The Las Vegas Review-Journal says Embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley Should Not Miscalculate Importance of Ethics Probe. Wishful thinking on behalf of Democratic partisans has caused a minority to say the House Ethics Committee’s decision to move forward with a formal investigation of Rep. Shelley Berkley’s ethics won’t affect her race for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
I’m convinced it will.
Oh, it won’t change the vote of anyone who already has decided to vote for her. And it will only emphasize the set-in-stone decisions of those already supporting Republican Sen. Dean Heller. Partisans won’t change their minds.
But those undecided and nonpartisan voters are going to have to decide whether it’s an issue for them and the airwaves will be flooded with Republican ads damning Berkley’s ethics. Heller started his Monday, even before the House announced it was going to investigate further.
Then, starting in August, Republicans are poised to begin a massive media buy that also will dwell on rank-sounding advice Berkley gave in 1996, trying to show a pattern of ethical problems in a then-and-now punch. It won’t be pretty.
Many Nevadans have forgotten, or never knew, that Berkley, as a government affairs adviser, told her then-boss casino owner Sheldon Adelson that it would be smart to give favors to county commissioners, including Erin Kenny, who later admitted her votes were for sale.
Berkley also advised Adelson to give campaign donations to judges because they “tend to help those who helped them.”
When her advice became public in 1998, Berkley had insignificant GOP opposition, and those ethics issues didn’t stop her from winning in a heavily Democratic district.
The NRSC asked Nevada’s Secretary of State to confirm that embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley cannot be removed from the ballot, Jon Ralston at the Las Vegas Sun reports that Secretary Miller confirmed that she can’t be replaced. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has asked Secretary of State Ross Miller to confirm that Nevada law mandates Rep. Shelley Berkley must stay on the ballot even if she withdraws because of ethics problems. I see almost no chance that Berkley will get out of the race. But the very fact that the NRSC sent the letter shows just how far the GOP folks will go to keep this story alive from now until November. SOS Ross Miller says NRSC is right. Letter posted at right.
The editorial board at the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes that Berkley is a savvy politician who got caught trying to use her position to enrich her pocketbook. The Berkley spin machine tried to characterize Monday’s development as good news, welcoming a “full and fair investigation” that will “clear” the congresswoman. Apparently, they ran out of lipstick. Truth is, this is a major blow to the Berkley campaign. Nor can this be dismissed as a partisan smear. None of the five Democrats on the 10-member ethics panel dissented. And USA Today reports that the committee’s action is somewhat rare, given that five of the last six cases the independent Office of Congressional Ethics has forwarded to the House panel have ended there without further investigation. … Rep. Berkley insists she did nothing wrong and was only fighting for her Nevada constituents. Fine. But it’s hard to believe someone as savvy as Rep. Berkley could get herself into this mess, particularly as she laid the groundwork for a Senate run.
The Review-Journal writes that yesterday Berkley doubled-down on her job-killing healthcare law.Wednesday’s vote to repeal the new health care overhaul enabled Nevada’s U.S. House members to reaffirm their positions on the controversial law in advance of their fall campaigns. … the House vote teed up political attacks from both sides. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., moved to tie Berkley tighter to the health care law that is unpopular with many Nevadans. “Middle-class Nevadans just can’t afford Shelley Berkley and her lockstep support for President Obama and Nancy Pelosi,” Heller’s campaign spokeswoman Chandler Smith said.
The WFB Gives Berkley Defense Five Pinocchios. The Nevada Democratic Senate candidate accused of steering government funds toward her husband’s dialysis practice has resorted to misleading advertisements to spin information about a newly launched ethics probe.
Shelley Berkley released a major ad push to combat the notion that she used her influence in Congress to steer Medicare funds to her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner, who heads a medical PAC that has donated to Berkley’s campaign.
“How about the truth, [GOP nominee] Dean Heller,” Berkley’s first ad begins, before portraying the ethics complaint that helped spur the House investigation as a politically motivated attack.
“The complaint against Shelley Berkley was filed by the Republican Party,” the announcer continues.
The ad neglects to mention that the House Ethics Committee approved the investigation unanimously.
“The bipartisan House Ethics Committee has voted unanimously to proceed with a full-scale investigation into whether Rep. Shelley Berkley used her position in Congress to benefit her husband’s medical practice,” the Reno Gazette Journal reported on Monday.
The ethics probe has caused alarm for national Democrats hoping to preserve a thin majority in the Senate as they face a number of tossup races. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee provided Berkley with $2.3 million to broadcast the ad statewide.