Nevada’s attorney general said he plans to sign a letter supporting a bill backed by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson that would ban Internet gaming nationwide and end the state’s online poker business.
The comments by Adam Laxalt on the “Ralston Live” public affairs television show Tuesday drew a sharp rebuke from Gov. Brian Sandoval, gaming regulators and casino industry leaders who were involved in creating the state’s interactive gaming legislation and regulations in 2013.
Laxalt said he disagreed with a 2011 opinion by the U.S. Department of Justice that offered a new interpretation of the Federal Wire Act, which had prohibited Internet gaming. He said the opinion “changed the landscape” without input from gaming companies or law enforcement.
“All parties needed to be involved to ensure that we can keep consumers safe,” said Laxalt, who was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Laxalt said he plans to sign a letter being circulated by the attorneys general of Missouri and South Carolina that seeks outside support for House and Senate bills that would restore the Wire Act to its pre-2011 language.
Both bills would carry out Adelson’s goal to wipe Internet gaming from the landscape. The chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. has put big money behind a campaign against online gambling and has argued that making wagers over the Internet is corrosive to society and bad for the casino industry.
Laxalt said he has not spoken to Adelson about the legislation.
Nevada has legalized only online poker, while Delaware and New Jersey have legalized other games, including slots and blackjack. The bills do not contain a grandfather clause that would allow those states to continue legally offering Internet gaming.
“I intend to sign the letter,” Laxalt said. “We need to return back to the status quo. Gaming is a different animal. We need to know the sources of money.”
Several state legislatures, including California and Pennsylvania, have debated legalizing various forms of Internet gaming this year.
Laxalt said the issue of Internet gaming legalization should be returned to Congress for continued debate.
Sandoval said he was disappointed by Laxalt’s decision, calling Nevada’s interactive gaming laws “groundbreaking” and necessary for the casino industry to grow and prosper.
“I am very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law in our leading industry,” Sandoval said in a statement. “At its core, this is a state’s rights issue and I disagree with the Attorney General that a federal government one-size-fits-all solution is in the best interest of Nevada.”
Sandoval said Nevada, “to maintain a competitive edge internationally, must enact policies that allow the industry to meet the demands of a younger, more technologically engaged gamer.”
This is not the first time Sandoval and Laxalt, both Republicans, have clashed.
Just weeks after taking office in January, Laxalt joined with 25 other states to challenge President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Sandoval disagreed with the action, saying the matter would be best handled legislatively in Congress. In October, Laxalt joined a federal lawsuit challenging new land-use regulations to protect sage grouse. Sandoval said the state’s top attorney was acting in his own “personal capacity” and does not represent Nevada in the matter.
Nevada has two online poker websites. operated by Caesars Interactive Entertainment and the South Point. Nevada also has an interstate agreement with Delaware that allows online poker players from the two states to compete against each other.
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo Jr. called the Adelson-backed legislation “a step backwards” and would “stifle creativity and innovation.”
Alamo said Nevada’s interactive gaming laws have allowed casinos to take advantage of technology used for mobile gaming, wide-area-progressive slot machines and interactive gaming.
“All these things increase liquidity, thus the potential for building revenue for the state of Nevada,” Alamo said. “The 2011 DOJ opinion was a correct interpretation of the wire act that followed several circuit court opinions and supported our state’s innovative legislation.”
Alamo said the current bills in Congress “will take gaming back decades.”
MGM Resorts International General Counsel John McManus said Laxalt’s statement “is ignoring his own campaign promises.” He pointed to statement on Laxalt’s campaign website where the candidate says it was “far too often we’ve seen the federal government’s overreach tie the hands of Nevada’s job creators.”
McManus said the attorney general “is confused” about what is best for Nevada.
“This is a dangerous path, and the people of Nevada should not have to worry that their attorney general will lobby the federal government to destroy current and future jobs in our state,” McManus said.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt gave an overview of his office’s mission and watchdog responsibilities toward the federal government’s overreach at Wednesday’s Churchill Economic Development Authority Business Council Breakfast.
The state’s 33rd attorney general, who won election in 2014 against Ross Miller, is the nation’s youngest. During his campaign, 15 of 17 Nevada sheriffs endorsed Laxalt. Churchill County District Attorney Art Mallory, who introduced the attorney general, said Laxalt has been a man who “does what he says” and is following through on his campaign pledges.
“He stands up for rural Nevada, he cut the deadwood in his office and trimmed the budget,” Mallory said of the state’s top law enforcement officer.
Once he was elected, Laxalt said he began assembling a team of attorneys and support staff to make the attorney general’s section the top legal office in the state. By taking an active role in the office shortly after the election, Laxalt said he revised the AG office’s budget, thus allowing him to hire a solicitor general from Montana.
“The solicitor general needs to be able to wake up every morning on guard and (thinking) what to do with the federal government,” Laxalt said.
Furthermore, Laxalt said the attorney general is the only state constitutional office holder who focuses on the constitutional system and Federalism, the relationship between the states and United States government.
