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Shelley Berkley and Southern Nevada Kidney Care
Shelley Berkley and Southern Nevada Kidney Care

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AIR DATE: September 14, 2011

The New York Times recently published an article that suggests Congresswoman, Shelley Berkley used her congressional influence to benefit her husband's business.
 
Berkley's husband Dr. Larry Lehrner is a nephrologist and directs kidney care at UMC on a $738,000-a-year contract. The New York Times reports that Lehrner's role at UMC was expanded after Berkley successfully convinced federal regulators to back off UMC when the government threatened to shut down the kidney transplant unit at the hospital.
 
According to the Times, this was just one in a series of actions dating back five years in which the congresswoman pushed legislation or used her influence with federal regulators to pursue an agenda that is aligned with the business interests of her husband. We talk with Eric Lipton, the New York Times reporter who broke the story and Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
 
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Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Eric Lipton, reporter, New York Times

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COMMENTS:
Sounds pretty cozy to me but she has so much goodwill I bet she gets re-elected for sure.
aunty palinSep 12, 2011 10:35:37 AM
Ms Berkeley has been a tireless advocate for Medical Care in Nevada. A state where there is a constant running shortage of GP Doctors and Specialists. To tie the troubles of individual kidney cases that were treated at UMC exposes the author of this articles' true intent; which is to slam a Democratic Congresswoman who is now running for the Senate. Considering her opponent Dean Heller, who voted for 'voucherizing/privitizing/cutting' Medicare and Medicaid, smearing MS Berkley on this seems strategic. Even if it is grasping at straws. Makes me wonder if they ever investigate GOP kick-backs to 'journalists' like Lipton who do hit pieces like the one in the NY Times.
George MatthewSep 12, 2011 09:40:27 AM
The Congresswoman did a great service for this community. The entire congressional delegation did a great service for this community. Sometimes saving lives trumps the alternative, which would have been to do nothing.
Nancy KuhnsSep 12, 2011 09:37:15 AM
This happened how long ago? And it's been open and public knowledge this whole time. Yet none of the local media thought it was a story. It looks like the New York Times just found something that had a appearance issue, and went with it. That's the only thing going on here. Appearance. But if you dig deeper than the surface, you see nothing amiss.
JustinSep 12, 2011 09:35:33 AM
Seriously it is not as though Dr. Lerner has kept other physicians out of the kidney transplant business. Southern Nevada is a difficult place to practice medicine. If our congresswoman took action that prevented another equally qualified physician from practicing kidney medicine, then I would have a problem. What our congresswoman did was SAVE a program and SAVE lives and KEEP a valuable program in our community. This is a grasp at straws to discredit a committed public official standing up for access for health care in advance of an election. This is an non-issue. No one hurt - Thousands helped. Your guests said it themselves no law was broken. How dare they tell her to back down as an advocate. Keep on fighting for us Shelley!
Christine Sep 12, 2011 09:24:07 AM
I think I just heard Eric describe chairman Dingell (who represented Detroit) and his wife Debbie (who was a lobbyist for the Auto industry). I guess there is a precedent after all. I was surprised that despite all of Eric's complaints and criticism, this morning was the very first time he even thought about what other actions she could have taken. This lapse was clearly evident when he had to stop and think about his answer. This is a non-issue. I would like to hear Porter and Heller give comment as to what kind of a "scandal" this is.
NoahSep 12, 2011 09:20:09 AM
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