Four years ago, Republican then-attorney general candidate Adam Laxalt pledged not to accept any political gifts if elected, and said he was “concerned” about conflicts of interest influencing the attorney general’s office. During his first term as Nevada’s chief law enforcement officer, Laxalt has turned the Nevada attorney general’s office into a one-stop shop for big donors and special interests to influence policies that affect hardworking Nevadans.
“I think that the attorney general has to be above reproach,” Laxalt said in an interview. “I’m concerned about conflicts of interest.” — Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/23/14
We agree, and we’re sure that Laxalt shares our concern about the following laundry list of conflict of interest scandals. Right?
- Laxalt was caught on tape trying to get the state gaming regulator to intervene in a lawsuit on behalf of his top donor, Sheldon Adelson, and was asked to recuse himself from the case, which Las Vegas Sands settled for over $75 million.
- The Nevada Assembly subpoenaed the recording and held a hearing on Laxalt’s actions at which he testified. During the hearing, it was revealed that the Gaming Control Board asked Laxalt to remove himself as their legal counsel on this case due to the obvious conflict of interest that surfaced from the tape.
- Laxalt has failed to stand up for Nevada’s marijuana industry, which Adelson spent millions trying to keep from becoming legal.
- Laxalt went against Gov. Brian Sandoval to twice urge the federal government to interpret an online gambling law in a way Adelson favored.
- Laxalt secretly added Nevada to a California lawsuit last year in support of allowing Koch network super-PAC Americans for Prosperity (AFP) to hide the identities of their top donors. The Koch network has spent millions in Nevada — including two seven-figure ad buys — in an “across the board effort” to elect Laxalt, one of their top five gubernatorial candidates nationwide.
- Laxalt was scheduled to campaign with the subject of his office’s investigation into possible criminal conduct. In May, Laxalt refused to renounce the endorsement of Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, an alleged rapist and admitted sexual harasser, citing the investigation. Laxalt said rejecting Antinoro’s endorsement would “prejudge” his office’s investigation, but 8 News Now’s Steve Sebelius pointed out that “renouncing an endorsement [wouldn’t] pose any larger a conflict for the prosecutors in his office than simply accepting an endorsement in the first place, which Laxalt clearly has done.”
- Laxalt campaigned for the NRA’s $6.6 million initiative to try to defeat a 2016 background check expansion measure, then refused to work to enforce it after the voters approved it.
- Laxalt mixed his state office and campaign to beat back media stories about a controversial pardon vote. Laxalt tried to abstain, then when Gov. Sandoval wouldn’t let him, cast the lone ‘no’ vote against pardoning an innocent man, raising questions about his “fitness to be governor.”