In Nevada, where Rep. Shelley Berkley’s cause is often her husband’s gain, Politico reports that the House Committee on Ethics unanimously voted to more forward to a full investigation of Ms. Berkley’s conduct. In a major blow to Rep. Shelley Berkley’s Senate campaign, the House Ethics Committee announced Monday that it will formally investigate the Nevada Democrat over allegations she used her office to aid her husband’s medical practice. Berkley has denied any wrongdoing, but Monday’s announcement — which comes in the middle of Berkley’s challenge to GOP Sen. Dean Heller — could seriously shake up a Senate race that has national implications.
- Democrats privately tell Politico that they’re doubtful the embattled Congresswoman can overcome this scandal. Behind the scenes, Democrats were less optimistic. Monday’s announcement will allow the GOP to pummel Berkley as “under investigation” and “ethically challenged” in every TV ad until Election Day, since it will be virtually impossible for the Ethics Committee to complete its work by then, at least based on recent history. “This is going to make it real, real tough,” admitted one top Senate Democratic strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I am not sure she can overcome it.”
- Meanwhile, the National Journal’s Hotline reports that this is a major setback for Berkley’s campaign. There are setbacks that take a campaign by surprise, and there are setbacks for which a smart candidate can prepare. Rep. Shelley Berkley’s campaign saw a House Ethics Committee investigation coming from a mile away—but all the preparation in the world may not be enough to save the Nevada Democrat’s Senate campaign. … But the GOP’s attack ads virtually write themselves. While initial reports will delve once again into Berkley’s interest in the Las Vegas kidney center, Republicans familiar with the case pointed to a letter Berkley wrote to Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., then head of the Ways and Means subcommittee that oversees Medicare, urging him to use caution when revisiting compensation for dialysis providers. The letter, first reported by The New York Times, came the same day that Berkley received a number of campaign contributions from medical companies that deal with kidney dialysis.
- Additionally, KTNV-TV in Las Vegas began their evening newscast by reporting on Berkley’s ethics investigation. The House Ethics Committee says it has appointed a panel to investigate whether Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley used her position to protect her family’s financial interests, giving Republicans additional fodder to question her conduct leading up to November’s election.
- The NRSC sent out a release remi
- nding voters that Nevadans deserve a Senator who will fight for them. As the Reno Gazette-Journal reports: The decision spurred renewed interest in the line of attack. Minutes after the ethics committee announced its decision, the National Republican Senatorial Committee leapt into the fray with the following statement: “It speaks volumes that even Shelley Berkley’s Democrat colleagues unanimously voted to move forward investigating Berkley’s use of her office to enrich her and her husband,” Executive Director Rob Jesmer said. “Since Berkley entered the political arena, we’ve seen a long pattern of ethical questions surrounding her conduct. Nevadans deserve someone in the Senate who they can trust to work on their behalf and not someone — like Ms. Berkley — who puts her own financial and political interests first.”
- Finally here some tweets from some of the top reporters in the Silver State:
Ethics Panel Continues Berkley Probe – National Journal