Political Eye: Berkley benefits from late lawmaker’s friendship

California Rep. Tom Lantos died in 2008, but his family just now is in the process of closing down the hefty campaign fund that financed his 14 terms representing a San Francisco Bay Area district in Congress.

In the meantime, the Lantos family has continued making contributions from the fund to charities and selected Democrats, and Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley has been the largest individual beneficiary among politicians.

Berkley has been given $10,000 since 2009 from the Lantos for Congress Committee, according to federal records. That includes $6,000 for her current U.S. Senate campaign, although Berkley aides say the latest check for $2,000 was being refunded because it exceeds a legal limit.

Lantos, who was born in Hungary in 1928, was notable as the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, and he built a record as an international human rights advocate. After his death, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that he formed was renamed in his memory.

As a House freshman in 1999, Jewish activist Berkley joined the human rights caucus at Lantos’ request, and the two became close friends. In 2005, they sat together in Poland at ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Since his death, the Nevada lawmaker has remained in touch with the Lantos family, her campaign confirmed.

Berkley and Lantos "shared a commitment to strengthening America’s partnership with Israel and protecting human rights across the globe," said her campaign spokesman, Eric Koch.

Among other Democrats, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada received $1,000 from the Lantos fund during his 2010 re-election bid.

Lantos and Berkley "were very good friends and colleagues," said Denise Perron, executive director of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice that was established after he died.

The chairman of the foundation is Annette Lantos, the late congressman’s wife. The president is Katrina Lantos Swett, his daughter who is married to former New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Dick Swett.

Perron said she understood the campaign fund, which contained $827,688 at the end of March, was in the process of being terminated. According to Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, it is unusual for a campaign fund to remain active and making contributions more than a year or so after a lawmaker’s death.

– Steve Tetreault


The old adage is there is no such thing as a free lunch. Whoever came up with that saying apparently had not run into Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.

Kirkpatrick bought free pizza last Tuesday for all members of her interim legislative committee – which goes by the mouthful the Committee on the Allocation of Money Distributed From the Local Government Tax Distribution Account. She also provided lunches to the legislative staff and even members of the audience.

The meeting was teleconferenced between Carson City and Las Vegas, so she bought lunch for attendees in both cities. Kirkpatrick forgot that the meeting also was teleconferenced to Elko, however. She apologized to the handful of people there, and told them she would catch them next time.

Kirkpatrick is in a good mood these days since she drew no opposition in her bid for re-election. Now if she only could shorten the interminably long name of her interim committee, even members of the press who must mention the name in stories would be happy, too.

– Ed Vogel


Anyone who follows the Legislature quickly learns the colorful favorite phrases of legislators.

In past decades, no legislator would dare do anything to "kill the goose that laid the golden egg," that being the gaming industry.

Legislators also have dubbed their often boring process of turning words into laws "LEG-O-MATIC," after the popular "VEG-O-MATIC" food processing devices sold on old TV commercials.

Now the favorite phrase of people like state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, has become "drill down," or to explore in detail the reasons for a policy or a law. It’s an appropriate phrase for legislators in the nation’s No. 1 gold state and words Horsford uses frequently in hearings on proposed legislation.

At a hearing last Wednesday on the new formula for higher education funding, Horsford used "drill down" repeatedly. Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich must be a good listener, since he began using "drill down," too.

Since he uses it, one would expect college students and professors now to "drill down" more on their studies and classes.

Unfortunately, Gregory Mosier, the dean of the business college at UNR and a nonvoting member of the higher education funding committee, said students today are not drilling down enough.

Mosier said too many students today skip classes. At $170 per credit hour, that is downright pound foolish.

– Ed Vogel

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

News Videos
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
Mylar Balloon Demo
NV Energy presented a demonstration Wednesday to depict the damage that can be caused by the release of Mylar balloons.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students. Educators from around the State are bringing the Red for Ed movement to the steps of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, NV, and to the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing