Las Vegas Sun

July 4, 2015

Currently: 95° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Damon Political Report

Report: Grover Norquist calls Sandoval ‘a rat’ for raising taxes

Updated Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | 10:12 a.m.

Anti-tax organizer Grover Norquist reportedly called Gov. Brian Sandoval “a rat” for extending a 2009 tax increase that he had promised to let sunset, according to an account of a conservative gathering in New York by the online news site BuzzFeed.

Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and creator of the pledge not to raise taxes, also “dismissed the notion” that Sandoval could be a viable GOP running mate.

Sandoval, who did not sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, promised repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would not extend the 2009 state tax increase to cover a significant budget shortfall last year.

His original proposed budget allowed the tax increases to expire. But when the Nevada Supreme Court issued a ruling that threw into question the state’s use of more than $650 million in local government funds to fill the budget gap.

Sandoval then reversed his position, brokering a deal with lawmakers to temporarily extend the tax increase through the end of fiscal year 2013.

Reached by email, Norquist deflected a direct question on whether he labeled Sandoval “a rat.”

“I said he was the only Republican governor who raised taxes in 2011. Only five states raised taxes,” Norquist said in the email. “He was (a) poster child for why a written pledge is important. Sandoval said he wouldn’t raise taxes but did.”

At the time, several conservative lawmakers decried Sandoval’s decision, saying the court ruling applied only to the $62 million from the Clean Water Coalition and not the rest of the local government money. While 12 conservative lawmakers voted against the budget, Sandoval was largely able to quell any damaging political backlash from conservative activists.

Sandoval remains deeply popular with Nevada voters.

But Norquist has proven an influential voice on the issue of taxes, bringing a mostly black-and-white view to efforts to raise government revenue.

One of Norquist’s favorite invectives against Republicans he believes violate conservative fiscal principals is “rat head in a coke bottle.”

UPDATE: In a follow up email, Norquist said he doesn't believe he called Sandoval a rat and described his comments as a "fleeting reference on his tax hike."

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 5 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. I give Sandoval credit for NOT signing any pledge to Norquist.

  2. Enjoyed the article.

    Ms. Damon has put me in an awkward position.

    It is an undeniable fact that, as to the current ultra-neo-conservative Tea/Republican Party composition nowadays, I absolutely detest them and every single one of their stupid policies that only pander to the extremely well off and rich.

    I didn't vote for Governor Sandoval. I think he's a bum. Still do. Even though he stands up for making sure Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) doesn't happen.

    But, on the other hand, Mr. Norquist is even worse. A bottom feeder who thinks he has power over all Tea/Republican Party politicians not only in America, but all over the world. This makes him a world class sleaze bucket.

    Now, here I am in an untenable position where I have to actually commend another Tea/Republican Party politician (Governor Sandoval) over another one (Mr. Norquist), who isn't even a politician, but is verified to be pond scum and only a voice for the ultra-rich and nobody else.

    Damn you, Ms. Damon, for putting my beliefs into a pretzel twist.

    (NOTE: Hard to throw sarcasm on the typed word. Hope it came though...)

  3. Comment removed by moderator. Name Calling

  4. Extending 'Sunset' taxes which are already in place does not constitute new taxes. New means newly created, not an extension of those in place. Norquist is a two legged sham.

  5. Any legislator who signs such a draconian private pledge over listening to actual constituents and state/federal constitutions is harming the country.