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Heller Invents Excuses For Bailing On Latin Chamber

Recently, Nevada Senator Dean Heller outraged members of the Hispanic community by cancelling an an appearance with the Latin Chamber of Commerce at the last minute. Though he was already en route to the meeting, Heller chose to bail after being informed by an advance staffer that a former member of the Latin Chamber’s board who currently works for Shelley Berkley was in attendance, and that another attendee had a camera.

The only plausible explanation for Heller’s actions is that he is afraid of what Nevada voters will think if they can see for themselves what Heller is saying on the campaign trail. But in an radio interview yesterday, Heller attempted to explain away his actions by lying about the circumstances under which he cancelled his appearance.

Heller: “Unfortunately, the Latin Chamber decided that they thought it was more important for my opponent to be present with a camera, a tape recorder and I didn’t believe that was appropriate for a one-on-one discussion. This wasn’t a luncheon. This was just a one-on-one discussion and I think the goal of the effort of reaching out was to create jobs.” [Heidi Harris Show interview, 11/9/11]

  • Latin Chamber Of Commerce Meeting Was A Roundtable, Not “One-On-One” Discussion. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Members of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas are upset with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller for canceling a meeting with them this week after he reached out to the Hispanic group. Heller, R-Nev., refused to go ahead with a roundtable Tuesday night because a staffer for his Senate opponent, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., was present as well as a camera.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/26/11]
  • Berkley Staffer Was A Latin Chamber Member. According to the Review-Journal, “The Berkley staffer, Judith Fleischman, is a former member of the Latin Chamber’s board and remains involved with the group. As a result, Chamber President Otto Merida, refused to ask her to leave… “‘When our staff arrived at the meeting, Congresswoman Berkley’s staffer was there and so was an individual with a video camera,’ [Heller spokesman Stewart Bybee] added. ‘Since Senator Heller initiated this meeting with the Latin Chamber Board, we asked that the staffer and the camera be removed. They said no, so the senator decided not to attend the meeting.’” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/26/11]

Heller: “My goal is to work with the business community, regardless of what the chamber, the Asian, the Latin, the Las Vegas Chamber, it doesn’t matter to me, I’m reaching out to all of them because the goal is create jobs and to figure out how to turn this economy around.” [Heidi Harris Show interview, 11/9/11]

  • Member: Heller Has Never Attended Latin Chamber Event. According to the Review-Journal, “The cancellation happened at the last minute after a Heller staffer warned the senator the chamber refused to ask the Berkley staffer to leave and get rid of the camera. Heller apparently was already on his way to the meeting when his representative arrived ahead of the 5:45 p.m. event to make sure everything was in order. ‘It was disrespectful,’ said Andres Ramirez, a member of the chamber. ‘Dean Heller had never gone to a single Latin chamber event and so they’ve been trying to find a way to connect. He wanted to limit the audience, which is understandable. But the Berkley staffer is also a member of the chamber so she shouldn’t have to leave.’” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/26/11]