“Churchill County (and other rural counties) are affected by the government’s overreach,” Laxalt said, adding he will use the state’s power to protect its citizens.
Laxalt cited the recent ruling earlier this month from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that opposed the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Rule that broadened the federal government’s reach over millions of acres of private land that are regulated by the states. Laxalt said Nevada joined 12 other states to oppose the new rule that would allow the EPA to manage any body of water to include creeks, ponds and lakes as navigable waterways.
“The federal government did not have authority to make a new definition,” Laxalt said of the EPA’s rewriting of the Clean Water Rule.
While the states won a decision at the first level, Laxalt said the EPA’s overreach could advance to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Laxalt, who has come under fire from various groups over his stand on immigration, joined other states challenging President Barack Obama’s executive order dealing with immigrants who illegally come into the country. Laxalt said the president is not going through Congress.
Laxalt also touched on the Second Amendment and the number of briefs filed. He is particularly concerned about new laws being made in California, for example, that could have an effect on Nevada. Both states are in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
He said California is “looking at a silly law” that would dictate concealed weapons must stay in the home.
Another overreach Laxalt and his fellow attorneys general from the western states are pursuing is the federal government’s stand on possibly designating more protected habitat for sage grouse.
“We gave the federal government an alternative … and the federal government is not interested,” Laxalt said.
Depending on the outcome, he said any decision would affect Northern Nevada and portions of Churchill County.
“If the federal government goes too far,” Laxalt said, “the AG can sue on behalf of its citizens to protect our state and them.”
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt says he hopes his Basque-themed gathering of Republican presidential candidates this weekend will become a can’t-miss campaign stop and spawn copycats in the Silver State.
Laxalt is hosting the inaugural Basque Fry on Saturday at a ranch in Gardnerville. Republican presidential candidates Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and George Pataki are scheduled to attend.
Laxalt says the $35-per-person barbecue isn’t a fundraiser and aims to give everyday voters a chance to talk with candidates. It’s modeled after similar gatherings in early vote states, such as the Harkin Steak Fry that attracted Democratic candidates for four decades in Iowa.
The event carries on a tradition from Laxalt’s Basque grandfather, former Nevada governor and Sen. Paul Laxalt, who held similar barbecues for 30 years.
He said the change redefined the legal standard for joint employer status replacing what he said was a clear rule with a “vague and unworkable economic realities test.” He said that would expose businesses to liability for workers they don’t actually employ.
“Unnecessarily changing this decades-old standard hurts Nevada’s companies, including our small businesses, which could lead to fewer jobs in this state,” Laxalt said.
The existing standard says a company is a joint employer only if the company shares “direct and immediate control over the terms and conditions of employment with another company.”
Changing that rule, he said, could create problems especially for franchise businesses and specialty subcontractors.
EPA was required to approve, partially approve or deny the interstate transport part of that plan by Oct. 10 of last year.
Laxalt said the suit was filed because an environmental group gave notice it planned to sue EPA. He said in the past, EPA and those groups have resolved lawsuits without getting input from the states and resolved them in ways that have had negative impacts on the states.
He said Nevada filed its own lawsuit to preserve its part in the settlement process and make sure the results of any deal are in the state’s best interest.
“Like they have done before, environmental groups are trying to work out a side deal with the EPA that leaves everyone else including Nevadans without a seat at the table,” Laxalt said. “We want to ensure that is not the outcome this time.”
At the same time, the Western Energy Alliance plans to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee Aug. 8 on the practice referred to as “sue-and-settle” arguing that those closed door negotiations exclude the public, elected officials and state and local governments as well as businesses from the room. That hearing will be held in Washington, D.C.
Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt detailed his main priorities in the Office of the Attorney General during his first 100 days on the job. Since being sworn in on January 5, AG Laxalt has launched several major initiatives in service of Nevada.
“Working together, we have hit the ground running and focused on a back-to-basics agenda to create a safer, stronger and freer Nevada,” said Laxalt. “I am proud of the work we have done thus far, and look forward to our continued efforts towards protecting the most vulnerable in Nevada, providing needed legal assistance to our heroes in uniform and fighting back against overreach from the federal government.”
In addition to maintaining the core functions of the office, AG Laxalt has undertaken the following initiatives in his first 100 days:
- Promoted statewide public safety by organizing a law enforcement summit – Within the first 30 days in office, AG Laxalt’s first major initiative as attorney general was to host a law enforcement summit which brought together sheriffs, chiefs and district attorneys from Nevada’s 17 counties. At the summit, law enforcement collaborated on key issues affecting Nevada’s communities, including violent crime, domestic violence, illegal drugs, child abuse and human trafficking, among others. The event was widely attended by more than 100 law enforcement partners.
- Stood with our heroes in uniform – In February, AG Laxalt announced the formation of an advisory committee to assist with the creation of the Office of Military Legal Assistance (OMLA). The committee, which includes various stakeholders in the pro bono legal and military communities, has met regularly since its inception. The OMLA will be the nation’s first attorney general-led public-private partnership giving military personnel free access to needed civil legal services that they would otherwise be unable to obtain at their respective military installations. This program is set to officially launch this summer.
