Shelley Berkley

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Shelley Berkley
Shelley Berkley.jpg
U.S. House, Nevada, District 1
Retired Representative
In office
January 3, 1999-January 3, 2013
PredecessorJohn E. Ensign (R)
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 3, 1998
Next generalNovember 6, 2012
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Nevada University and Community College System Board of Regents
Nevada Assembly
Bachelor'sUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas
J.D.University of San Diego
Date of birthJanuary 20, 1951
Place of birthNew York City, New York
ProfessionAttorney, Higher Education Administrator
Net worth(2012)$15,415,229
Office website
Campaign website
Rochelle "Shelley" Berkley (b. January 20, 1951) was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Nevada. Berkley was elected by voters from Nevada's 1st Congressional District. Berkley did not seek re-election to the U.S. House in 2012, opting to run for U.S. Senate instead. She was defeated by incumbent Dean Heller (R) on November 6, 2012.[1] She was succeeded in the House by Dina Titus (D) on January 3, 2013.

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Berkley was a "moderate Democratic leader."[2]


The information about this individual is current as of when his or her last campaign ended. See anything that needs updating? Send a correction to our editors

Berkley was born in New York City, New York. She earned a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1972 and her J.D. from the University of San Diego in 1976.[3]


After obtaining her law degree, Berkley returned to Las Vegas to practice law, often in the employ of casinos and hotels.[4]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Berkley served on the following committees:[5]


Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Berkley voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. She was 1 of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[6]



See also: United States Senate elections in Nevada, 2012

Berkley ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012.[7][8] She defeated Stephen Brown, Barry Ellsworth, Louis Macias, and Nancy Price in the June 12, 2012 Democratic primary but was defeated by incumbent Dean Heller (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics published an article called Sabato's Crystal Ball on March 22, 2012, detailing the eight races in the Senate in 2012 that would impact the political fate of which party ended up with control in 2013.[9] The seat rated a toss-up that Sabato's Crystal Ball believed was most likely to depend on the outcome of the Presidential election in November is the Senate seat in Nevada.[9] According to the article, "the size of the Hispanic vote in Nevada come November may be more of a deciding factor in this contest than any SuperPAC."[9]

On July 9, the Washington Post reported that the House Ethics Committee had voted unanimously to launch a formal investigation into allegations that Berkley had used her position to benefit the financial interests of her husband.[10]

The House Ethics Committee announced their investigation of Shelley Berkley after she acted to prevent a federal agency from closing a kidney transplant center to which her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner, had financial ties.[11]

U.S. Senate, Nevada, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Shelley Berkley 44.7% 446,080
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDean Heller Incumbent 45.9% 457,656
     Independent American Party of Nevada David Lory VanderBeek 4.9% 48,792
     N/A None of these candidates 4.5% 45,277
Total Votes 997,805
Source: Nevada Secretary of State "U.S. Senate Results"


On November 2, 2010, Berkley was re-elected to the United States House for a sixth term. She defeated Kenneth A. Wegner (R), Jonathan J. Hansen (Independent American), and Edward George Klapproth (Libertarian).[12]

United States House, Nevada General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngShelley Berkley Incumbent 61.7% 103,246
     Republican Kenneth A. Wegner 35.3% 58,995
     Independent American Jonathan J. Hansen 1.7% 2,847
     Libertarian Edward George Klapproth 1.3% 2,118
Total Votes 167,206


Campaign themes


On her campaign website, Berkley listed eleven issues:[13]

  • Creating Jobs/Economy
  • On her website, Berkley said, "At the height of the recession, our nation was shedding nearly one million jobs each month and Nevada’s unemployment rate had skyrocketed to 14.5%. While there have been some improvements, Nevadans are still struggling and there is much work left to be done. Shelley Berkley understands this. That’s why her number one, two and three priorities are jobs, jobs and more jobs."
  • Protecting Social Security and Medicare
  • On her website, Berkley said, "In Congress, Shelley has opposed every effort to privatize Social Security accounts, which would drain trillions from the program and put Americans’ safety nets at the whim of Wall Street manipulation and foreign market fluctuations. She has stood strong to protect beneficiaries’ cost of living increase because she knows they can make or break a tight budget."
  • Housing/Foreclosure
  • On her website, Berkley said, "No state’s homeowners have been hit harder by the foreclosure crisis than Nevada. That’s why no one has fought harder than Shelley to help struggling Nevada families stay in their homes and help communities suffering from foreclosures."
  • National Security
  • On her website, Berkley said, "The death of Osama Bin Laden marked a change in America’s mission in Afghanistan and time for us to begin bringing our brave troops home, shifting more responsibility to the Afghan people. Shelley’s pushed for tough sanctions against oppressive regimes in North Korea, Syria, and Zimbabwe, and believes sanctions are the best tool to curb Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons."
  • Veterans
  • On her website, Berkley said, "Shelley has stood up for Nevada’s veterans throughout her career in public service. She understands that America’s men and women in uniform have put their lives on the line in service to their country and that they deserve the best equipment and care in order to do their jobs."
  • Clean Energy Jobs
  • On her website, Berkley said, "Shelley is working to put Nevada on track to become a world leader in solar energy production. Whether it’s building large solar thermal plants or constructing solar panel manufacturing facilities, Shelley has made sure Nevada is forefront in the minds of solar businesses."
  • Preservation/Conservation
  • On her website, Berkley said, "The increase in renewable energy production throughout the state isn’t just creating jobs; it’s helping keep our air, water and land clean. And, Shelley will continue to promote clean energy and help break our dependence on polluting energy sources."
  • Yucca Mountain
  • On her website, Berkley said, "Shelley hasn’t just worked to stop the project. She’s worked to solve the problem. Experts and regulators have agreed that spent nuclear material can be secured onsite at nuclear plants for the next 100 years. Shelley has pushed legislation to extend that time period and secure nuclear waste through investments in onsite storage facilities. She’s also fought proposals that would revive wasteful spending for the project, instead advocating for deficit reduction and investment in clean energy technology and jobs."
  • Education
  • On her website, Berkley said, "As someone who was the first person in her family to attend college due to student loans, Shelley knows the importance of ensuring that all Nevada students have access to the same opportunities that she had. That’s why she’s voted to lower the interest rate on student loans, and has backed efforts to increase the value and number of Pell Grants."
  • Healthcare
  • On her website, Berkley said, "Shelley will continue to work to improve health care reform, and defend against efforts to defund the law that would strip Nevadans of these important benefits."
  • Immigration
  • On her website, Berkley said, "Shelley is also a strong supporter of the DREAM Act, which would give young people who were brought to this country by their parents through no fault of their own, stayed in school and kept out of trouble the opportunity to earn legal status by getting a college education or serving in the armed forces."[13]

