LOOK, I KNOW IT’S SUNDAY…
And I know Christmas is just four days away.
But what’s going on inside the Republican Assembly Caucus this weekend is critically important to how the upcoming 2015 legislative session is going to go.
And there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes shenanigans that he public isn’t being told about and a lot of misinformation being spread by the forces of tax-hike evil.
And this extended-length edition of Silver State Confidential has some very important information that conservatives need to know about.
If you’re not interested or too busy, just go ahead and delete this – or better, just hold it until later to read.
Because a massive sell-out of the conservative movement has now taken place and we’re all about to get screwed royally.
STACKING THE TAX-HIKE DECK
Assembly Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick’s sellout of conservative Republicans is now official.
On Saturday – in Nixonian fashion, when no media were around or paying attention – King John quietly submitted committee assignment changes to the Legislative Counsel Bureau in Carson City.
But before reporting on the changes, remember this…
Hambrick claimed on Thursday that he was removing conservative Tax Pledge signer Assemblywoman Michele Fiore as Chairman of the Taxation Committee because of tax liens the IRS had filed on her two businesses after an employee embezzled money from the company and hadn’t paid the payroll taxes.
In his press release – which he failed to tell the members of his caucus about in advance – Hambrick wrote…
“At this time I feel it is best to relive (sic) Assemblywoman Fiore of her leadership roles in the Assembly.”
But yesterday, Hambrick didn’t just remove Fiore as committee chair.
He removed her from the committee completely!
And not only did he remove Fiore from the Taxation Committee, he removed the vice chairman of the Taxation Committee – conservative Tax Pledge signer Assemblyman Brent Jones – as well!
Oh, and he also once again removed conservative Tax Pledge signer Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman from the committee!
So much for the charade of this being all about those tax liens. That kerfuffle was all just a smokescreen to cover the removal of hard-line fiscal conservatives from the Taxation Committee.
In fact, with the new committee roster shake-up, there is now just one – ONE! – conservative remaining on that 12-member committee: Freshman Tax Pledge signer Assemblywoman Jill Dickman (watch your back, Jill!).
My fellow conservatives, Hambrick sold us out. Big time. And has now stacked the deck in the Taxation Committee for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s coming billion dollar tax hike.
In colonial times, Hambrick would have been tarred-and-feathered for such actions.
But wait, it gets worse…
Hambrick replaced Fiore as Tax Committee chairman with FRESHMAN Assemblyman Derek Armstrong, who has refused to sign the Tax Pledge.
A freshman who has never even cast a single vote as a legislator, let alone chaired a meeting.
Do you think maybe the GOP establishment thinks it can control Mr. Armstrong, pull his strings and make him do their bidding? Yeah, me too.
But get this…
Remember: The excuse for sacking Fiore is supposedly that having tax liens filed against you by the IRS is bad, right? Well guess what Mr. Armstrong does for a living?
According to his law firm’s website.
“We represent clients against the Internal Revenue Service…”
You know, clients like…Michele Fiore!
It also reads…
“By now you probably have realized that the IRS can be very intimidating and aggressive to the tax payer. However, we eliminate that stress for you by dealing directly with the IRS on your behalf. You no longer have to deal with the harassing phone calls and letters from the IRS. Your tax problems can be solved for good.”
I kid you not.
As chair of Taxation, King John has replaced an individual with IRS tax liens because that’s supposedly bad, with a guy who defends individuals with tax liens! How on Planet Reality does that make sense?
But wait, it still gets even worse…
Guess who Hambrick replaced vice chairman Jones with?
Thin-skinned serial tax-hiker Assemblyman Randy “Kirner Tax” Kirner (RINO-Kirner Tax)!!!
This is a guy who has not only voted to extend the BILLION DOLLAR-PLUS “temporary” tax hikes (the “sunsets”) not once, but twice – but also engineered a bill in the 2013 legislative session to circumvent the Gibbons Tax Restraint Law in support of a Washoe County school tax, a.k.a., the “Kirner Tax.”
