The Nevada Piglet Book 2012

Executive Summary


It's about who you know, not what you know.

That's the case in any society to the extent its resources are controlled by government. Necessarily, those resources are politicized and — rather than being allocated by individual choice in a free, competitive marketplace — they get doled out to those with political pull.

That's a central lesson of this biennium's Piglet Book.

Its stories were uncovered through hundreds of public-record requests and reviews of official documents by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Many of the stories reveal actions by government workers, politicians and others that are illegal. All are irresponsible or unethical. Most illustrate how politicians use public spending to build their own personal political machines, dispensing special advantages to those inside these machines.

While these stories are presented with a light touch, the reader should bear in mind that they detail substantial waste, fraud and abuse using tax dollars commandeered from every Nevada household.

The true expense here is not the money lost from government coffers. It's the money — and thus the possibilities — taken from private families.

It's in this light that the arrogance of government waste becomes most clear. Those who waste public resources or operate Nevada's political machinery to their own benefit do so at the direct expense of private families and individuals who labor hard to provide for their own needs.

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Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.