(Chuck Muth) – There was a large, almost half-page ad in Sunday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal announcing an upcoming auction being conducted by the Office of the State Treasurer. The ad included the date, time and location of the auction, the terms and conditions of the auction and the website addresses where you can see a catalogue of the items which will be included in the auction.
No big deal, right?
But here’s how the ad was headlined: “State Treasurer Kate Marshall Unclaimed Property Auction,” complete with a smiling head-and-shoulders photo of Marshall.
Hey, isn’t that exactly the sort of thing that Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto is seeking to jail former state Treasurer Brian Krolicki for? Why, yes it is.
I guess all state Treasurers are created equal, but some are created more equal than others.
However, this practice of using public funds for a public office to promote the continuation of a public official in that public office through public advertisements is not restricted to our state Treasurer, or even our state. Indeed, it seems as though “everybody does it.”
My wife and I bought a house last spring and requested information on how to file a Declaration of Homestead form. I was sent a tri-fold brochure bearing the headline “Nevada Homestead Law” with “M.W. Schofield, Clark County Assessor” prominently placed in the center of the page complete with a Glamour Shot of Mr. Schofield.
In addition, the letterhead used to send me the brochure is headlined “M.W. Schofield, Clark County Assessor” when it could/should simply say “Clark County Assessor.” However, making a bad situation worse, the letterhead also includes in the subheading, “Rocky A. Steele, Assistant Director of Assessment Services” and “Michele W. Shafe, Assistant Director of Assessment Services.”
Why can’t the current Assessor simply sign the letter with his name when/where appropriate for such letters. Why must their names appear on the letterhead itself? I mean, what happens if the elected official doesn’t get re-elected. Or dies? What happens to all the old letterhead bearing the FORMER official’s name?
Indeed, I was instructed a few weeks ago to mail a “Doing Business As” form to Clark County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre – even though she had passed away well before I requested the forms to do so. Will the post office somehow not be able to properly deliver mail to the County Clerk’s office without the actual County Clerk’s name being on the envelope?
And why, pray tell, does the Metro substation at the Las Vegas Convention Center need to have, in big brass letters, the name of “Doug Gillespie, Sheriff” on the building? Will cops and the public not know it’s an official police station without Mr. Gillespie’s name on it? Is the public somehow confused otherwise?
The fact remains that this practice of unnecessarily putting elected officials’ names on public documents, advertisements and buildings serves only to increase the name ID of the elected official at taxpayer expense, thus increasing the likelihood of that elected official’s re-election in the next election. It’s political campaigning, pure and simple.
Then-Treasurer Krolicki was wrong to use public funds and his public office for campaign purposes in those now-infamous advertisments back in 2006 while simultaneously running for lieutenant governor. But it’s no more egregious than what scores of other elected officials do without sanction on a daily basis throughout Nevada and the rest of the United States.
It’s a practice that gives incumbents, already blessed with boatloads of election advantages, yet another one. At taxpayer expense. It’s a practice which should be ended. Either voluntarily. Or by law. So let it be written; so let it be done.