- Fought back against federal overreach – AG Laxalt pursued an aggressive agenda within the courts to protect the laws and rights of Nevadans. In January, he joined a majority of other states in a multistate effort to combat federal overreach by challenging the president’s unilateral effort to change federal immigration law. AG Laxalt then testified before the House Judiciary Committee addressing the lawsuit and the importance of following the rule of law. Additionally, AG Laxalt filed an amicus brief in state court supporting Elko County’s arguments against environmental groups attempting to limit what constitutes a public road under Nevada law. Finally, AG Laxalt joined a multistate letter to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms urging the agency to drop its ban on commonly used rifle ammunition.
- Redoubled consumer protection efforts – In addition to proactive actions to protect the state and Nevadans, AG Laxalt directed his Bureau of Consumer Protection to join several lawsuits. Those actions included Nevada’s participation in a multistate objection to RadioShack’s sale of customers’ personal information, and a multistate letter to oil companies regarding the sale of dangerous synthetic drugs in convenience stores. The office has also made notable criminal and consumer fraud convictions, including: eight sentencings related to fraud, ten sentencings for Medicaid and healthcare fraud, eight scam-related investigations and multiple warnings regarding pervasive consumer scams. Most recently, AG Laxalt appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America to warn consumers about smartphone resale scams.
Other noteworthy matters handled by AG Laxalt include: protecting Nevada’s open government by investigating open meeting law complaints, appealing a judicial order for the retrial of an inmate responsible for the murder of an FBI agent, assisting Elko County by reviewing a Nevada Supreme Court criminal decision of an alleged illegal detention and allocating the resources to draft and file legal briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, and working with the Nevada legislature to ensure the passage of the Office of the Attorney General’s budget and appropriate law enforcement bills.
AG Laxalt and his office remain committed to serving Nevadans and protecting their rights.
After U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced he will not run for a sixth term, political prognosticators declared the post a “toss-up,” with either party able to win the seat in 2016.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval immediately was declared the favorite to win, though the popular leader has said he isn’t interested.
On the Democratic side, Reid played the queenmaker, endorsing former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to succeed him. Just days following his March 27 retirement announcement, Reid was in Las Vegas, plotting her path to victory, saying he would put his formidable machine behind her.
“We are going to do everything we can,” Reid told the New York Times over a bowl of chicken soup, settling into his new role of political Godfather. “I have to make sure I take care of the person running for Senate in Nevada.”
Several potential contenders already have taken themselves out of the running, from Reid’s eldest son, Rory, to former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who now runs Tuoro University in Nevada and California.
U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said he would rather stay in the House, where he has served since 2011. But like Sandoval, the congressman likely will feel pressure from GOP leaders who want their best candidate in 2016’s hottest race after the presidency.
Meanwhile, Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, said he’s preparing for re-election and “leaning no” on a Senate run. U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., has said in the past that he’s not interested, although Reid’s retirement could change that. State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a Republican, said he would consider running only if Sandoval and Heck do not.
Yet the list of Nevadans who could try to join Washington’s exclusive club of 100 remains fairly long. Reid’s retirement has shifted the electoral ground, prompting relative newcomers and political veterans alike to consider the possibilities. Here’s a report card on some of the potential contenders:
CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
Money — A+: Cortez Masto should have no trouble filling Senate campaign coffers in a race that could exceed 2010’s highly competitive race in which both Reid and Republican Sharron Angle each raised and spent more than $25 million. Outside groups just about matched the candidates’ spending.
On her own, Cortez Masto took in nearly $2.5 million for her elections in 2006 and 2010 and will have Reid as a rainmaker in 2016.
Since 2009, Reid has raised $23.6 million for his campaign committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Reid also helped land $46.7 million for the 2012 midterm elections for the Senate Democrats’ super PAC, Senate Majority PAC. Reid’s own campaign committee held $1.5 million as of Sept. 30.
Experience — B: Cortez Masto served eight years as attorney general after a career as a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., that gave her a taste of Capitol Hill.
Name Recognition — B: She’s held a high-profile statewide office for two terms and is a native Nevadan of Hispanic heritage. Her father, the late Manny Cortez, had a high profile in Southern Nevada as the longtime head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and was partly responsible for making the Strip a tourist mecca.
Liability/Asset — C: Cortez Masto hasn’t had a tough campaign and might not be ready for a rough-and-tumble Senate race. She declined to challenge Sandoval last year.
Money — B: Titus has never had trouble raising money. She raised about $1.1 million last year for a 1st Congressional District race that wasn’t very competitive. She raised nearly $2.6 million for the highly competitive 2010 campaign in the 3rd Congressional District, which she lost to Heck. For a Senate run she could expect a lot of support from outside groups such as Emily’s List.
