Watchdog barks; raises money

This note from NPRI rustles up $$ via it's double-dipping reporting. For your edification.

From: "Sharon J. Rossie" [] Nevada Policy Research Institutue

Sent: 07/13/2011 12:52 PM AST

To: Sherman Frederick

Subject: We caught 'em!

Dear Friend,

We're putting pressure on Nevada's politicians who think they're above the law — and with your help, we can keep the pressure up!

In case you missed it, a recent investigative report from the Nevada Policy Research Institute's own Steven Miller revealed "double-dipping" by Democratic Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, who is also a fireman for the City of North Las Vegas.

The NPRI news story notes that at the same time Oceguera was leading his fellow Democrats in the Nevada Legislature, fire department records show he was simultaneously drawing pay as assistant fire chief from the city fire department!

This kind of "double-dipping" — serving in two branches of government at the same time — is forbidden by the Nevada Constitution under its separation-of-powers clause. Yet investigative-reporting work by NPRI has documented this all-too-common practice here in the Silver State.

And now, we're letting the people of Nevada know about it!

The story has sparked a firestorm of media coverage, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Reno Gazette-Journal, the Las Vegas Sun, the Nevada Appeal, MSNBC, channels 3, 5, 8, and 13 in Las Vegas, channels 2, 4 and 8 in Reno and multiple radio stations throughout the state all running stories on the controversy.

Even Al Gillespie, the North Las Vegas fire chief, has weighed in, attempting to defend his department's practices and to demonstrate that Oceguera has not acted improperly. Yet all Gillespie was able to offer was a series of vague generalities that raise even more questions about the nature of Oceguera's multiple taxpayer-funded jobs. Gillespie even went so far as to claim that the records NPRI relied on in the original story were inaccurate — apparently forgetting that the records were provided by the North Las Vegas Fire Department itself!

NPRI's Victor Joecks summed it up best in a recent letter to the editor, published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Mr. Gillespie claims that Oceguera drew his firefighter salary while in Carson City "by the book."
The problem is, he's also told the public that the books aren't accurate.

My friend, this isn't over. We at NPRI intend to continue to pursue this story until all the facts about government employees' clear flaunting of the Nevada Constitution come to light. You as a taxpayer deserve nothing less than the truth.

And you have the opportunity to make it happen.

With a tax-deductible donation to NPRI today, you can help ensure we have the resources we need to continue probing political corruption. And often that's a genuine challenge, since many state agencies attempt to put hurdles, including financial hurdles, between the public and the truth. Let me explain.

Under Nevada's open-records law, agencies can charge requestors for the agencies' legitimate expenses in making those records available. But quite frequently agencies quote very high fees in an effort to keep us from getting the information that by all rights should be public.

You can be sure that, as responsible stewards of our members' money, we constantly battle, haggle and negotiate with government agencies over the exorbitant fees they frequently charge. But the reality is that investigating the government is by far the best way — when Nevada is facing unprecedented economic and fiscal challenges — to stop our politicians from playing fast and loose with your money.

Will you, through our news operation, Nevada Journal, help us to continue aggressively covering this and other instances of public officials in Nevada behaving as though the law simply doesn't apply to them? For far too long, some of the most egregious cases of government corruption have gone unreported here in our state. But with your help, we can and will bring them to light!

And I have some exciting news to share: A donor who is enthusiastic about our investigative-reporting work has agreed to match, dollar for dollar, any donation we receive toward this effort. That's right: Every dollar you donate will have twice the impact! Will you please donate to this important effort right now?

Nothing is more infuriating than watching Nevada's politicians neglect their responsibilities to follow the law and to act responsibly with public money. Here at NPRI, we are committed to exposing as much of this corruption as we can. And your support can make a difference.

I hope we can count on you!


Sharon J. Rossie


P.S.   Doubling-dipping Speaker John Oceguera doesn't want you to donate to NPRI. He knows that every donation NPRI receives — even if it's just a dollar — means more resources dedicated to finding out the truth about his salary and the North Las Vegas Fire Department.

Instead of donating to NPRI, he'd prefer you simply forget that he collected two government salaries this year while raising taxes by more than $600 million.

With that in mind — and to send a message that you care about this story and will hold your elected officials accountable — I urge you to click here to make a tax-deductible donation to NPRI today!