid criticizes outgoing incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons for the state’s fiscal condition, saying: “It is the legacy of Jim Gibbons, George W. Bush-style mismanagement, and years of postponing tough choices.”

Sandoval’s response to the Reid plan was brief: “Since Rory’s plan relies on $615 million in revenues which don’t exist and over half a billion in cuts which are based on faulty assumptions, it’s impossible to take this plan seriously.”

Sandoval issued a budget plan earlier this year to solve the $800 million shortfall in the current budget, but has not presented his ideas on how he would balance the upcoming budget without new taxes.

The two candidates are scheduled to debate for the first time on Sunday.

Another example of an assumption that needs further explanation is the proposal to cut Medicaid fraud in half to save $41 million, Lawrence said.

“Which is a great idea but if it was easy to do, it would have already been done,” he said.

On the plus side, Reid proposes to extend the employee furlough program and delay pay raises, saving $480 million, Lawrence said.

The plan could move the state in a positive direction if some of the smaller issues can be worked out, he said.

“It would be a boon for the state to have a leaner, more efficient government that still offers quality services,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he noticed that Reid frequently criticizes Gibbons for the state’s fiscal condition, but then relies on Gibbons’ SAGE Commission for many of his money saving ideas. The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission created by Gibbons made a number of recommendations on how to improve state government.

Reid did compliment Gibbons on the creation of the SAGE Commission in his Face To Face interview.

___

Audio clips:

Rory Reid says he has experience to balance state budget:

082610Reid1 :19 that I could.”

Reid says Sandoval’s only budget plan was balanced on the backs of kids:

082610Reid2 :17 backs of kids.”

NPRI analyst Geoffrey Lawrence says the Reid plan has some good ideas but also some questionable assumptions:

082610Lawrence1 :17 not bear out.”

Lawrence says the idea of streamlining government is a good one:

082610Lawrence2 :15 offers quality services.”

Lawrence says Reid criticizes Gibbons even though many of his proposals come from SAGE Commission:

082610Lawrence3 :14 the governor, so.”

Rory Reid Calls for Reform and Consolidation to Balance State Budget

By Sean Whaley | 6:40 am August 11th, 2010

(Updated at 6:50 a.m. on Aug. 11, 2010)

CARSON CITY – Democrat gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid told the Nevada News Bureau yesterday there are other options for moving the state out of its current budget crisis besides increasing taxes and cutting programs.

In an interview at a local coffee shop, Reid pulled out two pieces of paper. One showed an organization chart for the state’s public education system from 1989. The other shows how it looks now.

The newer chart showed many more layers of government, including advisory panels, legislative committees and other bureaucratic creations that have evolved over the past 20 years.

Reid said the two charts demonstrate one way Nevada can save several hundred million dollars: by streamlining government services to eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies in state government.

Reid, who is trailing GOP candidate Brian Sandoval in the polls, said he has experience balancing budgets as chairman of the Clark County Commission, budgets that are as big as the Nevada general fund budget.

“I know how to do this,” he said. “I’ve balanced it in good times and in bad for seven years running without new taxes. There are more than two options. The third option nobody talks about is to remake our government.”

Clark County had multiple housing authorities at one time, but Reid said he worked to consolidate them into one agency. There used to be multiple public health agencies, now there is one.

Reid did not back off his no new taxes stance, saying the state unemployment rate, the foreclosure crisis, and the overall economic situation in Nevada makes the idea of expanding such levies a nonstarter.

“We need a leader in Carson City that knows how to reform government structures,” he said. “If we do what needs to be done, we will save hundreds of millions of dollars and still maintain services by reforming our government.”

Reid said he will be putting out a proposal in the next several days addressing this issue in more detail.

Reid said Sandoval is offering no realistic solutions, instead saying he will avoid layoffs, protect vulnerable citizens and government services and still balance the budget.

“That is impossible,” Reid said.

The Sandoval campaign offered this response: “As a two-term legislator, an attorney general who returned money to the general fund and as a private law practitioner, Brian is proud of his budget experience. It’s curious that just a few months ago Rory Reid refused to say how he might balance the state’s budget.  Now he’s attacking Brian – the only candidate to lay out how he would have approached balancing our state’s short term budget deficit without mass layoffs or new taxes.”

Reid weighed in on the state’s budget problems as state Budget Director Andrew Clinger has spoken in recent days of the severity of the impacts facing Nevada when the Legislature convenes in February.

Clinger said the state is facing an estimated $3 billion shortfall in the revenues needed to sustain state government for the next two years, or nearly 50 percent of what would be a $6.5 billion general fund budget.

On Monday Clinger said new taxes might be avoided if the state and counties worked together to more efficiently divvy up the delivery of government services and the revenues used to pay for them.

Even so, both Sandoval and Reid have steadfastly rejected any notion of raising taxes as a partial solution to the state’s budget problems.

