By FRED WEINBERG Penny Press Publisher
By FRED WEINBERG
Penny Press Publisher
Last week, Congressman Jim Gibbons, who’s running for Governor in the GOP primary, told the Las Vegas Review Journal the that he had practiced the fine old art of shaking down a constituent, his former employer Delta Airlines.
"Gibbons tells a curious story about his first term in the Assembly. Perhaps intended to illustrate his ability to stand his ground, it also reads as a tale of political payback.
The newly elected legislator told Delta (airlines), his employer, that he would need a six-month unpaid leave to serve in the Assembly. But unlike his previous airline, Delta didn’t have a public-service leave policy, and Gibbons was told he would have to choose between his job as a pilot and serving in the Legislature.
Sure enough, when Gibbons went to Carson City he was fired for failing to show up to work. But he soon had a chance to get back at the airline.
"The Legislature was increasing the tax on jet fuel, and they put me in charge of the bill," Gibbons said. "Delta sent a representative to lobby, and guess who they had to come talk to? Me.’"
After a week of pundits and his opponent Bob Beers pointing out the obvious—that we had just convicted three former county commissioners of the same offense—Gibbons’ personal spinmeister, Sig Rogich, released the following statement:
For Immediate Release July 25, 2006
For Immediate Release
July 25, 2006
Contact: Rachel Wilkinson
The Rogich Communications Group
Senator Bill Raggio Defends Congressman Gibbons Against "False Beer’s Accusation"
Senator Bill Raggio Defends Congressman Gibbons
Against "False Beer’s Accusation"
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, NV—Nevada State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio said today that the allegation that Jim Gibbons, as a newly elected State Assemblyman, worked to introduce legislation to harm Delta in 1989 "is just simply wrong".
"A bill was introduced in the Senate and it included a fuel surcharge amendment that eventually did not pass. Jim had absolutely nothing to do with it," said Senator Raggio.
Just prior to that bill, the Nevada State Legislature as a whole voted unanimously to pass Assembly Concurrent Resolution #12, a bi-partisan resolution to encourage Delta Airlines to reconsider its policy decision to deny requests for unpaid leave for legislative service.
"The resolution was introduced by a wonderful Assemblyman, the late Marvin Sedway, a Democrat, in response to the outrage felt by both houses following Delta’s firing of Jim when he was just newly elected to the Assembly. It urged Delta Airlines to allow common citizens to participate in elected government and was sent to Delta’s CEO and President," said Senator Raggio.
Gibbons said that he did meet with Delta’s lobbyist at Senator Raggio’s request and that he poked fun at the fact that Delta had fired him and now they were coming to meet with him. The meeting wasn’t more than 20 minutes and the fuel charge amendment never passed.
"After that meeting, that was it. I had nothing more to do with the bill. As a newly elected Assemblyman, having been sworn in for two weeks or so, I just found it funny that Delta’s lobbyist would come and see me after they fired me for wanting to serve in the Legislature," said Congressman Gibbons.
Are we missing something here or does Rogich think we’re stupid enough not to notice that Gibbons is using the same defense that convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui used after he confessed to being part of the 9-11 plot?
Moussaoui you’ll remember had his lawyers tell the court that he wasn’t really all that important to the plot and they brought on testimony—from other terrorists—that Moussaoui was a wannabe terrorist, not a real one.
In this case, we have a sitting Congressman now running for Governor bragging about shaking down Delta Airlines (see RJ story excerpt above).
And then we see his spin doctor release a statement from another legislator saying, "no that’s not true."
An inquiring mind would be led to ask the question, which time was the Gubernatorial candidate not telling the truth.?
Was he lying the first time to make himself seem like a big shot that knows the wil world of Tip O’Neil local politics?
Or is he lying now?
And why does he need Sig Rogich to do his talking for him.
Why can’t he just call a press conference like everyone else and say Mea Culpa?
If he were elected Governor, would we be dealing with him like this on a daily basis?
Or has Sig made the determination that Nevada’s media is so stupid that it won’t be a problem?
But wait, it gets even better than that.
The headline of the Rogich press release essentially accuses Beers of lying about something that his candidate freely told the newspaper.
It went on to quote Nevada Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio.
Beers is also a friend of Raggio’s and called him to find out what, exactly he had said.
"I spoke this morning to State Sen. Bill Raggio, who is in New York, and he denied saying that I made false accusations of any kind. He said Sig Rogich called him for his recollections on the Gibbons/Delta Air Lines/jet fuel tax nexus from the 1989 Nevada legislative session, which he freely related. However, Raggio said neither Rogich nor he used my name in that conversation."
Most of this could be dealt with save for the fact that Gibbons has refused to debate Beers.
Perhaps, now, we know why.