Experience — B: Titus has survived the campaign crucible and runs strong. Even her losses in some of the state’s most competitive districts were close. In 2010 she lost to Heck by just 1,748 votes.
Name Recognition — B: Titus has been around Nevada politics for decades, including 20 years in the state Senate (1988-2008) where she rose to become minority leader. She also has a statewide profile, having run for governor and losing to Republican Jim Gibbons in 2006.
Liability/Asset — B: Titus, a native Georgian, has a thick Southern accent that can dissuade voters who favor native Nevadans. Strongly independent, she isn’t afraid to cross Reid and wouldn’t hesitate to challenge Cortez Masto if she thinks she can win. Titus in 2012 ran for the 1st Congressional District after Reid hand-picked state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, for the open seat. Kihuen dropped out before the primary.
Money — A+: Miller is a talented fundraiser who brought in $2.6 million for his failed 2014 attorney general campaign.
Experience — C: At age 30, Miller became the youngest Nevada secretary of state in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. But he faced weak GOP challengers in both campaigns. In 2014, he lost his first truly competitive race to Adam Laxalt, a political newcomer who eked out a slim 4,750-vote victory, or 46.2 percent to 45.3 percent. Miller suffered in the low turnout race as Democrats stayed home, but his campaign also failed to turn voters against Laxalt.
Name Recognition — A: Miller held statewide office for eight years and boasts the highest social media profile among Nevada officials with nearly 17,500 Twitter followers. In addition, his father is Bob Miller, who was governor from 1989 to 1999.
Liability/Asset — C: Miller’s love of socializing proved his downfall against Laxalt. He reported accepting more than $70,000 in gifts while secretary of state, including tickets to sporting events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and football games where he sat in luxury skyboxes. Miller said some of the freebies were educational conferences. His opponents were able to exploit the gifts and question his ethics.
Money — C: Flores raised nearly $754,000 in her failed 2014 race for lieutenant governor — not nearly enough to keep up with Republican Mark Hutchison, who raised about $2.5 million to win.
Experience — C: Flores served two terms in the Assembly, but neither of those elections featured tough competition. In 2010 she took 82.16 percent of the vote in the general election. She swept up 73 percent of the vote in a three-way primary in 2012 but faced no general election opponent at all.
Name Recognition — C:Little known outside of Clark County, her weak showing last year was her first statewide campaign. It focused on her bio — former gang member and high-school dropout who had an abortion as a teen, then went on to graduate from law school and enter politics. Inspiring to many, her hard-luck tale might not play well in conservative rural Nevada.
Liability/Asset — C: Hispanics comprise nearly 30 percent of Nevada’s population and Flores had the Latino vote last year, but she had trouble reaching other demographic groups statewide. She’s considered a long shot for a Senate bid but a better candidate for the 4th Congressional District.
Money — C: Her secretary of state campaign raised $715,245 last year but spent $100,000 more.
Experience — D: Marshall won two terms as state treasurer but failed in a 2011 special election for the 2nd Congressional District and lost the secretary of state job last year.
Name Recognition — C: Few Nevadans can name the state treasurer, even one who served two terms.
Liability/Asset — C: Her high-pitched voice can be grating; she’s a two-time loser in her most recent elections.
Money — B: He raised $152,000 in 2013 for his Las Vegas City Council campaign and has shown he can get bigger bucks when needed, including more than $500,000 for one past state Senate bid.
Experience — B: Beers served in the Nevada Assembly and Senate from 1999 to 2008 but was washed away by the Democratic wave that swept Barack Obama into the White House. He rebounded in 2012, beating eight other contenders in a Las Vegas City Council special election with 37 percent of the vote. The following year voters gave him a landslide re-election, with 76 percent of the vote.
Name Recognition — C: He ran in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary but isn’t widely known outside Clark County.
Liability/Asset — B: Beers is the first candidate to announce he’s running for Reid’s seat, putting out the word and 55,000 pamphlets in January 2014. An accountant, he’s known for asking lots of questions before spending taxpayer money and was a leader of the Assembly’s “mean 15” which blocked a proposed $1 billion tax hike in 2003.
Money — A+: Running virtually unopposed, Sandoval raised about $3.7 million for his 2014 re-election, plus $1.4 million for his New Nevada PAC helping other GOP candidates. He raised more than $5 million to easily defeat Rory Reid in 2010.
Experience — B: The governor has served in all three branches of government as a member of the Nevada Assembly, state attorney general and as a federal judge. He’s never faced a tough campaign.
Name Recognition —A: Not only is Sandoval widely known, he’s also popular. More than 60 percent of Nevadans say he does a good job. No credible Democrat would run against him last year, and his re-election was a 71-percent landslide. He’s also gaining popularity among Nevada Latinos, who lean Democrat. Latino Decisions said exit polls showed Sandoval got 47 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2014, up from 15 percent in 2010.
