During this past legislative session, The Globe extensively covered the last-minute $100 million “Christmas Tree” bills that appropriated taxpayer funds to politically-aligned nonprofits after passage by the Democrat-controlled legislature. Spending taxpayer dollars is certainly not an anathema to Carson City politicians, however, ethics and prudence seem to be wholly absent.
Also absent during the next legislative session in Carson City will be Democratic Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (AD-35) as she recently announced that she will not be seeking re-election in her swing district after she was exposed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal for voting in favor of the pork legislation that directed $250,000 to Arc of Nevada. A month after her vote, Gorelow became the nonprofit’s director and is only one of two employees at the organization. She will likely enjoy her six-figure, taxpayer-funded salary as she did not announce that she is resigning from her position.
Adding to the grift is Gorelow’s Democratic colleague Tracy Brown-May (AD-42) who serves on the board of Arc and voted to approve the appropriation without disclosing her association with the organization. To date, Brown-May is absent in that she has not commented or publicly acknowledged the scandal. During the legislative session, Brown-May did announce a new nonprofit caucus. (Hide your wallets!)
— Tracy Brown May (@TracyBrownMay) April 22, 2023
Also exposed by the Review-Journal is Democratic Assemblyman C.H. Miller (AD-7) who also failed to disclose that he was hired as the President and CEO of the Urban Chamber of Commerce before he voted to appropriate $100,000 on Chamber’s behalf.
Fast forward to today’s “satirical” piece by David Colborne of the Nevada Independent who did a little digging and found that Assemblywoman Venicia Considine (AD-18) is yet another Democratic legislator who voted in favor of both bills that directed over $4,250,000 to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada where she works as the director of Development and Community Relations.
…according to the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s legal division, appropriation bills that fund dozens of nonprofit and government organizations, including SB341 and AB525 in the last session, impact most citizens in the state and don’t meet the standard for a disqualifying conflict of interest.
Be advised, however, that the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s legal division’s advice is not foolproof. Legislators recently learned this the hard way when the division advised the Legislature that eliminating the sunset clause of a tax would not, constitutionally speaking, count as a tax increase since the overall rate of taxation would remain the same. The Nevada Supreme Court, however, had other ideas.
Nevadans may have other ideas too… in terms of ethics.
As political science professor Fred Lokken told the Review Journal: “That’s the state of our ethics laws in Nevada. To me it’s very sad…I think for the average voter, they’re disappointed, they expect more from their legislators.”
Nevadans will have a chance to express their disappointment when they vote for the statewide legislative races in the November 2024 election–an election that will determine if Nevada’s future is directed by a politically-balanced, representative, and responsive legislature or diverted to an imbalanced, ethically-challenged, one-party rule legislature that will, without hesitation, award themselves and their political benefactors, beneficiaries and activists with taxpayer money.
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