By Chuck Muth
I gotta be honest, I almost fell for it.
In watching the Steve Sebelius interview with Nevada Senate Majority Leader and Democrat attorney general candidate Aaron “A.Ron” Ford on Channel 8 one could easily be taken in by the “youthful indiscretion” arguments excusing his four arrests while in college.
But first, let’s stop for a minute to give a little credit where credit is due… According to Kids Count Data Center, a project of the Annie E. Casey
Foundation, 2/3 of black children are being raised in single-parent households, the vast majority of which — over 90 percent — are single mothers.
That’s not the case with Sen. Ford’s family. He’s been married to his wife, Berna, for 25 years and together they’re raising four sons. “I
want my kids to see what a real man looks like,” he said in an interview with the Nevada Independent last year.
Ford also seems to be keenly aware of just how damaging fatherless households are to the black community and just how important fathers
are in raising boys.
As a middle school teacher in Austin, Texas after getting out of college, Ford “launched a club aimed at teaching the boys how to be men. At the ‘Gentleman’s Club,’ the boys learned how to dress to impress and that they needed to say ‘ma’am’ and open the door for the ladies.”
Admirable. And lessons that should be taught to ALL boys, regardless of race. Fathers count, even if some radical feminists consider that
to be politically incorrect.
Now, back to Ford’s point that his four arrests and other problems in his first 21 years should not overshadow how he turned his life around
in the next 25…
Indeed, public intoxication is not exactly unheard of among college students; failure to pay a speeding ticket and not show up in court is not exactly a crime against humanity; and neglecting to return to a shop to pay for a tire the owner “fronted” him ain’t exactly the same as grand theft auto.
However… How Sen. Ford handled the disclosure of those “youthful indiscretions,” as well as those IRS tax liens while serving in office
a couple short years ago, are horses of a different color.
First, when asked if his multiple arrest record should be fair game in his campaign for attorney general, Ford called it “illegitimate.”
No it isn’t. Especially since he’s running to be the state’s top cop.
It’s one thing to say his past should be evaluated in the context of his life since then. But to call discussing his full record
“illegitimate” isn’t exactly stepping up and owning it.
Secondly, as Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks wrote this week, Ford’s argument that “he’s moved past the mistakes of his
youth is undone by his recent and repeated dishonesty.”
“Start with the story behind the story of Ford’s arrests. Channel 8 didn’t have it first. The Review-Journal had the documents on July 24.
Then, Ramona Giwargis, the Review-Journal’s political reporter, reached out to Ford for comment.
“’Ford’s campaign manager (Peggy Yang) called (Thursday) pleading for more time so Ford could talk to his kid,’ tweeted Giwargis. ‘Instead,
they fed our story/docs to @SteveSebelius.’
“That’s as deceitful as it gets. The lie is obvious, but he also used his son as cover for his own dishonesty.”
Is that “what a real man looks like”?
“And why didn’t Ford tell his children – and the public – about this months ago? You’re running to be the top law enforcement officer in
Nevada. Of course, your arrest record is going to come up.
“It would have been much better for him to have broken this story on his own terms last August. That, however, may have produced a primary
“It looks as if Ford prioritized his own political ambitions above ensuring Democrats had a strong attorney general candidate.”
Indeed. Ford’s no political newbie. He HAD to know his multiple arrest record was going to be exposed by any even half-competent opposition
campaign. Instead he covered it up until after the primary was behind him.
And then there’s the matter of his tax liens. As Haris Alic of the Free Beacon noted this week…
“Ford, who serves as the majority leader of the Nevada senate, had three different liens filed against him by the IRS for failing to pay over $185,000 in income taxes between 2010 and 2013, according to financial disclosures filed with the Nevada secretary of state.
“The first lien was issued by the IRS against Ford in October 2013 after it was determined he failed to pay over $85,000 in taxes for income garnered between 2010 and 2011. A subsequent lien was filed in April 2014 indicating Ford owed more than $42,000 in unpaid income taxes for 2012. In December 2014, the IRS filed a third and final lien against Ford for failing to pay over $58,000 in taxes for 2013.”
Rather than “manning up” and owning it, Ford’s campaign manager put out a ridiculous statement blaming Ford’s law firm for not withholding
enough taxes from his paychecks.
For THREE straight years? How’d he miss that after the FIRST one?
“The candidate’s professional résumé, however, shows his personal income, at least relative to the rest of his family, was likely to have increased between the years in question. Ford’s LinkedIn profile indicates he served as an associate at Snell & Wilmer, a firm with over 400 attorneys in 11 offices across the globe, between 2007 and 2010 before being promoted to partner, a position he held from 2011 to 2015.
“The salary for an entry-level associate at Snell & Wilmer’s Las Vegas office, according to the firm’s website, is $115,000, well above
Nevada’s median household income of $53,094. A partner at the firm on average earns between $247,110 at the low-end, and $324,921 on the
high end, according to data compiled by paysa.com.
“It is likely that Ford was compensated at a higher rate than average at Snell & Wilmer, given he came to the firm with two advanced degrees, a masters and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University, on top of his law degree, and had nearly five years of prior experience, having worked for the international law firms of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP; and Bracewell and Giuliani, LLP, in Texas.
“Furthermore, during the same time period that Ford was undergoing financial difficulties,’ he is listed as having purchased a new home
in Las Vegas for the sum of $468,138.”
And let’s not forget, all that dinero from his law firm doesn’t include his wife’s income. Don’t we all wish we had to “struggle” like that?!!
“Ford’s biggest problem isn’t that he got arrested in college,” Joecks concludes. “It’s that you can’t trust him today.”
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at MuthsTruths.com.