Liability/Asset — Incomplete: Sandoval insists he doesn’t want to run for the Senate but instead is focused on finishing his second four-year term, which runs through 2018. How Sandoval comes out of the Nevada Legislature could affect his political future: Will lawmakers approve his $7.3 billion spending plan that includes $1.1 billion in new and extended taxes to fund education? Is he as “unbeatable” as some insiders say? Stay tuned.
Money —A: Heck raised nearly $2.5 million for his 2014 campaign and spent less than $2 million. He would have no trouble raising big bucks for a Senate race from gaming interests and other major Nevada industries.
Experience — B: Heck has been able to hang on to his seat in the 3rd Congressional District for several elections, although it’s the state’s most competitive House district with an even Republican-Democrat split and independents leaning GOP. He’s also had a taste of defeat: In 2008 he lost his state Senate seat in a Democratic wave election that put President Barack Obama in office.
Name Recognition — C: Heck maintains a fairly low profile as a serious, workaday congressman, and he has never run a statewide race. That could put him at a disadvantage against someone with statewide campaign experience.
Liability/Asset — B: Heck’s promotion last year to brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve and past active duty as a doctor in Iraq make him an appealing candidate, particularly among Nevada’s large veteran population. But the moderate has come under fire from the left for voting with the conservative House caucus on hot-button issues such as immigration and equal pay. Heck said he’s staying put in the House, but 2016 could be his best chance to move up to the U.S. Senate.
Money — B: Krolicki hasn’t had a big-money race, although he raised $640,000 and spent $1.1 million in his first election for lieutenant governor in 2006. He raised about half that for his 2010 re-election.
Experience — B: He’s been around state government and GOP politics for a long time, serving two terms as state treasurer followed by two terms as lieutenant governor. He contemplated a run against Reid in 2010 but was sidelined by an ethics investigation that ultimately foundered.
Name Recognition — C: Krolicki has been on the statewide ballot four times, but remains relatively unknown.
Liability/Asset — D: His career took a hit with his 2008 indictment related to management of a college savings program while state treasurer. A judge later dismissed the felony charges, which Krolicki characterized as a partisan attack by then-Attorney General Cortez Masto.
Money — A: Hutchison showed he can raise money — lots of it — even for the low-profile post of lieutenant governor. He raised at least $2.5 million to win a part-time job that puts him in line to replace Sandoval, if need be.
Experience — B: A newcomer to politics, Hutchison resigned his state Senate seat midterm to run for lieutenant governor as Sandoval’s choice. The stakes were high, but Hutchison sailed into office with 59.5 percent of the vote.
Name Recognition — C: Hutchison’s campaign attracted a lot of attention and he crisscrossed the state several times, yet he remains relatively unknown.
Liability/Asset — B: Sandoval’s support is a big plus. An attorney, Hutchison represented Nevada for free in its challenge to Obamacare — work that made him popular among conservatives but could hurt him among Democrats.
Money — B: Roberson raised more than $600,000 last year toward his 2014 state Senate race, plus money for a PAC and other candidates, helping the GOP take control of the upper house.
Experience — C: His political career has taken off like a rocket since his first election to the state Senate in 2010. But the Senate majority leader never has been tested in a statewide race.
Name Recognition — C: His state Senate leadership gets his name out there, but his lack of a statewide run means he’s not that widely known. On the plus side, his base is Clark County, home to 75 percent of all Nevadans.
Liability/Asset — B: Roberson first ran as a strict conservative but has become a moderate over time. He’s now pushing for Sandoval’s $7.3 billion general fund budget and $1.1 billion package of new and extended taxes. This could hurt him in any GOP primary but help him during a general election. Insiders say family considerations and a desire to stay in the Legislature weigh against a U.S. Senate race, for now.
Money — A: Laxalt surprised many observers by raising more than $1.8 million in his first political campaign to score an upset over better-financed Ross Miller in last year’s attorney general race. He tapped conservatives in Washington, D.C., where his mother, Michelle Laxalt, was a widely known lobbyist. Acquaintances of his grandfather, former Nevada Gov. and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, also ponied up.
Experience — C: Laxalt was a Navy judge advocate general and a lawyer in a private practice in Las Vegas. But he has only lived in Nevada for a few years and has run just one campaign. He would be sorely tested in a high-stakes contest that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Name Recognition — B: Laxalt’s family name helped him win support statewide. He also spent a lot of time traveling the dusty roads to reach every corner of Nevada last year.
Liability/Asset — C: During the campaign, an operative leaked a memo from a Laxalt job review at the private firm, Lewis Roca, where he worked. It said he had sloppy legal skills and was “a train wreck” as a lawyer. His campaign countered by releasing rave reviews he got in the military, including when he oversaw terrorism cases in Baghdad. Laxalt has suggested he wants to focus on his new job but hasn’t ruled out a Senate bid.
Contact Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.
More than 100 protesters demanding Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt back off his support of the lawsuit challenging the president’s immigration policy blocked Carson Street in front of Laxalt’s office on Wednesday.
But PLAN Director Bob Fulkerson’s stated objective of getting eight or nine protesters including himself arrested was foiled when police diverted traffic around the blockade.
