Opinion: Sandoval— ‘A reason to believe again,’ or just more of the same?

SUBMITTED RELEASE FROM NEVADA STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

LAS VEGAS–Nevada Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval is running on the saintly slogan “a reason to believe again.” He portrays himself as the righteous man who can save the Silver State from the cycle of corruption and scandal wrought by GOP embarrassments Sen. John Ensign and Gov. Jim Gibbons.

But the truth is, Sandoval is just more of the same. One of his top advisors–Republican operative Mike Slanker–is a key player in the Ensign corruption scandal, now the subject of a full-blown investigation by the Department of Justice.

The same team that produced this radio ad attempting to set Sandoval apart as something different–instead of another Republican made in the mold of Gibbons and Ensign–also received subpoenas last week. The DOJ is seeking more information on how the senator allegedly helped Doug Hampton secure a lobbying job in violation of federal law. Ensign had an eight-month sexual relationship with Hampton’s wife while both Hamptons were working for him, and his parents paid the family $96,000, allegedly for their silence on the affair.

Slanker and Ensign also helped recruit Sandoval to run for governor while Sandoval was a sitting federal judge. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has questioned whether Sandoval’s contact with lobbyists and politicians while serving on the bench was appropriate, and is currently conducting an investigation into the issue.

So, is Sandoval “a reason to believe again,” or just more of the same?

“Haven’t Republicans brought enough scandal, corruption and embarrassment to the state of Nevada?” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director for the Nevada State Democratic Party. “The last thing this state needs at a time when we should be focusing on repairing our budget, creating jobs and building an education system that works for our children is to be distracted by more shady politicians made from the same mold as John Ensign and Jim Gibbons. Nevada deserves better–not more of the same.”

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