Senator Tiffany should resign if she’s guilty |

Senator Tiffany should resign if she’s guilty

Nevada Appeal Editorial

Everyone is innocent until proven otherwise, but if the Nevada Ethics Commission finds State Sen. Sandra Tiffany is guilty of the 20 ethics violations she is accused of, she should do what’s best for the residents of this state and resign.

In doing so, she would spare us a pointless impeachment hearing and allow legislators to focus on what’s really important: improving the lives of the state’s residents. Tiffany’s Ethics Commission hearing is set for Sept. 13, but she has the right to ask for a hearing sooner than that, and should do so, to clear the issue up before it interferes with bill drafting and other preparations for the 2007 Legislature.

It would be a clear message that she does not put her own interests ahead of Nevadans.

The inch-thick investigation into the Henderson Republican’s dealings shows that she may have used her position as a state senator to further her private business, Stockdales Auctions, which conducts online auctions specializing in disposing of surplus government property. She allegedly approached property managers in other states saying she was a state senator doing fact finding. After obtaining answers to her questions in that guise, she then presented herself as a businesswoman.

Tiffany maintains she has done nothing unethical.

She should have learned a lesson last year about avoiding conflicts of interest, or even the appearance of them. At that time, she introduced legislation to allow her to run her online auction business for Nevada government surplus vehicles without a dealer’s license. That came after the Department of Motor Vehicles issued a cease-and-desist order after the department learned she was earning a percentage of profits from car sales.

She corrected that problem, but then introduced legislation to allow her to earn commissions from car sales. The legislation died in the Senate.

In light of the findings of the new investigation, the opening message on Tiffany’s Web site, “As your State Senator I depend upon hearing from you so that I may better represent our neighborhoods” rings a little bit hollow.

The investigation suggests she may have been more concerned about representing her own interests. If she is found guilty, only her resignation would change that.