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TV Coverage of Laxalt’s Ethics Scandal

Updated AP: Nevada Democrats want ethics probe of Laxalt meeting

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Nevada Democrats want state ethics officials to investigate whether state Attorney General Adam Laxalt violated conflict-of-interest rules in a meeting with a chief gambling regulator last April, the state party chairwoman said Wednesday.

Laxalt derided the request as the product of “false and baseless complaints” and the start of a “two-year smear campaign” aimed at derailing his possible Republican bid for governor.

Chairwoman Roberta Lange said the party asked the Nevada Commission on Ethics on Tuesday to investigate the validity of published reports about a meeting between Laxalt and Gaming Control Board Chairman AG Burnett.

Lange said she believes Laxalt tried to pressure Burnett to intercede in a lawsuit on behalf of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who the letter identified as a major personal and corporate donor to Laxalt’s 2014 campaign and political action committees.

“On behalf of the Democratic party, I think it should be investigated as an ethics complaint,” Lange said in an interview. “Nevada voters need to know if our attorney general is involved in unethical behavior.”

The party also filed a freedom of information request for the FBI to release by the end of the month any audio recordings or other records it has about the case, Lange said.

Burnett, a spokeswoman for the FBI, and a spokesman for Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., each declined in separate messages to comment about the Democrats’ requests.

Ethics commission Executive Director Yvonne Nevarez-Goodson said she couldn’t confirm or deny the existence of an ethics complaint unless it is turned over to a two-member panel for review and findings. She said a complaint must be based on evidence beyond just media reports.

Laxalt, who was traveling back to Nevada from Washington, D.C., said in a statement that his meeting with Burnett was part of his responsibility as the lead legal representative for the Gaming Control Board.

As a statewide elected official, he also meets regularly with constituents “on issues that are important to the state,” Laxalt said.

“This matter was handled just like other issues I encounter on a daily basis,” the statement said, “and was resolved according to the Gaming Control Board’s preferences.”

The Nevada Independent: Nevada Democrats file ethics complaint against Laxalt, seek information on secret taping from gamers, FBI


The Nevada Democratic Party has filed a state ethics complaint against Attorney General Adam Laxalt and has asked the Gaming Control Board and FBI for relevant records of a secret recording of Laxalt made by GCB Chairman A.G. Burnett.

The documents, first reported by the Associated Press, come as Laxalt has all but cleared the GOP field for the 2018 race for governor and is considered a formidable candidate. The clandestine recording, reported exclusively by The Nevada Independent last month, came after Burnett became suspicious that Laxalt might be trying to influence him to intervene in a civil lawsuit embroiling the attorney general’s major donor, Sheldon Adelson.

Laxalt told the AP the Democratic Party actions were “false and baseless complaints” and the start of a “two-year smear campaign.”

All of the documents are linked below.

The ethics complaint alleges violations of two parts of the state law:

—  The first is a general statute about ethical conduct: To enhance the people’s faith in the integrity and impartiality of public officers and employees, adequate guidelines are required to show the appropriate separation between the roles of persons who are both public servants and private citizens.

—  The second involves an elected official acting in private capacity to help another: A public officer or employee shall not use the public officer’s or employee’s position in government to secure or grant unwarranted privileges, preferences, exemptions or advantages for the public officer or employee, any business entity in which the public officer or employee has a significant pecuniary interest, or any person to whom the public officer or employee has a commitment in a private capacity to the interests of that person. As used in this subsection, “unwarranted” means without justification or adequate reason.

The records requests come after the Gaming Control Board rejected The Nevada Independent’s similar request, citing confidentiality statutes.

Ethics letter

Ethics complaint