Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons would like some of your money to sue Obama over healthcare

April 13, 2010 |  6:12 am

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons might not be big on taxes. But he’s huge on donations.

One of the hallmarks of his political career has been establishing “funds” – somewhat similar to how Little League teams ask for money outside Wal-Mart, but without the cute kids. And uniforms.

In 2007, Gibbons set up a legal defense fund – the Republican governor has arguably spent more time with lawyers than legislators during his first term – without telling anybody as he was supposed to.

Nevada's Republican Governor Jim Gibbons

Despite the resulting hoopla, the fund concept made a comeback this year. Only this time, it was public, had a fancy name and was intended to supplement teacher salaries.

Unfortunately, the Education Gift Certificate program won’t save Nevada’s fiscally starved schools from cutting jobs and wages. As of April 2, it had received four donations for a total of $261.

“Divided among the state’s estimated 30,000 teachers, the $261 would give each educator less than 1 cent,” the Las Vegas Sun wryly noted.

(Also, to the donor who shelled out $1 – really?)

Yet the fund model will not die. Last week, Gibbons pushed forward with suing the federal government over the new healthcare reform law by sidestepping the state's unwilling Democratic attorney general and retaining private counsel.

(Side note: The chief lawyer, Mark Hutchison of Las Vegas, is a member of the Nevada Commission on Ethics, which has the authority to hear complaints involving the governor. Odd.)

Though Hutchison’s team is working pro bono, the state would still need to pony up a few thousand dollars in legal fees.

Doh! Nevada’s broke.

But facing a tough June reelection primary challenge, Gibbons has gained some traction by railing against, as he’s termed it, the “Reid/Pelosi/Obama Nationalized Health Care Plan.” So he established – you guessed it! – a Constitution Defense Fund.

Considering the poor performance of the teachers’ fund, we have a suggestion for this new endeavor: People want something in return for their cash. Instead of shaking an empty coffee can, metaphorically speaking, why not a “Battle Born” bake sale?

It makes an equal amount of sense. And, yum!

-- Ashley Powers

Click here to receive Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot or (for Nevada junkies) And our Facebook FAN page is right here.