In an interview today on the KRNV Channel 4 noon news, Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said he would not reject out-of-hand the idea of new or increased taxes as one option to solving the state’s budget crisis.

“There is no question that we are facing a very severe problem, the largest shortfall in our history,” he said. “We did take money from counties last time, cities and counties, and there is a bottom to that well also.

“No one wants to advocate raising taxes, or new taxes,” Raggio said. “We will probably have to look at restoring the taxes that are going to sunset. But I don’t think anybody should take a blood oath that we’re not going to look at that.”

Raising taxes is a last resort, he said.

“But I wouldn’t take it off the table,” Raggio said.

The 2009 Legislature raised the sales tax and the modified business tax on the state’s largest employers as part of a solution to balancing the current budget. Those taxes will expire on June 30, 2011 unless they are extended by the Legislature.

Reid said there is one other way that Nevada can get out of its budget crisis, and that is “growing” out of it through economic development. There are $5 billion worth of energy projects getting close to construction that will generate construction jobs and tax revenues to the state, he said.

___

Audio clips:

Rory Reid says the state can save millions by remaking an outdated state government:

081010RoryReid1 :17 21st century economy.”

Reid says he has experience in reforming government structures:

081010RoryReid2 :15 reforming our government.”

Reid says Sandoval promising more than he can deliver:

081010RoryReid3 :23 that is impossible.”

Today’s Battle ’10 Posts on NRO

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:16 pm August 2nd, 2010

Here are my most recent National Review Online blog items, Dear Readers:

http://www.nationalreview.com/battle10/state/Nevada

Headlines:

  • Hating Harry (bonus materials:  video of a money quote from Ralston)
  • Nevada’s “None of the Above” option could help Harry Reid (includes money quote from Ryan Erwin)
  • Sandoval “Hispanic” scandal (or is it?)
  • Sandoval leads Rory by…we’re not sure (battle of the polls)
  • Angle-Reid in dead heat
  • Rory emerges from polling abyss, says Rasmussen (bonus materials: funny ad)

Since you can’t drop comments over there, feel free to drop them here instead.

Brian Sandoval Para Gobernador

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:30 pm July 9th, 2010

Sandoval is out with a Spanish ad that will play during the World Cup championships this Sunday.

As Ralston pointed out when he Flashed this earlier, this is an amusing development because Sandoval, although he is of Hispanic descent, does not speak Spanish.

But Rory does.  But he does not have a Spanish ad.  (Yet.)

Rory learned to speak fluent Spanish when he lived in Argentina for two years, which is where he did his mission.

It would be amusing if Rory challenged Sandoval to a debate in a Spanish forum, and Sandoval was the one who needed the translator.  (Don’t hold your breath.)

AOL’s Quirky Q&A with Rory Reid

By Elizabeth Crum | 7:10 am July 5th, 2010

Some of Rory’s answers in this quirky Q&A with AOL news made me chuckle out loud.  Others surprised and/or impressed.  Recommended reading for those who wish to get to know our Democratic gubernatorial candidate a bit better.

H/T:  SlashPolitics at Las Vegas City Life

Rory Says Eager to Debate “Early and Often,” Asks if Sandoval Will Keep “Ducking”

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:05 pm June 11th, 2010

Excerpt from a Team Rory press release this morning:

Rory Reid Accepts Challenges

Democratic candidate eager to debate early and often

Las Vegas, NV – Rory Reid has accepted a pair of debate challenges issued by members of the Nevada media.

He has accepted an invitation from the statewide television show “Face to Face” with Jon Ralston to participate in monthly debates with his opponent leading up to the November election. Rory also accepted an invitation to debate Republican Brian Sandoval on the statewide “Nevada Newsmakers” show with Sam Shad.

“Just like Jim Gibbons, Brian Sandoval wants to balance the budget on the backs of our children, jeopardizing our future, and I won’t stand for it,” Rory said. “So that’s what’s at stake, and I’m 100-percent committed to the fight. I am eager to debate Brian Sandoval about the importance of strong schools for a stronger economy, and every other issue important to Nevadans.”

Brian Sandoval said on primary election night: “No more hiding. We will debate about right direction for the future.”

But will Brian Sandoval live up to his word? Or will he continue ducking debates, as he did during the Republican primary, when he participated in only one debate? Even then, he agreed with Gibbons on virtually every issue. Sandoval ducked debates on “Face to Face” and with KDWN-AM during the primary.

My three cents:  Sandoval was able to avoid debating much during the primary, because he (knew he) really did not need to do so.  But he is going to have to debate Rory at least once or twice.  The price of not doing so could be too great (i.e. wide criticism from the media, fodder for attack ads).

And with or without the political fallout, I believe candidates for public office owe it to the voters to give them an opportunity to do/make a side-by-side comparison.