Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith wrote on Tuesday about the Wiregate investigation into claims by Assemblyman Chris “Let’s Make a Deal” Edwards that he was “extorted” by efforts to get him to change his vote in leadership fights that took place inside the Republican Assembly Caucus in December.
The main targets of Metro’s investigation appear to be GOP activists Tony Dane and Rob Lauer, as well as a handful of Edwards’ Assembly colleagues who the freshman may have secretly taped.
But as Smith points out, Edwards may inadvertently be blowing the whistle on what some would call “legal extortion” – the practice of juicing up elected officials with campaign donations.
For example, Smith pointed out that some $36,000 of Edwards’ total take of $79,000 – almost half – came AFTER he’d already won his election but BEFORE Edwards was seated as a state legislator. Smith concluded that “only Chris Edwards knows whether his new friends have won his heart, mind, and vote.”
I have to take issue with that. We all know that Edwards, like so many before him, has now been effectively bought and paid for with campaign donations. It’s the Nevada way. It’s legal. But it still stinks.
Minor correction: Smith reported that Edwards’ largesse was in response to his vote for Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick in the Assembly leadership fight. That is incorrect. Edwards was firmly in the camp of Hambrick’s opponent in that caucus election, Assemblyman Paul Anderson.
It was only after Hambrick won and double-crossed the 12 conservative members of the Assembly that Edwards hooked up with Hambrick and allegedly shopped his vote relating to a special caucus meeting and election on January 5th that ultimately never took place.
You can read Smith’s full column by clicking here