AG Stacks Deck Against Brian Krolicki: Indictment to Proceed in Vegas
By Charlie Hastings
Friday, July 17, 2009
Back on May 8th, Nevada Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki appeared before judge Elissa Cadish of the 8th District Court of Nevada in response to felony charges of misappropriations. The charges, as discussed in a previous Beat Reid article, centered around the Nevada State College Savings Program designed to help parents save money for their children’s college education.
Krolicki’s lawyers motioned that the Attorney General’s office be disqualified from the case due to contracts they originally approved that are pertinent to the program. They also contended that the case was improperly filed in Las Vegas, and should instead be tried in a Northern Nevada court. On Monday, news came from the Attorney General’s office regarding the case.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen, in documents filed to the court regarding the case, stated that because the alleged violations occurred in Clark County, the grand jury’s decision to file the case there was entirely appropriate. So, the case against Krolicki, along with his chief of staff Kathryn Besser who is also charged, will proceed as planned.
What this spells out for the political scene in Nevada is very clear. There could be one less viable candidate to run against Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the midterm elections to be held in 2010. Brian Krolicki had been under investigation for over a year and a half, but the indictment came just after indicating his interest in running against Harry Reid. The political scuttlebutt centered around assumptions that Harry Reid had a hand in the Krolicki Indictment in order to sabotage Krolicki’s chances of becoming a serious opponent.
In a public news conference Krolicki said, “I respectfully ask the citizens of Nevada to keep an open mind as the legal process proceeds in the coming weeks and months, and I submit that you will come to view this exercise for what it truly is-not a prudent prosecution, but a partisan persecution.” Among the allegations against Krolicki is that he spent more money on advertising campaigns for the College State Savings Plan than was approved by the legislature. There were radio and television commercials that featured Brian Krolicki himself endorsing the program. Marketing of government programs often include messages from high-profile elected officials. Harry Reid himself is currently on the air in similar TV ads.
The Reno News & Review requested that one former prosecutor read the indictment. Their response was that it failed to show any clear intent by Krolicki or Besser to commit a corrupt act. Rather, that it was more a criticism of Krolicki’s executive style: “I guess you could make a case that things had been mismanaged, but mismanagement is not usually prosecuted. You need venality or something stronger.”
Brian Krolicki has the distinction of being one of the few republican candidates capable of grabbing a fair share of democratic votes. He’s popular amongst both the democratic and republican branchs in the legislature and viewed as someone who is cooperative and easy to work with. This gives him the unique ability to effectively erode democratic votes, making him a threat to powerful Democratic leaders like Harry Reid.
Reid commented on the charge that he may have orchestrated the allegations against Brian Krolicki on December 3rd: “This is just absolute fiction. I would not do anything like that. That’s unethical. … It’s kind of insulting to have to answer the question.”
The likelihood that Krolicki will be able to survive the allegations against him and emerge with a not guilty verdict is fairly good. But the damage done to his chances of success in defeating Harry Reid could be irreparable. The voters may not let any associations with candidates and criminal charges go unpunished, a concept not lost on Brian Krolicki.
We contacted Lieutenant Governor Krolicki through his campaign management team, Ryan Erwin|Associates. In a statement made to us at beatreid.com, he said “The most important thing right now is to beat Harry Reid, whether or not I’m the person to do that.” He went on to say “If there is another candidate we can all rally behind, I would support them fully.”
The Krolicki team has handled his legal struggles with as much aplom as could be expected. Brian Krolicki’s graceful acceptance of the possiblilty of his not leading the GOP charge against Reid is encouraging. If he is meant to hold the next Nevada senate seat, we couldn’t wish for a better, more sensible choice. If not, it is good to know that whichever candidate does pick up the torch will have a strong ally in Mr. Krolicki. The Beat Reid movement stands behind anyone wishing to gain ground in the fight against Harry Reid. Together, we will form a strong unified front against those who practice the politics of personal gain and deceit. We can and must defeat Harry reid in 2010.