A few weeks ago, the Reno Gazette-Journal published an explosive story detailing Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt’s previously unknown arrest for allegedly assaulting a police officer. A spokesman for Laxalt’s campaign told the RGJ that Laxalt was “not required” to report this arrest on his application to the Nevada State Bar which he took in 2011 and received his license to practice law in Nevada in 2012.
But today, new reporting from the RGJ shows that Laxalt should have, in fact, disclosed all of his arrests on his bar application. When the first story broke, the NV Dems called on Laxalt to release his bar application, as well as the 36 additional pages in Laxalt’s file that Laxalt’s hometown of Alexandria, VA declined to release to the RGJ. Today’s story raises new questions about why Laxalt failed to disclose this arrest on his bar application, and whether he might finally face consequences for his reckless and violent behavior.
Reno Gazette-Journal: State Bar of Nevada admissions head: Laxalt should’ve disclosed juvenile assault arrest
By James DeHaven
October 19, 2018
Turns out, Republican governor candidate Adam Laxalt should’ve disclosed all of his arrests on his initial application to practice law in Nevada.
That’s according to attorneys with the State Bar of Nevada, the public corporation that regulates Nevada attorneys. They say Laxalt, now the state’s top law enforcement officer, was required to divulge his 1996 juvenile arrest on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.
Laxalt last month told the Reno Gazette Journal that he told the bar about a 1997 DUI arrest, but was not required to report the 1996 incident.
Brian Kunzi, the bar’s director of admissions, disagreed.
“The application says you’re obligated to disclose any arrest, citation or conviction,” Kunzi said. “(Applicants) have an obligation to disclose everything because we want to see the circumstances. We want to know these things.”
Kevin Kelly, who has spent 20 years on the bar’s Character and Fitness Committee, said failure to fully disclose past brushes with the law could result in a committee investigation.
He declined to say if the committee would pursue such a probe into Laxalt.
“It can be a big deal,” Kelly said of disclosure requirements. “I really don’t want to get into a particular case, but hypothetically, if the bar found an applicant failed to disclose something, I’m guessing they might investigate.”
Laxalt did not immediately return requests for comment on his bar application.
Questions about that paperwork come after the RGJ obtained city police records describing Laxalt’s teenage arrest.
The documents show the GOP governor hopeful, then a 17-year-old living in Alexandria, Virginia, was arrested along with a woman charged with underage possession of alcohol.
Revelations about his teenage arrest prompted immediate calls for the disclosure of 36 pages of unreleased police documents in Laxalt’s file. The city of Alexandria has declined to release the records, citing a Virginia law that prohibits the full disclosure of criminal investigative files and health records.
Political opponents also pressed Laxalt to release his bar application, which is not available to the public.
“If the GOP is interested in assessing a candidate’s fitness for office, why haven’t they requested a copy of Laxalt’s state bar application to find out if Laxalt disclosed this arrest?” [the Nevada Democratic Party] asked in a statement. “Why hasn’t the GOP asked that the 36 pages of Laxalt’s record be made public?
“Their double standard reveals what has become increasingly disturbing about this and future campaign cycles. Nevadans deserve better.”
The Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers — a police labor group that has endorsed Laxalt’s Democratic opponent in the governor’s race — said in a statement that news of Laxalt’s arrest was “extremely disturbing to Nevada’s law enforcement community.” The group represents individual officers and supervisors from some of the state’s largest police organizations, including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
“When someone has a history of violence, especially toward officers of the law, it should be a concern for anyone around them,” wrote Richard McCann, the association’s executive director. “This holds especially true for Nevada’s ‘top cop’ who now wants a promotion to Governor.”