Campaign donors


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 elections season. Below are Berkley's reports.[14]

Shelley Berkeley[15] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[16]April 13, 2012$375,908.42$1,364,052.11$(715,583.42)$4,407,777.11
Pre-Primary[17]May 31, 2012$440,777.16$651,961.34$(944,024.72)$4,115,713.78
July Quarterly[18]July 13, 2012$4,115,713.78$898,067.71$(985,914.74)$4,027,866.75
Running totals

Out-of-state donations

According to an Open Secrets report, Berkley ranked among the top ten senate candidates receiving out-of-state donations during the 2012 election cycle. She received $4,383,123, or 68.4%, of her donations from outside of Nevada.[19]


Breakdown of the source of Berkley's campaign funds before the 2010 election.
Berkley was re-elected to the U.S. House in 2010 for a sixth term. Her campaign committee raised a total of $2,232,438 and spent $1,992,403.[20]


Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Berkley paid her congressional staff a total of $1,223,809 in 2011. Overall, Nevada ranks 50th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[21]

Staff bonuses

According to an analysis by CNN, Berkley was one of nearly 25 percent of House members who gave their staff bonuses in 2012. Berkley's staff was given an apparent $1,000.00 in bonus money.[22]

Net worth

See also: Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Berkley's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $7,891,261 to $22,939,197. That averages to $15,415,229, which is higher than the average net worth of Democratic House members in 2011 of $5,107,874.16. Her average calculated net worth[23] increased by 12.83% from 2010.[24]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Berkley's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $7,236,882 to $20,087,837. Averaging to a net worth of $13,662,359.50 which was higher than the average net worth of Democrats in 2010 of $4,465,875.[25]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Berkley ranked 163rd in the liberal rankings among members of the U.S. House.[26]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Berkley was tied with one other member of the U.S. House of Representatives ranking 159th in the liberal rankings among members of the U.S. House.[27]

Voting with party

November 2011

Shelley Berkley voted with the Democratic Party 90.0 percent of the time, which ranked 142nd among the 192 House Democratic members as of November 2011.[28]


Berkley has two sons: Sam and Max. In March of 1999, Shelley married Dr. Lawrence Lehrner, a practicing Nephrologist in Las Vegas who has two children of his own: David and Stephanie.[29]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Shelley + Berkley + Nevada + House"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Shelley Berkley News Feed

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External links


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Nevada"
  2. GovTrack, "Berkley" accessed May 25, 2012
  3. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "BERKLEY, Shelley, (1951 - )"
  4. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, "Berkley Biography"
  5. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, "Berkley Biography"
  6. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  7. Roll Call, "Nevada Poll Finds Shelley Berkley, Dean Heller Tied in Senate Race," accessed January 6, 2012
  8. Roll Call, "Nevada Poll Finds Shelley Berkley, Dean Heller Tied in Senate Race," accessed January 6, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Center for Politics, "Tilting the Toss Ups – the Eight Races That Will Decide the Senate" accessed April 9, 2012
  10. Washington Post, "Shelley Berkley faces formal ethics investigation" July 14, 2012
  11. CNN Politcs, "House Ethics Committee launches inquiry of Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley" accessed October 18, 2012
  12. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 Shelley Berkley for Senate, "Issues" May 7, 2012
  14. Federal Election Commission, "Shelley Berkley's Summary Report," accessed July 2, 2012
  15. FEC Reports, "Shelley Berkeley Summary Reports" accessed August 20, 2012
  16. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" accessed August 20, 2012
  17. FEC Reports, "Pre-Primary" accessed August 20, 2012
  18. FEC Reports, "July Quarterly" accessed August 20, 2012
  19. OpenSecrets, "More than 60 Lawmakers Relied Mostly on Out-of-State Money," May 7, 2013
  20. Open Secrets, "Shelley Berkley 2010 Election Data," accessed November 13, 2011
  21. LegiStorm, "Shelley Berkley," accessed October 8, 2012
  22. CNN Politics, "Congressional bonuses in a time of cuts," accessed March 8, 2013
  23. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  24. OpenSecrets, "Shelley Berkley (D-Nev), 2011," accessed February 13, 2013
  25. OpenSecrets, "Shelley Berkley (D-Nev), 2010," accessed October 8, 2012
  26. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," accessed March 6, 2013
  27. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  28. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  29. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, "Berkley Biography"
Political offices
Preceded by
John Ensign
U.S. House of Representatives Nevada District 1
Succeeded by
Dina Titus (D)
Preceded by
Nevada University and Community College System Board of Regents
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Nevada Assembly - Clark County District
Succeeded by