(Dan Burdish) – Senator Harry Reid has been touted as “The Most Powerful Man in Nevada’s History.” The evidence is there to support that claim. But the evidence doesn’t support Reid’s claim that it is good for Nevada, but it is good for him. And what is good for Reid isn’t necessarily good for Nevada.
When Reid beat John Ensign in 1998 he systematically took control of apparatus of the Nevada Democrat Party. He engineered all aspects of their candidate recruitment and fundraising. In his position of power he threatened and cajoled donors. He cut off funds to any candidate or organization he thought might be a danger to his future. He played power politics and he played it masterfully.
Today all but a few Democrat office holders owe their positions of power to Senator Harry Reid.
Is the Tea Party candidate a “Manchurian Candidate” put in by the Reid campaign? I doubt it; it was too poorly executed and amateurish to be conducted by the highly effective and slick Reid machine. Instead it looks like it was put together by one man and has since been clandestinely supported by Reid and his allies.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller are two of Reid’s lap dogs. Despite overwhelming evidence that Nevada Law is being subverted these two elected officials, who are supposed to protect the citizens of Nevada from unscrupulous schemes, continue to defend the existence of a sham Tea Party candidate for the office of U.S. Senate in Nevada.
Why would they do this? The existence of a Tea Party candidate will siphon votes from the Republican candidate and could, conceivably, ensure the reelection of Senator Harry Reid.
1. Nevada law does not allow a Republican to run for a partisan office except as a Republican. Yet Miller and Masto defend the Tea Party candidate filing to run for U.S. Senate while he was registered as a Republican. If Democrat Jane or John Doe had started the Organized Labor Party and filed to run for the U.S. Senate as the Organized Labor Party while still registered as a Democrat does anyone believe Miller and Masto would defend that as assiduously as they are now doing?
2. Jon Scott Ashjian committed perjury when he filed his Declaration of Candidacy. It is the duty of Secretary of State Ross Miller and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to prosecute him. This action is a gross misdemeanor and is being treated as minor matter by our elected officials. Ashjian has admitted he committed perjury and should be brought to justice by our elected officials. Miller and Masto both swore an oath to “support” the law and they clearly aren’t doing so now.
3. Nevada law clearly states the Secretary of State shall “strike” any candidate from the ballot who filed under the provisions used by the Tea Party candidate if they don’t collect the necessary signatures required to qualify a Minor Political Party for ballot access. The Tea Party did not collect the necessary signatures. This was pointed out to Secretary of State Miller as required by law. Miller made sure he did not answer this complaint until it was too late to file a suit to make him comply. Now he and Attorney General Masto argue in court that we can’t sue because of time restraints in law.
4. On January 28, 2010 the Tea Party of Nevada filed the necessary paperwork to be a Minor Political Party under the provisions of Nevada law. In that filing they listed 10 individuals as belonging to the Executive Committee of the Tea Party of Nevada. Under the terms of their bylaws to be a member of the Executive Committee they must be registered as members of the Tea Party of Nevada.
Yet not one person who is listed as a member of the Executive Committee of the Tea Party is registered as a member of the Tea Party of Nevada. Of the 10 members of the Executive Committee of the Tea Party of Nevada six are registered as Republicans, one is registered as a Democrat and three are not registered to vote.
It used to be three strikes and you’re out. But in Harry Reid’s Nevada you get unlimited strikes if you are useful to his reelection. And you get the services of Secretary of State Ross Miller and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto for free to help rig the system in your favor.
(Mr. Burdish is CEO of Citizen Outreach and a former executive director of the Nevada Republican Party)