“They can sit there all day if they want,” said Carson Sheriff Ken Furlong.
“They’ll be here a long time then,” said Furlong adding he knew their goal was to be arrested.
Several of his deputies, Capitol Police and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers stood by to make sure the group and their supporters were safe and stayed under control.
Furlong told one of the organizers, “Just make sure no one gets hurt.”
They stayed a little more than half an hour before moving on to the Plaza Conference Center three blocks south. Officers present said the group was well behaved and polite to them throughout the protest.
Democratic Senators Kelvin Atkinson and Ruben Kihuen joined the protesters and called for Laxalt to drop the lawsuit.
Fulkerson said the group planned during the day to also protest to the state Controller and state Treasurer, then to the Legislature.
The protest started when all 100-plus protesters crowded into the front lobby of the Attorney General’s office chanting, “Adam Laxalt, you can’t keep hiding. We the people are uniting,“ and “Keep families together.” They called for Laxalt’s deportation.
They demanded to see Laxalt in person but he wasn’t in the office. He was seen leaving in a vehicle behind the office just a few minutes before the protesters arrived.
Chief of Staff Nick Trutanich told protest leaders he would be glad to meet with several of them to discuss Laxalt’s stance on immigration and his decision to join the lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s immigration policies but they shouldn’t continue interrupting the business of the Attorney General’s office.
The group left the office after about 10 minutes and blocked normally busy Carson Street for a half hour or so.
Laxalt hasn’t backed down from the lawsuit, despite staunch opposition from progressive activists and apprehension from Gov. Brian Sandoval. The 36-year-old former Navy Judge Advocate General testified before a House Judiciary committee in February and called the president’s executive order an unconstitutional federal overreach.
Activists say that if the lawsuit prevails, it would have an especially heavy toll in Nevada, which has the nation’s highest rate of immigrants living in the country illegally.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Attorney General Adam Laxalt told the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday he wants to reorganize the office to improve efficiency and effectiveness in providing services and customer service.
But he said despite the fact his plan calls for the addition of several high level positions, it won’t cost more than the amounts in the governor’s recommended budget. In fact, he said, he hopes to reduce that budget by about $500,000.
Once the changes are in place, Laxalt said, “I think we’ll start saving the state significant dollars.”
He said the plan involves adding a deputy Solicitor General to assist with handling the increasing number of appeals to both state and federal courts.
“The legal profession has become increasingly specialized over recent years and the appellate process has become more specialized,” he said. “It’s vital we have two prosecutors completely focused on that job.”
At present, Laxalt said appeals come up through all different state agencies. He said it’s important to have those cases all funnel through one office and reviewed to ensure the office is consistent in its positions.
He also asked for a General Counsel to handle all constitutional, statutory and ethical issues in the office. That post would also handle all public records requests and issues dealing with conflicts of interest.
Two other new positions would handle military legal assistance issues including finding lawyers willing to do pro bono (free) service for members of the military, and a senior deputy to run an office of neighborhood protection, monitoring and identifying crime trends and coordinating efforts with local law enforcement and prosecutors.
He said the plan involves reorganizing the four bureaus within the office and provide each of them with a chief. At present, he said only the Bureau of Consumer Protection has a chief in place. His plan would hire chiefs for the other three.
But Laxalt said those additions and changes will all be paid for with existing funds by reorganizing and moving positions around, not by adding costs.
He said a key element of that reorganization of bureaus would be to provide the ability to sue instead of cutting a settlement deal on every case.
“If we get into the business as a state of settling every case, the other side knows they can continue to push us higher and higher and higher,” he said. “We need the capacity to take cases to court so plaintiffs know they can’t get every settlement they want.”
Members of Nevada’s legal community, veteran advocates and Nevada Adjutant General Brig. Gen. William Burks met to discuss the program in Carson City.
The proposed legislation — Senate Bill 60 — would create “the nation’s first attorney general led public-private partnership to give our military communities access to pro-bono civil legal services,” Office of the Attorney General spokeswoman Patty Cafferata said in a press release.
The Attorney General’s Advisory Committee for the Office of Military Legal Assistance will continue discussing specifics and how the office could best aid veterans, specifically those returning from overseas, as the bill waits to go before the Senate during Nevada’s 78th Legislature, set to remain in session through May.
Nevada Air Guard Capt. Dana Grigg said the three-person Judge Advocate General staff at the Office of the Adjutant General in Carson City receives inquiries on several types of cases ranging from family law to probate law.
“We try to guide them and coach them through the motions, but we can’t always put pen to paper or provide direct representation,” Grigg said.
“Most attorneys I speak with agree that we owe this to our military community, and are happy to have a vehicle to support such a great cause,” said Laxalt, a former Navy JAG. “The attorney general’s office is uniquely situated to spearhead this collective effort to bring these needs to the forefront of our legal community in the state.”