SIDENOTE: By the way, based on a series of dissembling tweets with me Saturday night, the Father of the Kirner Tax still hates it when you call it the Kirner Tax. So if you see the Father of the Kirner Tax on the street during the holiday season, please don’t call it the Kirner Tax because it really, really bothers Assemblyman “Kirner Tax” Kirner.
Rounding out the Taxation Committee on the Republican side after Hambrick’s reshuffling of the deck…
Hambrick himself, who has announced on TV that he was breaking his Tax Pledge
Assemblyman Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey, who never met a tax he wouldn’t hike and has refused to sign the Tax Pledge
Freshman Assemblyman Erv Nelson, who is not a Tax Pledge signer
Assemblyman Glenn Trowbridge, the “Republican” recently appointed to the Assembly by the seven Democrats on the Clark County Commission who also is not a Tax Pledge signer
And you don’t think the “fix” is now in for Sandoval’s coming Mother of All Tax Hikes?
GETTING THEIR STORIES STRAIGHT
I’m hearing that Assemblyman Chris Edwards – who is proving himself to be as trustworthy as a scorpion – is telling people that there was a caucus meeting convened in which King John Hambrick was granted the power to remove Fiore from her leadership posts.
Half of the caucus members – the conservative ones who support Fiore – knew nothing about such a meeting, if it was actually held.
But it wasn’t.
Edwards’ claim is nothing more than a butt-covering operation, since everyone knows Hambrick acted on his own without caucus authority. And here, I’ll prove it…
In a private “for internal communication only” email from Hambrick that was sent out at the exact same time Hambrick was meeting with Fiore to throw her under the bus – you know, like how the Japanese ambassador delivered notice to the White House that it was declaring war at the exact same time Japanese planes were sneak-attacking Pearl Harbor – Hambrick wrote…
“Caucus Members, In the best interest of the caucus I have made the difficult decision to remove Michele Fiore as Majority Leader and Chair of the Taxation Committee.”
“I” have made the decision. Not the caucus. King John. Alone. By himself. Unilaterally.
But I know there are still some doubting Thomases out there who have a hard time accepting plain English for plain English. Well, let me make it even more plain so that even the most skeptical among you can no longer ignore the reality.
In the sixth paragraph of the same “for internal communication only” memo, Hambrick wrote…
“Some may ask why a caucus vote wasn’t taken prior to these actions. Historical precedent is that there is only a vote for the Speaker position and the Speaker then appoints his leadership team. From the leadership team to the committee assignments the Speaker has always made the appointments.”
Folks, this is the sort of mindset you find among third-world, tin-pot dictators after engineering a coup and dismantling the democratically elected government.
It’s also a load of flapdoodle.
The Speaker and the Majority Leader were ELECTED by the caucus at the first caucus meeting after the November election. Assemblyman Ira Hansen was ELECTED Speaker and Assemblyman Paul Anderson was ELECTED Majority Leader (over Hambrick, by the way).
And after Hansen stepped down as Speaker, a second caucus meeting was held. At that caucus meeting Hambrick was ELECTED Speaker and Fiore was ELECTED Majority Leader – though the votes were tabulated via proxy rather than secret ballot. More on that below.
Anyway, THAT’S the “historical precedent” established for the Republican Assembly Caucus in 2014. And Hambrick simply doesn’t have the authority to overrule an ELECTION by decree like this.
It’s an abuse of power. And it’s outrageous.
THE UNKINDEST CUT
Most of you don’t know the full, back story of how Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick rose to power and became Speaker-designee in the first place. So let me fill you in…
After Speaker-designee Ira Hansen announced he was stepping aside as Speaker-designee, a wild scramble recommenced by those in the caucus who wanted the job. The 12 members of the establishment wing of the caucus, mostly moderates, immediately got behind Assemblyman Paul Anderson, who was at the time the ELECTED Majority Leader.
The conservative wing, however, was split.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore was interested in the Speaker position, but after the media fury stirred up over some of Hansen’s past statements and writings, there was concern about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire due to some of Fiore’s own past statements and writings.
There was also significant and warranted concern about behind-the-scenes efforts by malcontent caucus members, led by former Minority Leader Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey, trying to orchestrate a “nuclear option” deal with Democrats to elect a Speaker on opening day of the legislative session other than the Speaker chosen by the Republican Assembly Caucus.
