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Goedhart Cleared; SoS Tells Neff to Pound Sand

As you may recall, accuracy-challenged liberal activist Erin Neff filed a frivolous complaint with the Secretary of State claiming that Assemblyman Ed Goedhart (R-Amargosa Valley) had violated Nevada’s campaign laws by allowing a worker who had been fired by the Legislative Counsel Bureau (LCB) to continue working in his office as a volunteer after Citizen Outreach retained her as a part-time legislative consultant.

In response to Secretary Ross Miller’s inquiry into the complaint, Assemblyman Goedhart sent the following on April 21, 2011:

Hon. Ross Miller
Nevada Secretary of State
101 N. Carson Street, Suite 3
Carson City, NV 89701-4786

Dear Secretary Miller,

I am in receipt of your letter dated March 29, 2011, in which you advised that a complaint by a political opponent named Erin Neff of ProgressNow Nevada alleging that I “solicited contributions during the ‘black out period’ as described in NRS 294A.300.”

While Ms. Neff failed to do even a minimal amount of investigation to ascertain the actual identity of the individual involved who she refers to as “Joan,” I’m fairly certain we all know who she’s complaining about and I will proceed on that assumption rather than waste your office’s time by requesting that Ms. Neff identify specifically the individual in question before responding.

In any event, Ms. Neff’s frivolous and unsubstantiated complaint alleges that I, as a member of the Legislature, solicited or accepted a monetary contribution, or solicited or accepted a commitment to make such a contribution for a political purpose during the prescribed black-out period.

I have done no such thing, and there is nothing in Ms. Neff’s complaint substantiating or documenting that I have. Her entire complaint is based on innuendo and conjecture based on an email from an individual, Mr. Chuck Muth, who runs a similar political organization as Ms. Neff’s, but with a diametrically opposed philosophical agenda.

I should note that there is absolutely no black-out restriction on Mr. Muth or his organization’s ability to fundraise while the Legislature is in session. Indeed, Ms. Neff herself used her frivolous complaint as an email fundraising opportunity for her own organization on the very same day she filed her complaint with your office.

Ms. Neff further alleges that the contribution I have accepted is in the form of payment by Mr. Muth to compensate “Joan” to continue serving as my attaché after being wrongly terminated from service to the Legislative Counsel Bureau (LCB) by Ms. Susan Furlong, over my objection. This, too, is simply and categorically not true.

My understanding is the Mr. Muth’s organization, has retained “Joan” as a legislative consultant, a position, based on her previous experience as both my attaché and as now-Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea’s attaché. She now works for Mr. Muth’s organization under the direction of the organization’s CEO, Mr. Dan Burdish. If you wish to know exactly what “Joan’s” duties and responsibilities are, you will have to direct those questions to Mr. Muth, as I’m assuming that is a confidential personnel matter between him and “Joan.”

While it is true that “Joan” does still voluntarily work out of my office, it is also true that a number of other individuals also operate out of my office from time to time assisting me in my duties and responsibilities to my constituents and the people of Nevada.

The fact is, despite Ms. Neff’s allegation to the contrary, “Joan” has not “been rehired for (my) benefit” and she has not “resumed her position in (my) office.” Indeed, LCB removed her state-issued computer and key to my office. She has no schedule for being in my office, either by day or by hour, and comes and goes as she pleases. In addition, she is not included in any official LCB communications, meetings or other official work-related activities required of attaches.

I hope this answers your concerns. Please contact me with any additional questions.

Today, the Secretary of State’s office ruled on Ms. Neff’s complaint, basically telling her to pound sand. Here’s the text of the determination letter sent to her by Scott Gilles, Deputy Secretary of Elections:

Dear Ms. Neff,

This office has reviewed (your) complaint and the response we received from Assemblyman Goedhart.

In the complaint you allege that Assemblyman Goedhart violated NRS 294A.300 by soliciting contributions during the “black out period.” Mr. Goedhart asserts that he did no such thing and offers that “Joan” neither works for him, nor does he receive compensation from Mr. Muth for payment of “Joan’s” salary. Enclosed for your reference is a copy of Assemblyman Goedhart’s response.

Based upon the preceeding, it is the opinion of this office that no violation of NRS 294A.300 has occurred.

This office considers the matter now closed.

End…of…story.