Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Postscript on Whittemore Verdict, SB 49, & the Real Solution to Nevada's Culture of Corruption

What a fall from grace. Not too long ago, Harvey Whittemore was one of Nevada's top power players. But now, he's officially a convict.

A U.S. District Court jury has found developer Harvey Whittemore guilty on three counts of making illegal campaign contributions.

Jurors are telling U.S. District Court Judge Larry Hicks they don't think they can reach a verdict on charges Whittemore lied to the FBI. Hicks is sending the jury back to deliberate on the lying charge.

Oh, and what we discussed over two months ago still stands.

Of course, the usual suspects will try to spin this all sorts of ways. So let's first clear this up: Harvey Whittemore was an opportunistic and bipartisan "juice man". He once had close ties to Harry Reid, Dean Heller, and a whole host of politicians at all levels of government across the state. He was only abandoned when the FBI began investigating him.

As we've discussed before, this is the tactic often used to deflect from the real pursuit of real solutions to this ongoing problem of corruption in Nevada Government. It's easy to just blame a politician who once received campaign contributions. It's much riskier to actually propose shutting down the ongoing "Merry-go-round of Corruption". [...]

We will only experience more of these embarrassing corruption scandals if we fail to address the root of this problem. That's why we eventually need real, serious dialogue on clean money. With clean money (or public financing of campaigns), we can finally have clean elections. And with clean elections, our elected officials are no longer beholden to shady "juice men" and conniving corporate lobbyists.

So before we hear any pundits and politicians restart the blame game on this and/or any future corruption scandals to emerge, we should dare them to offer a solution. Are they ready to bring clean money & clean elections to Nevada? If not, and if they don't like the concept of public financing, what is their solution?

Last month, we saw a glimmer of hope in SB 49's passage. And while the final bill does offer some campaign finance reform and more transparency than what we had become accustomed to, it's nonetheless a shadow of its former self. And it still comes nowhere close to ending Nevada's infamous culture of corruption.

Of course, we're not alone in this. New York has had its own share of recent scandals. And earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) showed some real courage in addressing the root of these corruption scandals... And advocating the real solution.

So my demand still stands. Before we hear any pundit and/or rival politician spin the Whittemore verdict against another politician, let's see these pundits and politicians discuss the real solution to this systemic corruption. This is what Nevada truly needs, not another meaningless round of finger pointing blame games.

No comments:

Post a Comment