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican, saw first-hand Wednesday the political football immigration has become in the U.S. House of Representatives. Laxalt testified before the House Judiciary Committee to explain the lawsuit against President Obamaâs executive action. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican, saw first-hand Wednesday the political football immigration has become in the U.S. House of Representatives. Laxalt testified before the House Judiciary Committee to explain the lawsuit against President Obamaâs executive action. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican, saw first-hand Wednesday the political football immigration has become in the U.S. House of Representatives. Laxalt testified before the House Judiciary Committee to explain the lawsuit against President Obamaâs executive action.
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — In less than a year, Washoe County School District’s Board of Trustees has been found to be in violation of Nevada’s Open Meeting Law. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt issued a six page opinion (Click here to read the opinion) about a complaint filed by citizen, Karen Dunaway. The incident stems from a school board meeting that took place October 28, 2014, at a time the Board was embroiled in a controversy over the firing of former Superintendent Pedro Martinez.
Laxalt said, “You had a member of the public that’s trying to comment. It’s a fundamental right that they’re able to comment and this person was shut down in the middle of that.” He added, “That is just not the way our law works.”
The opinion notes Dunaway alleged Trustee Barbara McLaury, who was acting as Board President at the time, and Board Counsel Randy Drake prevent Dunaway from making further comments when she was trying to discuss the firing of former school Police Chief Mike Mieras. When her remarks became critical of Martinez, she was instructed to put her comments in writing. The opinion states she was told to do so because Martinez had not received required notice his professionalism or character would be discussed publically. Dunaway argued there was no legal standing to cut her comments short and the legal threat from Martinez’ attorneys was wrongly applied to her. The AG’s opinion agrees. Laxalt said, “We hope they pay attention to this opinion and review it carefully and not repeat these mistakes.”
Laxalt said his office will not seek fines but has asked the Board of Trustees to post the opinion and publicly discuss it at the next opportunity, which could be at the next regularly scheduled meeting on March 18, 2015.
WCSD School Board President John Mayer issued the following statement:
“We are in receipt of the Attorney General’s opinion regarding the October 28, 2014 meeting of the Board of Trustees. At that meeting, a member of the public began making negative comments towards then-Superintendent Pedro Martinez. Based on correspondence from Mr. Martinez’ attorneys threatening to take action against the District if the Board directly or indirectly considered the professionalism, character or integrity of Mr. Martinez at this Board meeting, Vice President Barbara McLaury stopped the comments. There are no punitive penalties associated with this opinion and we thank the Attorney General’s Office for carefully considering the District’s position on this matter.”
If you would like to read the Attorney General’s news release click here.
The recently elected Republican will speak before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C. He plans to testify about why Nevada joined 25 other states in filing a lawsuit to block the president’s order to spare nearly 5 million immigrants from deportation.
Laxalt said in prepared remarks that the president’s order is unconstitutional and immigration policy is instead Congress’ responsibility. He said joining the lawsuit wasn’t a political maneuver but a reaction to federal overreach.
A federal judge temporarily halted implementation of the president’s order last week. The lawsuit is now being heard by a federal appeals court.
Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, on the job less than two months, is getting some national exposure this week.
The Republican was invited to testify this Wednesday before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on a hearing to examine “the unconstitutionality of President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration.”
On Jan. 26, Nevada became the 26th state to join a lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s executive order he signed Nov. 10 after the election to protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president said he acted within his authority because Congress hasn’t been able to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Laxalt’s action to join the lawsuit caused a stir in Nevada because he didn’t personally inform GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval ahead of time, although the attorney general’s staff did tell the governor’s staff. Laxalt has the legal authority as attorney general to independently file such lawsuits, however.
The two men later met to discuss the case. Afterward, Sandoval said he maintains the better path would be to work on a legislative solution instead of going to court.
Laxalt, however, said he’s fulfilling a campaign pledge to fight federal overreach at every turn.
“If President Obama wants to change the laws of the United States, there is a clear constitutional means of doing so: he can work with Congress to pass new legislation,” Laxalt said in announcing his role in the hearing. “However, as Supreme Court precedent makes clear, the president cannot simply change the law by an executive command.”
In his congressional testimony, Laxalt plans to “focus on the states’ role in ensuring executive branch compliance with this country’s laws and its Constitution,” his office said in announcing he’ll take part in the hearing.
“I am honored to be invited to this hearing, and appreciate the oversight role that the House Judiciary Committee plays,” Laxalt said in a statement. “This lawsuit is ultimately about the rule of law, not immigration, and the need for all branches of our government, including the president, to faithfully follow the law.”
— Laura Myers
DIFFERENT KIND OF SOCCER
Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell is going to have her hands full over the next few weeks.
An unsuspecting Fretwell on Wednesday found herself in the middle of an impromptu, rapidly escalating arms race over spending records related to the city’s push for a much-ballyhooed $200 million downtown soccer stadium. A deal to spend $56 million in public funds on that stadium fell apart after Major League Soccer announced it would not be sending a team to Las Vegas before 2018.
