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Harry Reid still a force on money circuit

With his retirement next year, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s days as a Capitol Hill power broker might be numbered. But on the fundraising trail the Nevadan evidently still can rake it in from Democratic special interests.

Reid helped raise $1 million as the headliner at a July 12 “Hats Off to Harry” event aimed at trial lawyers attending the annual conference of the American Association of Justice, according to a report last week in Politico.

Reid flew to the gathering in Montreal, Canada, on the private jet of trial lawyer John Eddie Williams, the Houston-based attorney who has won big settlements from tobacco and drug companies and represented victims of asbestos exposure.

A trial lawyer himself before entering Congress, the Senate Democratic leader has retained deep ties to the legal industry and collected a “Champion of Civil Justice” award from the group. About 150 people attended the event, according to Politico.

Reid has condemned big Republican money in politics, but also has not hesitated to fight fire with fire as chief fundraiser for Senate Democrats. His message to the lawyers invoked his favorite whipping boys — the Koch brothers.

“All that super PAC money that comes in from all those people — the Koch brothers and others — the TV stations see that coming, and they can charge them whatever they want,” Reid said, according to a transcript that Politico reported. “So the money that you give here — over a million dollars — will be multiplied so many times compared to that super PAC money. So thank you all very very much.”

—Steve Tetreault


We live in Las Vegas, so it’s a little embarrassing to have to ask a gambling question like this: What’s it called when you double-down on a double-down of your double-down?

That’s what Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, appeared to be doing in a Twitter post Friday aimed squarely at critics who already see her as Nevada’s most outspoken, polarizing politician.

The Tweet reads: “Bammm! Check out my truck’s new General Lee horn. Just for all you Liberals out there. Have a great weekend.” Then there is a link to a YouTube video of her proudly tooting her own horn.

Fiore has already made headlines for suggesting on her radio show that cancer is a fungus that can be flushed away with baking soda, for telling a GOP colleague on the Assembly floor to “sit your ass down,” and for her public support of Clark County rancher Cliven Bundy.

Next up for Fiore: A slow-motion jump over the Truckee River in her truck — new horn blaring — with the county sheriff in hot pursuit. Yee-haw!

—Henry Brean


There is a shuffle going on at the Nevada attorney general’s office, part of a reorganization pushed by Attorney General Adam Laxalt and approved by the 2015 Legislature.

Laxalt on Friday said the move will save money and create an executive management level to increase efficiency.

Michael Mersch is rejoining the office as general counsel. The former senior deputy attorney general, Mersch most recently was a senior vice president and assistant general counsel for Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Greg Zunino is also returning to the office as bureau chief of government affairs, where he will oversee matters involving health and human services, transportation and taxation. Also a former senior deputy attorney general, Zunino for the past 10 years served as chief administrative law judge for the Nevada Department of Taxation.

Other bureau chief appointments include Ann McDermott, litigation; Jeffrey Segal, criminal justice; and Brin Gibson, gaming, business and industry.

Nic Danna, a former city of Los Angeles prosecutor, was named special assistant attorney general for the office of military legal assistance; and Patty Cafferata, serving as communications director, was named special assistant attorney general for the office of neighborhood protection.

Wayne Howle was tapped as division chief for natural resources. He is replacing Marta Adams, who retired.

Andrea Barraclough was named division chief of public safety, and Jennifer Hostetler was appointed division chief of personnel.

Laxalt also appointed Samuel Kern as acting division chief of fraud.

—Sandra Chereb


Gov. Brian Sandoval and his traveling partners representing Nevada education and business interests will be in Leipzig, Germany, on Monday as the second week of his two-week European trade mission gets underway.

While in the largest city in the state of Saxony, Sandoval will spend the day focusing on workforce training and education issues with German officials.

On Tuesday, Sandoval will be in Dresden, Germany, before heading to Warsaw, Poland, on Wednesday.

The mission spent the first week in Ireland, England and Germany, including Berlin. The group will also visit Italy before the mission ends Sunday.

During his visit in London last week, Sandoval said in a news release that he worked to strengthen the ties between the state of Nevada and the United Kingdom in discussions with government officials and business leaders. With over $170 million in exports to Nevada in 2014, the United Kingdom is the state’s eighth largest trading partner.

“As one of our Top 10 trading partners, the UK has become a focus of our international outreach efforts,” Sandoval said. “With a new focus on water technology and commercialization, and through my discussions with government officials and business investors, I am confident there are ways for the state of Nevada and the United Kingdom to further enhance our bilateral trade partnership for the mutual benefit of both parties.”

The Nevada Division of Tourism hosted a reception where Sandoval highlighted the travel and tourism opportunities found in Nevada, from the Las Vegas Strip to the unique annual cowboy poetry festival held in Elko every year.

A “Doing Business in Nevada” seminar was also hosted by Sandoval to meet with prospective investors and companies that are interested in expansion and investment opportunities in Nevada.

—Sean Whaley

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Find him on Twitter: @RefriedBrean. Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901. Find her on Twitter: @SandraChereb. Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801. Contact Review-Journal Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@reviewjournal.com or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @STetreaultDC.

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