The caucus meeting was scheduled for Tuesday evening, December 2, in Las Vegas. On the Sunday before, a consensus emerged that the conservative bloc would support Assemblyman John Ellison of Elko for Speaker.
Ellison has a solid conservative voting record but has not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and is generally pretty media shy. As such, it was hoped that Ellison would be acceptable to the moderates and the Democrats, thereby eliminating Hickey’s “nuclear option” threat.
That consensus behind Ellison, by the way, included Hambrick, whom I spoke with that Sunday morning. And with Hambrick’s support, the conservatives had the 13 votes needed to elect Ellison.
But by Monday night, delusions of grandeur – perhaps mixed with a little Irish whiskey – infected Hambrick’s cerebellum. As such, he announced that he changed his mind – what are the odds?!!! – and was going to run for Speaker himself.
So conservatives no longer had the 13 votes to elect Ellison – who, by the way, unlike Hambrick, never wanted the position or sought it. He was willing to step up for the good of the cause, the good of the caucus, the good of the party and the good of the state.
John Ellison is a good man.
After talking with Hambrick, Ellison agreed to step aside and threw his support behind Hambrick, whose vacillation in the caucus was already legendary and whose campaign presentation in the first caucus meeting – when he ran unsuccessfully against Anderson for the Majority Leader post – was so awful that a number of conservatives couldn’t stomach voting for him and went with the moderate Anderson instead.
So it was going to be a HUGE challenge to sell all 12 conservative members of the caucus to support Hambrick for Speaker because everyone knew his backbone was made of silly putty.
Fiore spent the entire day on Tuesday, leading up to the caucus meeting and vote, driving around town and persuading her conservative colleagues to sign a “proxy” – a written authorization giving Speaker-designee Hansen the power to cast votes on their behalf.
Fiore successfully, and not without strong reservations among some of her colleagues, obtained the 12 proxies in support of Hambrick. And combined with Hansen’s vote, that gave Hambrick the 13 votes he needed to become the next Speaker-designee.
There is no doubt whatsoever, that Hambrick wouldn’t have gotten the votes needed to become Speaker-designee without the efforts of Fiore. And in a TV interview Hambrick did the day after his election, he admitted it and acknowledged the fact that Fiore made it all happen for him.
And this is how he repays her?
Oh, and just in case some of you still believe the animus Hambrick uncharitably harbors towards Fiore is all about the tax liens – and the fact that she called out a pair of political consultants who have been undermining the conservative movement in Nevada, as well as a tax-hiking GOP donor who has been actively doing the same thing (more below) – get this…
THE RECORD-SETTING TWO-MINUTE HAMBRICK FLIP-FLOP
OK, let’s do this one with a timeline…
On Tuesday night, December 2nd, Assembly Majority Leader Michele Fiore successfully engineered Assemblyman John Hambrick’s election as Speaker-designee.
The next night – even though caucus members had agreed that they all would avoid media appearances to discuss the caucus meeting – Hambrick went on a since-cancelled/little-watched TV show and announced that he was going to break his signed Tax Pledge and support the governor’s tax hike proposal.
Without even reading it…since it hasn’t even been introduced yet.
One week later, Hambrick announced for the first time that he was removing Fiore as Chair of the Taxation Committee.
The next day, he put her back on.
The day after that – Friday, December 12 at 6:49 a.m. – I sent Hambrick this email invitation…
“Are you able to speak at our center-right coalition lunch next Tuesday?”
At 11:39 a.m. he replied…
Now get this…
Not two minutes later (!), at 11:41 a.m., Hambrick sent this email to me…
“Chuck, I just noticed Michele is also speaking. I will not be there.”
What a baby.
And now you know…the rest…of the story.
But not the whole story. Coming up…
The story behind the story about Cory Christensen, Nathan Emens and Monte Miller.
Stay tuned, Batfans!
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“Although (Assemblywoman Michele) Fiore’s tax problems are a legitimate issue, they’re merely cover for the party officials and operatives who wanted her ousted from leadership because of her conservative views.” – Glenn Cook, senior editor, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 12/21/14