Usually you have to go out of state to find scandals this hilarious. Gov. Jim Gibbons has finally lost it. He released a statement yesterday to fire back at Secretary of State Ross Miller, who wants The Gibster to tell him more about the quasi-legal defense fund used to pay the high-priced lawyers trying to keep the new guv out of jail.
If you look at what Miller is asking for, it doesn't seem like anything big. He wants some records to show when the money was donated to the fund and verification that the fund is separate from campaign funds. He also wants an explanation on why this fund wasn't disclosed in January when Gibbons took office.
Instead of answering the pertinent questions, Gibbons went on a rant about how the whole thing is a political hit job. Let's go through the statement one rant at a time:
Over the past two weeks, certain individuals in the media and certain political opponents have created an uproar about my use of a "legal defense fund." That fund was created to help defray the costs of responding to allegations by Chrissy Mazzeo and Patricia Sandoval that have been shown to be untrue.
He can't get through the first paragraph without telling a whopping lie. The allegations by Mazzeo and Sandoval were not shown to be untrue. The Mazzeo case was dropped for lack of evidence, but only after Gibbons completely revised his story to make it sound more believable, believe it or not.
The case of the Gibbons' hiring illegal alien Patricia Sandoval were not proven untrue at all. No charges were filed because it happened back in the 80s and early 90s. In this case, we don't have to depend on the word of a drunken cocktail waitress. There is documentation, signed by Dawn Gibbons under penalty of perjury, that Sandoval was in fact employed full time in the Gibbons' home. Yes, the Gibbons' held a press conference during the campaign to deny it, and diverted everyones' attention by saying their maid blackmailed them. But proven wrong? Hardly. They admitted that she worked for them, and that she was illegal.
The uproar over this legal defense fund is completely driven by a few individuals to make an issue where none exists. The fund was established, on the advice of pre-eminent and experienced lawyers, to comply with all rules during the campaign. It was not then, and is not now, a campaign fund. It did not solicit or accept political contributions. Rather, the funds were used as intended -- to pay legal and accounting expenses related to the allegations at the time.
Sorry, but the fund wasn't set up to comply with the rules. Gibbons was still a member of Congress at that time, and did not report the fund as required by the rules. And it was not reported to Nevada officials in January with his other financial disclosures. To say it's not a "campaign fund" is to play word games. The fund was to support legal efforts to battle two political attacks, and those giving the money weren't exactly your ordinary good Samaritans. They, like campaign donors, are looking for payback.
Because I believe that the people of Nevada have a right to know about this fund, I have reported the donations and expenses of the fund, even when it was not clear that I had to do so. I received advice on this matter from legal experts and in no way have anything to hide by using a fund-raising process, used by many public officials, that is permitted by law. I will continue to report on that fund as bills are paid for previous legal issues surrounding the now-discredited allegations. As was the intention all along, the legal defense fund will then formally be closed down. That closing and a final report on the fund should occur in the near future.
If the people of Nevada have the right to know about this fund, why isn't he releasing the information requested by the secretary of state? What is it about the timing of the donations, and the fund's separation from campaign funds that is so hard to produce? This whole thing goes away if he just tells us about the details. Either Gibbons is politically stupid, or he is hiding something. Which is it?
I realize that there are some media and political naysayers who will try to create a story or controversy every day, to defeat the goals of my administration or just for the sport of it. The people of Nevada should know that I am committed as ever to carrying out the pledges I made during the campaign. I will not be distracted or derailed from those goals, which include enhancing public education for our children, promoting excellent health care for all of our citizens and increasing employment opportunities in our state.
What goals? A week after the election, Gibbons said he didn't have an agenda set up for what he wanted to do. This has become obvious for anyone paying attention to his budget bloopers. Hell, even the Republicans are turning on him. The fiscal conservative comes into office and jacks up spending by 18 percent! He has a 29 percent approval rating, five points lower than George W. Bush. And he's only been governor for two months! How is it possible to drop almost 20 points in two months?
An honest review of the real facts of all the allegations that have been made will lead to the conclusion that I have been and remain a hard-working, honest public servant who has never violated the public trust. To those who keep trying to make a controversy where none exits, I say "enough" and let the business of the people of Nevada be done.
To paraphrase The Las Vegas Gleaner, move along folks, nothing to see here. Pay no attention to Sig Rogich behind the curtain. But the real question is, if Jim Gibbons clicks his heels three times, will he stay out of prison?
And the funny thing about this whole thing (as if it needed any help), Gibbons never once mentioned the most serious scandal he faces, the charges of taking bribes from Warren Trepp in return for defense contracts. Good luck on that one.