September 7, 2011

Berkley's husband's healthcare influence questioned

Monday's New York Times ran a front page story about Nevada Representative Shelley Berkley's potential conflict of interest in legislating healthcare reform.

The Times reported how Berkley has been instrumental in protecting University Medical Center's kidney transplant program while her husband is a kidney specialist who benefits from the continued program.

As political columnist Jon Ralston notes in the Las Vegas Sun, Berkley has "never hidden the influence from her husband" and most Nevadans are familiar with Berkley's close ties to the medical sector.

However, both the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Sun note that the Times story makes her ties national news and will probably affect her as she runs for the Senate.

As an unnamed Republican strategist told the Sun:
"She's had to weather it in a 20-point Democratic district...She's never had to weather it in a tossup election."
No doubt this story will be brought up again in campaign ads against Berkley in next year's election cycle.