March, 17, 2022
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON "SCANDALOUS" CLAIMS BY MY OPPONENT
I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a public figure working to reduce the power of government, promote liberty, protect taxpayers and increase transparency.
As you can imagine, that hasn’t made me popular with everyone. People who profit from government waste or who benefit from corrupt deals with lawmakers have taken extreme measures to silence me.
On two different occasions, I’ve faced death threats. People have threatened my family and damaged my property. I’ve been attacked and denigrated by progressive alt-weekly rags and by progressive bloggers who tried to limit my effectiveness through outright lies or by dramatically exaggerating events.
A recent hit piece by a socialist news site criticized my wife and I for being involved with a project that empowered consumers, while protecting small business owners from expensive, time-consuming frivolous lawsuits. The article targeted us because it would hurt the bottom lines of Democratic trial lawyers.
My wife and I also each lost jobs because I refused to stop investigating government corruption that ultimately benefited our employers — a newspaper and a law firm that each received money from the scheme.
Clearly, I don’t back down from doing what’s right.
Last week, I faced a similar situation.
I was threatened by a supporter of one of my primary opponents and told that if I ran for Clark County Commission, he would ruin my life by having an investigative researcher dig up dirt about me.
Despite this, I decided to run. So I wanted to self-expose anything that could possibly be used against me, and have the opportunity to discuss any concerns with voters of District F before any information came out.
In my life, I’ve written more than 3,000 columns, op-eds and editorials. Some have been controversial. Others were correct at the time, but I would write differently now because of new research or additional information.
A Wild and Crazy Porn Addict
The one column I’ve written that seemed to garner the most controversy in the past, and I’m sure my opponents will try to use against me now, is a 2013 piece that appeared in The Daily Caller. The piece, which I encourage you to read, looks at a number of very credible studies that found access to pornography actually reduces the number of rapes and sexual assaults in America. In fact, access to the internet (and, thus, access to porn) is also related to lower divorce and teen pregnancy rates.
It was written at a time in which there was considerable discussion about censoring the internet in the belief (an incorrect belief, it turns out) that prohibiting online porn would reduce rape and sexual assault.
As an economist, as well as someone who fights for a free and uncensored internet, I found these findings newsworthy enough to share. Anytime research runs counter to what many people think, it makes for a good read.
Sharing the findings of this research certainly doesn’t make me, as a political opponent might disingenuously claim, some sort of wild and crazy advocate of pornography.
In fact, I point out in the column that, “[P]orn isn’t without its shortcomings. Child exploitation in the adult industry, while less common than in years past, is still a disturbing problem that is unacceptable under any circumstance. Further, excessive porn usage can have a damaging impact on relationships. As Ingrid Wickelgren, an editor at Scientific American Mind points out, ‘In a study of female partners of heavy porn users, 42 percent said it made them feel insecure; 39 percent said it had a negative impact on their relationship and 32 percent said it negatively affected their lovemaking.’”
I go on to point out that, “While porn has a number of benefits, that doesn’t invalidate the views of people who oppose pornography for moral, religious or personal reasons.”
The column is scientifically accurate, reasonable and measured, and highlights the legitimate concerns associated with pornography.
Telling the truth and inviting discussion shouldn’t be a reason for anyone not to vote for me, or a cause for concern about my electability.
The Death Penalty
I am also among a majority of Nevadans, and a growing number of Republicans, who oppose the death penalty. I have written extensively about why the death penalty goes against my conservative, limited government values. I’ve had op-eds in the Review-Journal and the Nevada Independent encouraging the state to end its death penalty.
The death penalty unnecessarily costs Clark County residents more than $5 million each year. Study after study proves the threat of the death penalty does not reduce violent crime. Capital punishment also often fails to provide murder victims’ families the closure and peace they deserve due to numerous appeals and often emotionally painful legal process associated with the death penalty.
Additionally, Nevada’s death penalty may be the most racist law on the books. For example, when a murder victim is White, the perpetrator is more likely to receive the death penalty than when the person killed is Black or Hispanic. Here in Nevada, Black people make up 10% percent of the state population, but account for 40% of the population on Nevada’s death row.
Finally, the government isn’t capable of handing out driver’s licenses without ridiculous wait times and mountains of bureaucracy. So why should we trust government to decide who lives and who dies? We now know that a number of innocent people have been erroneously put to death.
For years, I believed the death penalty was an appropriate punishment for heinous crimes. But after extensive research and reflection, I’ve come to realize the death penalty does not reflect my fiscally conservative, limited government beliefs. I proudly support a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole, rather than the flawed, wasteful, racist death penalty.
In addition to what I’ve written, I’ve also spent hundreds of hours on the radio, given scores of speeches and sat on dozens of panels at conferences and political events.
At one point in my 20s, I had the honor of co-hosting a radio show promoting a beauty pageant. The show was on a Christian conservative station where I regularly appeared to talk about political and policy issues. I was asked to be part of the show because I had a familiarity with pageant scoring systems and what judges were looking for in contestants.
We interviewed the women and gave our predictions on who might win. Obviously, since it was a beauty pageant and not a serious political topic, we tried to make the event fun, discussing dress colors and chatting about songs contestants chose to sing during the talent competition.
In today’s cancel-culture world where pageants are criticized and discussing someone’s looks (even positively) is frowned upon, I doubt such a radio show could exist. And if it did, I wouldn’t take part in it as a 42 year old married man.
But in the context of the times, when I was only a year or two older than some of the women in competition, with the knowledge I had of pageants, and within the confines of a very family-friend radio show, it’s nothing I’m ashamed or embarrassed to have done.
I have lived my life in the public eye since I was 24 years old and founded one of the most effective, respected free market, limited government think tanks in America. As a result, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to make mistakes.
I haven’t done everything perfectly, but I’m damn proud of the man that I am today. And I am blessed beyond measure that I’ve been able to spend my career making people freer through advancing individual liberty, protecting civil rights, and reducing the size and scope of government.