Nevada’s Dean of Political Pundits, Jon Ralston, went after the libertarian-conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) in his Las Vegas Sun column today.
Jon maintains that the organization’s recent revelations that government employee/Assembly Speaker John Oceguera double-dips taxpayers, and that Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford may have led efforts to wrongly shift money from a college tuition savings program and pump it into the Millennium Scholarship program, somehow makes NPRI part of the GOP’s “attack machine.”
As if the GOP even HAD an attack machine….at least here in Nevada.
According to Jon the reason NPRI is targeting Oceguera and Horsford – and to a lesser extent in the college savings brouhaha, state Treasurer Kate Marshall – is that they are all Democrat candidates for Congress; a subtle but clear warning shot-across-the-bow that the non-partisan group may be violating its non-partisan IRS status.
By Jon’s reasoning, since NPRI is philosophically conservative, and the Democrats being targeted happen to be newly-announced congressional candidates, then NPRI must be “trying to hurt Democratic congressional hopefuls” to help the Republican Party.
Totally illogical logic.
More likely, fulfilling its mission to educate the public on possible abuses of power is what led NPRI to investigate the Senate LEADER and Assembly LEADER and state TREASURER which has absolutely nothing to do with their congressional campaigns.
NPRI is a government watchdog, not a partisan attack dog. And these three elected officials are all in powerful leadership positions in the government. NPRI can’t help it that they also suffer blind political ambition.
Indeed, I should also like to point out that NPRI was virtually the lone, and quite vocal conservative voice, in opposition to REPUBLICAN Gov. Brian Sandoval’s use of raided local government funds to fill his budget gap last session – well before the Nevada Supreme Court threw a wet blanket over the practice. It has also loudly objected to the REPUBLICAN governor’s budget deal which raised taxes $600 million.
So Jon’s claim of partisanship by the non-partisan organization simply doesn’t hold water. NPRI will go after anybody who is abusing power, growing government or wasting tax dollars, regardless of party. If the Assembly Leader was a double-dipping government employee who happened to be a Republican, NPRI would be on him or her like white on rice, too.
I’m sure our friends over at the conservative think tank aren’t happy with being targeted by a hit piece authored by the state’s leading and highly-respected political commentator this morning, but they should consider these thoughtful words widely attributed to a truly non-partisan man of peace, Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Sounds like victory may be right around the corner!