Former state senators get confused about election laws

Wrapping up the week with a few tidbits gleaned from my recent blog postings:

CONFUSING ELECTION LAWS: Just because you make the laws doesn’t mean you understand them.

Election officials say former Republican state Sens. Joe Heck and Bob Beers failed to properly abide by the campaign finance laws after losing their elections in 2008 to Democratic novices. The laws governing losers are different than the laws governing winners. Losers were supposed to dispose of unspent campaign funds by Jan. 15, 2009.

In Beers’ case, there wasn’t a lot of money left over, just $7,320.

But Heck had nearly $114,000 left over. He believed he could roll that money over into his gubernatorial race, based on how he interpreted a letter from the secretary of state.

“Both broke the law, but neither was intentionally trying to. They didn’t understand the law,” Deputy Secretary for Elections Matthew Griffin said Friday.

He has proposed Beers pay a $500 fine (far less than the $5,000 maximum), dispose of the money and provide proof how he did that.

He waived any fine for Heck, on the condition Heck shows how he disposed of the money.

Heck, now trying to unseat Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., is not allowed to transfer the money to a federal account.

You have to wonder how clean and clear the campaign finance reporting laws are when the ones who make the laws don’t understand them.

WHODUNIT?: Who placed a crude car bomb in Harry Reid’s family car in 1981?

In his book, “The Good Fight,” Reid wrote there was speculation the man behind it was Jack Gordon, who went to prison for trying to bribe Reid with $12,000 in 1978 so the then-gaming commissioner would approve a gaming device.

Reid wrote that his good friend, Gary Bates, offered to kill Gordon after Reid’s car was sabotaged, but Reid nixed the idea.

Bates, a former boxer who has known Reid since childhood, confirmed to me he offered to kill Gordon.

“And I’d do it again,” he said, saying Reid’s version in his book is accurate.

Bates, 64, is a former bodyguard for Reid and now a dealer on the Strip. Today, he believes the bomb was either the work of Gordon or mob associate Frank Rosenthal, both now dead.

Reid won’t tell me specifically who he now believes was behind the device, but his ads claim it was “the mob.”

WOMEN INTERVIEWED: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has interviewed District Court Judge Elissa Cadish and Deputy District Attorney Gloria Navarro as potential candidates for a vacant federal judgeship, sources confirmed. However, I don’t know if they’re the only ones the senator has interviewed.

One indication Navarro is the frontrunner is she is undergoing an FBI background check. Cadish is not.

Navarro, 42, was born and raised in Las Vegas, and her family’s origins are in Cuba. She graduated from law school at Arizona State University and was admitted to the Nevada bar in 1994. She now works in the civil division in the district attorney’s office. She also has been a deputy public defender and worked in private practice, including family law.

Cadish, 45, has been a judge since August 2007. Before that, she was in private practice focusing on commercial law and litigation. She earned her law degree from the University of Virginia and was admitted to the Nevada bar in 1991.

Reid will not discuss the status of his selection process and has even refused to say whether he is making it a priority to appoint a woman or minority to the all-white male judicial team on the U.S. District Court bench in Nevada. As a Hispanic woman, Navarro would be both.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at or call (702) 383-0275. She also blogs at

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