Berkley swings back at attack ad


Rep. Shelley Berkley has put some money behind her rebuttal to an attack ad that reminds viewers of the ethics allegations pending against her in Congress.

Berkley's campaign for Senate began airing a commercial of its own today (video below) responding to the hit by American Crossroads that is backing incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller.

In an ad this week (video below), the political group founded by top GOP strategist Karl Rove revived accusations that Berkley lobbied colleagues and federal officials on health care matters that benefited her husband, Las Vegas nephrologist Dr. Larry Lehrner.

One of the issues, detailed in a New York Times article last September, was that Berkley pressed regulators to keep open the kidney transplant program at University Medical Center that in 2008 was being threatened with closure by the Department of Health and Human Services. Lehrner's partnership was medical director of the kidney department.

"Seen this ad by Dean Heller supporters?" opens the new Berkley spot with a flash to the Crossroads commercial.

"The truth: Shelley Berkley worked with Dean Heller, standing up to Washington bureaucrats who wanted to close Nevada's only kidney transplant center. This was about saving lives." A letter to the federal department highlights both signatures.

The ad further shows a Las Vegas Sun editorial declaring "no conflict" by Berkley.

Besides the UMC episode, the New York Times reported Berkley "has co-sponsored at least five House bills that would expand federal reimbursements or other assistance for kidney care, written letters to regulators to block enforcing rules or ease the flow of money to kidney care centers and appeared regularly at fund-raising events sponsored by a professional organization her husband has helped run."

Whether any of the above violates House ethics rules remains to be seen. The House ethics committee has said it will decide by July 9 whether to dismiss the matter or open an investigation.

Shelley Berkley ad

American Crossroads ad