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Wrong address

Lynette Boggs — who spent most of her political career as Lynette Boggs McDonald — never had much of a cheering section among the valley’s labor unions.

The Notre Dame graduate and former Miss Oregon usually ran as a Republican, championed free-market principles and opposed the recent massive pay and benefit hikes for Metro police and other Clark County employees.

So as last year’s election approached, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and Culinary Local 226 were motivated by something other than civic virtue when they hired a private investigator to place County Commissioner Boggs McDonald under surveillance, checking on rumors she actually lived outside her district.

The union came up with six weeks of hidden-camera videotape, showing the county commissioner picking up the newspaper in her bathrobe, taking out the trash and coming and going with her children from a Dutch Valley home outside Commission District F — a different address than that listed on her sworn affidavit of candidacy.

The union’s private investigator also acquired a sworn statement from the commissioner’s former baby-sitter, testifying that $1,230 which Ms. Boggs McDonald had listed as campaign expenditures actually paid for baby-sitting.

The publicity was devastating. Despite a huge fund-raising advantage, Ms. Boggs McDonald lost her re-election bid.

Her problems were not over. On Monday, District Attorney David Roger indicted Lynette Boggs for lying on her residency statement and on forms that claimed the baby-sitting expenditures were legitimate campaign costs. The 43-year-old former commissioner faces four felony counts — two each of perjury and filing false or forged documents.

Compared to the bribery and vote-peddling that brought down former commissioners Erin Kenny, Dario Herrera and Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, this is lightweight stuff. Furthermore, Ms. Boggs deserves a presumption of innocence.

But those who blatantly stick their finger in the eye of the law must be brought to account. Once the attorney general and secretary of state recused themselves due to possible conflicts, the ball was in Mr. Roger’s court. He did his job.

That said, let’s not miss the true significance of this event — which goes far beyond Ms. Boggs’ political future, or the kind of wrist-slap a first offender can probably expect on such charges.

Only those still brushing themselves off after tumbling from the hay wagon could believe Ms. Boggs is the first local politician to claim an “address of convenience.” Within the statute of limitations, plenty of other local office-holders have committed this offense — and their sworn affidavits of candidacy are still on file.

Yes, the unions presented Mr. Roger with evidence he couldn’t ignore. But shouldn’t the district attorney and his staff now be obliged to root out any similarly blatant violations of the residency requirement, examples of mis-spent campaign cash, even political payoffs disguised as “pay-me-later” land deals?

The precedent has been set.

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