(Chuck Muth) – Wait. Are you kidding me?
Anjeanette Damon of the Las Vegas Sun recently obtained emails
showing that a troika of lobbyists/power-brokers overruled Gov. Brian
Sandoval’s (R&R-Partners) senior staff on one of the governor’s
numerous betrayals of his “no tax hikes” pledge. This outrageous
story shows that not only are Sandoval’s promises empty, so is his
At issue is what has become known as the “More Cops” tax increase
for Clark County. Voters approved half the hike in 2004 when Nevada
was still in times of plenty. Indeed, recall that in 2005 tax
revenues had come in so much higher than expected from the 2003
Mother of All Tax Hikes that then-Gov. Kenny Guinn actually issued
The deal in 2004 was that the second half of that tax hike had to be
approved by the Legislature in 2013. Clearly, economic circumstances
have changed dramatically since 2004 and there’s no way on God’s
green earth such a tax hike would have been approved today if it came
And yet, Gov. Sandoval, despite his oft-repeated verbal assurances
that he would oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes, ended up
not only supporting this totally uncalled for tax hike, but
ultimately called a special session of the Legislature to get it
Over the objections, we now find out, of his chief-of-staff and chief
Why? Because two lobbyists – Pete Ernaut and Greg Ferraro – and a
political apparatchik, Mike Slanker, overruled them, that’s why.
But don’t worry, it gets worse.
According to the story, the email exchange shows Ernaut argued in
favor of the governor breaking his “no tax hikes” pledge because
“the police union…was one of the only public employee unions to
support the governor in his last election…” In other words, a
Hang on. We still haven’t gotten to the punch-line yet.
“At the time,” Damon reports, “Sandoval’s senior staff did
not know that Ernaut, president of government affairs at R&R
Partners, was a paid lobbyist for the Las Vegas Police Protective
Association, the labor association for rank-and-file police, which
would benefit from more money to hire police officers.”
Holy lack of disclosure, Batman! But there’s still more…
Reportedly the email exchange in question wasn’t really about
whether or not Sandoval should or shouldn’t support the tax hike.
Apparently the governor had already committed, unbeknownst to his
staff, to break his word and back the increase.
No, “Sandoval’s top campaign consultant Mike Slanker” was
simply trying to figure out how to spin breaking the governor’s
word to the press and the public.
Of R&R Partners, by R&R Partners, for R&R Partners. It’s the
Nevada Way. And a shameful indictment of a governor who’s proven
to be all sizzle and no steak.
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(Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots
advocacy organization. He can be reached at