Michele Fiore: I have been libeled but I won't say how and have yet to sue

"Libelous personal attacks shouldn’t be part of politics"

That's the headline on a piece that the Las Vegas Review-Journal published today by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore. I assume the RJ doesn't let its "special" contributors write their own headlines, so the use of the word "libelous" by a news organization is puzzling, to say the least.

Fiore seems upset about coverage of her tax liens, which has been widepsread, including in the RJ, which has published reports of what it labeled "1 million" in IRS liens a reporter claimed to have reviewed. Fiore has declined to answer questions about them, except to friendly interlocutors, and claimed last week that she ONLY has $200,000 in outstanding liens and is paying them off while alleging an embelzzlement no one has found a court record on.

Now the RJ has published her "special" piece -- and it is unquestionably special -- and Fiore sent out a special "thank you" to the newspaper this morning for publishing her piece, which obliquely criticizes one of its own reporters and also, again, lambastes Speaker-Designate John Hambrick.

Because I am so ecumenical, I am going to republish the SPECIAL here, and because I am so helpful, I am going to annotate it for everyone:

Libelous personal attacks shouldn’t be part of politics

Being an elected official is one of the greatest honors I’ve accomplished in my life. To be able to work in the Nevada Assembly with exceptional people and handle legislation that affects the lives of Nevadans is an incredible experience, and one which I believe will enable me to help protect the liberties and rights of the people who elected me.

The position is also accompanied by media exposure that otherwise would not be afforded to me. Not only is my work as an assemblywoman reflected in the news, but recently, my personal life and business matters have been in the headlines. While I know, as an elected leader, I open myself up to public scrutiny, I do expect the media to be truthful. Unfortunately, that has not been the case with the recent flurry of reports.

Every day, a significant amount of time that I could and should be devoting to the goals for this upcoming session is instead interrupted by handling press, social media and attacks on my integrity, business and affairs. Libel about me has been front-page “news,” (Notice use of the word "libel" here and "front-page" news. RJ, you are being accused of libel by your special correspondent!) and my communication lines are bombarded with requests to interview and comment on things completely unrelated to moving Nevada forward. Inaccurate and misleading reports regarding tax liens with the IRS have permeated multiple news channels, but reporters haven’t ever consulted my tax accountant or me personally (I don't know about other reporters, whom I am sure sought to get her side of the story, but I know Dana Gentry and I have repeatedly tried.to verify facts and my plans to make things right. My own peers have gone straight to the media to offer their purported “findings,” (Oh? Do tell? And I must say, madam, you are without peer.) without ever consulting with me face-to-face to verify what was actually happening.

And the entire “war on women” issue was something I never actually said, yet for some reason, it’s everywhere, along with my name and picture. (Oh no? Let's look at something you may not generally be familiar with, special correspondent Fiore, something known as "facts."

Fact No. 1 -- On Dec. 10, RJ reporter Sean Whaley wrote a story in which the lede quotes you as saying "war on women." Was the quote wrong? Did you ask for a retraction? It's in the headline!

Fact No. 2 -- I assume Whaley got the quote from a news release you were part of headlined, "Assembly Republicans in Gender War for Leadership." That "war on women" quote is in the first sentence. Your quote: “It appears a few men in our party are not happy that we have Republican woman in key leadership roles in the legislature, and may look to Democrats for help in unraveling more leadership roles”, said Fiore. “Women make up only 35% of the Nevada Assembly, while they are 50% of our population in Nevada, it seems it is time for women to have a voice and take on leadership roles in Nevada government.” What's that sound? Oh, yes, it is the sound of a hair splitting.)

It is unfortunate that serving the public politically comes with these types of challenges, which some want you to believe come with the territory. To them I want to say: I did not agree to this territory. The purpose of being an elected official is getting things done, not constantly defending yourself against your own party.

The speaker designate has chosen to strip me of my chairmanship of the taxation committee and unilaterally remove me as the majority leader, against all Assembly procedure precedent. He has taken my majority leadership office away, and according to some of my colleagues, he will take similar actions against them if they don’t fall into line. (Wait, this sounds libelous! Can it be backed up?)

As part of a group of 25 Assembly Republicans, I will not jeopardize the position, credibility and efforts of my colleagues. (Every good "special" report must be leavened with humor. Or a lack of self-awareness, perhaps?) They all worked very hard to get elected, and the Republican win needs a solid chance to govern, analyze and adopt the legislation we were elected to support.

I do not need praise, approval or sympathy, and I will not compromise my conservative values or ideology. There are very few men in history who have been without enemies. One of my favorite quotes is from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” (Congratulations! You are not well-behaved at all, and you already have made history. And, I have no doubt, will make quite a bit more. Kudos.)

Part of my passion for entering politics is to do the right thing, get the facts straight (More humor!), ensure that truth is represented (Please, stop! I have reached my guffaw limit!) and pass laws that make life better for Nevadans, while respecting their individual freedoms. I’m aware that common sense seems to have gone out of style a long time ago (Oh, yes, you are very aware. In fact, you are a living demonstration.), but I think it will make a strong comeback in the 78th legislative session. However, everything comes down to honest, fact-driven communication and having the integrity to confront each other so that things can get done. (It's Opposite Day in Fioreland!) Generating hearsay helps no one. Nothing positive ever comes from failing to communicate directly with the source. (I await your call then!) What does work is the commitment to work together to find solutions that benefit others. (Yes, "working with others" is known to be your mantra.)

I don’t know any of my elected peers, Democrat or Republican, who ran their campaigns on raising taxes, expanding government and taking citizen freedoms away. Out of 42 members of the Assembly, it only takes 15 votes on the floor to kill any tax or budget increase bill. So regardless of whether I am majority leader, I am the assemblywoman of District 4, and my vote will always be to reduce taxes and government, protect the people of Nevada, ensure a great quality of life and guarantee that Nevadans’ personal freedoms and liberties are not infringed upon. (I don't know how we can ever thank you. But we will find a way.)