Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons and his wife, former Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons, are being criticized by Democrats backing their candidate, Dina Titus, for hiring a nanny who turned out to be an illegal immigrant.
The Gibbons campaign in turn said a Titus campaign representative contacted the former nanny, Martha Patricia Pastor-Sandoval, in efforts to turn the hiring in the late 1980s into a campaign issue.
"Dina Titus clearly wants this campaign to be about something other than the issues important to Nevada voters," Gibbons' campaign stated.
Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said Pastor-Sandoval
told KLAS-TV, Las Vegas, that "she was told to hide in the basement when people came over to the house."
Searer added that it was the "height of hypocrisy" for Gibbons to "exploit" the issue of illegal immigration in this election cycle given the hiring of Pastor-Sandoval, a native of Peru.
Dawn Gibbons issued a statement saying Pastor-Sandoval worked
occasionally at her home starting in 1987, but she believed the woman was in the country legally.
Dawn Gibbons also said she later helped Pastor-Sandoval apply to the Department of Labor for legal employment status. That application was approved in 1988, she added.
The former assemblywoman also said she turned down a 1995
request by Pastor-Sandoval to falsify her citizenship application, and then had to deal with a bogus ad run in a Reno newspaper by the
woman stating that she worked for Gibbons for 11 years.
Gibbons said she filed a complaint against Pastor-Sandoval because of what she considered an extortion attempt, but later dropped the charge.