Heard on the Hill

Heller Staff Pokes Nevada's Journalistic Tiger

Sen. Dean Heller in January at a press conference for his "No Budget, No Pay" measure, which Jon Ralston has criticized (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jon Ralston has had it with Sen. Dean Heller's office.

In an epic rant on his Ralston Reports website, the longtime Nevada political journalist called the Republican senator's staff "the most unprofessional I have worked with (or not!) in a quarter-century of covering politics."

Ralston notes he is not upset that the senator won't talk to him or go on his weekly Nevada political show, because that happens to him from time to time. He notes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and others have "snubbed" him in the past, but Ralston has never had a problem with the staffers before.

"I acknowledge that it is impossible to write about this topic without seeming self-serving, like a peevish, arrogant journalist not getting his way," Ralston writes.

But he says the Heller staff's refusal to respond to any of his inquiries with even a "no comment" has driven him to go on the offensive.

"Heller’s turtle act is just sad and cowardly. But his staff’s behavior is more than merely pathetic and unprofessional; it is an outrageous affront to taxpayers who pay their salaries."

HOH did get a response from Heller's staff to Ralston's complaints. "Although we disagree with him, Jon Ralston is welcome to express his opinion," said Heller spokesman Chandler Smith in an email.

Heller's staff ran into trouble earlier this year with other Senate offices when aides were accused of preventing members from viewing the Nevadan's office suite during the Senate's biennial office lottery.