(Chuck Muth) – As John Ensign continues to make public appearances while refusing to answer legitimate questions about the $96,000 payoff to his mistress’s family and his possible violations of federal lobbying laws, he’s also continuing to claim he’s Mr. Republican.
Indeed, in a recent Nevada Newsmaker interview, Ensign claimed he’s done more to help the Republican Party in this state than just about anyone, save, maybe Abraham Lincoln himself. And to prove so, he again referred to going up-and-down the Strip with former Gov. Kenny Guinn to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from gaming interests.
Well, three points: One, it was Guinn, not Ensign, who raised the bulk of that money. Two, that was over a decade ago. And three, the money raised was to pay off a huge debt the party incurred largely on behalf of Ensign only because Ensign promised to raise the money after the election in his failed race against Harry Reid in 1998.
So the real question is: What has Mr. Republican done for the GOP lately?
Well, according to Ensign new restrictions by the McCain-Feingold law prohibits him from raising money to help Nevada Republicans.
As I’ve reported here in the past, Sen. Harry Reid raised and contributed at least a quarter million dollars for Nevada Democrats in the 2008 election cycle via his Searchlight Leadership PAC, which was apparently allowed under McCain-Feingold.
That’s the same year that John Ensign was boinking his best friend’s wife while simultaneously serving as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and in charge of keeping Reid from getting a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority. And we all know how THAT turned out.
So how much did John Ensign’s Battle Born Leadership PAC donate to Nevada Republicans in 2008?
Bupkis. In fact, I can’t even find a report for the Battle Born PAC on the Nevada Secretary of State’s website.
Now fast-forward to 2009….the year Mr. Republican declared he was going to ride in on his white horse and save the Nevada Republican Party.
According to the Secretary of State’s website, Harry Reid and his Searchlight Leadership PAC raised and donated some $184,000 to Nevada Democrats and party organizations, including the state Democratic Party, each of the local county Democratic parties, various Democrat candidates for local offices, and what appears to be every Democrat legislative candidate and caucus.
In addition, Reid also contributed to the:
• Clark County Democrat Black Caucus
• Asian American Democratic Caucus
• Boulder City Democratic Club
• Carson City Democratic Women’s Club
• Central Nevada Democrat Club
• Democratic Lawyers Caucus
• Dayton Area Democratic Club
• Democratic Women of Washoe County
• Douglas County Republican Women
• Fernley Democratic Club
• Henderson Democratic Club
• Hispanic Democratic Caucus on Northern Nevada
• Incline/Crystal Bay Democratic Club
• Nevada Outdoor Democratic Caucus
• Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus
• Paradise Democratic Club
• Red Rock Democratic Club
• Si Se Puede Latino Democratic Caucus
• Sun City Anthem Democrats
• North Las Vegas Township Democratic Club
• Truckee Meadows Democratic Alliance
• UNLV Young Democrats
• UNR Young Democrats
• Women’s Democratic Club of Clark County
And how much did Mr. Republican’s Battle Born PAC raise and contribute to Nevada Republican parties, organizations and candidates in 2009?
Indeed, according to the Secretary of State’s website, Ensign’s Battle Born PAC didn’t even file a report again for 2009.
Of course, if this is just some kind of clerical error, or Ensign contributed mightily using his own personal funds (or his parents’), or through a PAC we’re not aware of – we’ll stand corrected. But we’re pretty confident that John Ensign did for Nevada Republicans in 2009 what he’s pretty much done for Nevada Republicans over the last ten years.
One final note.
Also in his Nevada Newsmakers interview, Ensign also took credit for recruiting and supporting Republican challengers over the years.
Like in 1996 when Ensign recruited and supported his personal friend John Jackson against conservative incumbent state Sen. Sandra Tiffany in the GOP primary – which ultimately cost Republicans that seat and, just two years later, their majority in the state Senate.
Gee, thanks Mr. Republican.
Tell me again why Nevada Republicans and conservatives continue to defend and support this character-challenged pompous charlatan?