Records detailing stadium-related city expenditures in the run-up to the deal’s failure were first requested by stadium subsidy foe and Mayor Pro Tem Stavros Anthony. They include but are not limited to planning funds paid to the stadium’s would-be developer, fees paid to at least three separate stadium consultants and city-paid travel expenses used to fly City Council members to New York and sell MLS on bringing a team to Las Vegas.
Anthony, now more than a month into an uphill battle for mayor and stadium supporter Carolyn Goodman’s seat, said the records are needed to tell the public how much was spent on the snake-bit effort. He expects Fretwell to have them ready for City Council consideration by March 4.
Not to be outdone, Councilman Bob Coffin asked Fretwell for all records related to every publicly subsidized city project dating back for more than a decade.
“That would include all the established structures that are in Symphony Park, or outside Symphony Park, as well as all the (redevelopment agency) funds,” Coffin said. “It’s all the principle of (spending) public money to support private business — our attempt to grow the city of Las Vegas.”
Coffin, a stadium supporter up for re-election against a pair of vocal stadium subsidy foes in June, said he expects Fretwell won’t release Anthony’s records unless and until her staff is also able to compile and release his request.
Fretwell told Anthony and Coffin she’d do her level best to put those reports together, but couldn’t promise to have them ready before March 18 — three days before the start of early voting for an April 7 municipal primary election.
She declined further comment on the matter Friday.
— James DeHaven
LAWMAKER ON THE MEND
State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, received some good news this past week as she recovers from surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Smith was discharged from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on Feb. 16 but is remaining in Texas for follow-up treatment.
Smith said she is feeling good and is paying close attention to Senate business. Her family reports that they cannot keep her cellphone out of her hands. Smith and her family thanked the many people who have showered them with support over the past few weeks. Smith was awake, talking and eating on Feb. 7, one day after undergoing the surgery.
Smith announced early in February that she was seeking expert medical treatment out of state and would miss opening day of the 2015 legislative session that began Feb. 2. She was elected to the Senate in 2012 and serves as assistant minority leader.
Smith plans to return to the Legislature when she is able.
— Sean Whaley
Students who nibble pastries into the shape of a firearm or bring tiny toy guns to school would not face discipline under a bill to be considered Monday by the Assembly Education Committee.
Assembly Bill 121, the so-called “Pop Tart” bill, is sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Wheeler of Gardnerville and other Republican lawmakers. It’s a response to a 2013 case in Maryland, where a second-grader was suspended from school after chewing a pastry into the shape of gun.
The Nevada bill also would prohibit students from being disciplined for simulating a firearm, wearing clothing or accessories depicting a weapon, or having a toy gun no bigger than 2 inches in length.
— Sandra Chereb
Contact Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900. Contact James DeHaven firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839. Contact Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Contact Sandra Chereb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.
Democrats and connoisseurs of the theater of political absurdity have enjoyed the recent tiff (if you could call it that) between Gov. Brian Sandoval and the attorney general for whom he so cheerfully campaigned. The gist of the spat: Adam Laxalt decided to join a lawsuit with other state attorneys general challenging President Barack Obama’s executive order halting the deportation of some illegal immigrants—except that Laxalt didn’t clear the move with Sandoval beforehand.
Let’s set aside that Laxalt may well owe Sandoval his election; that Laxalt had claimed he wouldn’t sandbag Sandoval in this way; that Sandoval was once this state’s attorney general and a federal judge who may know something about this subject; and that the national GOP has tapped Sandoval to join Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico as part of a national outreach effort to the Hispanic community (a community that might have an opinion or two on the issue of deportation).
Instead, let’s consider history.
When they wrote the state constitution, Nevada’s founding fathers anticipated a limited state government with a weak governor. While the president of the United States runs on a ticket with his handpicked No. 2 and then chooses his secretary of state, financial advisers and, yes, attorney general, Nevada’s governor isn’t afforded these luxuries; rather, the electorate tackles this chore. That’s led to politicians from opposing parties working, as you might expect, toward opposing ends in the same office. Oddly, it’s also led to politicians from the same parties working toward opposing ends.
Consider: In 1982, Democrat Richard Bryan was elected governor, with Washoe County businessman Bob Cashell, a fellow Democrat, as Bryan’s lieutenant. But they clashed on the issues, and Bryan didn’t trust Cashell to back his administration. After just a few months in office, Cashell switched parties. He was expected to challenge Bryan’s reelection in 1986 but didn’t; instead, that year Bryan defeated Patty Cafferata, then the state treasurer … and now Laxalt’s spokeswoman.
Other governors have had—or have been rumored to have—spiky relationships with fellow party members in their administrations. In 1974, Mike O’Callaghan easily won reelection. His new lieutenant governor was Washoe County District Attorney Bob Rose. Rumbling spread through Nevada that the two Democrats weren’t that close—perhaps understandably, since Rose’s predecessor was Harry Reid, who had been O’Callaghan’s close friend and former student. O’Callaghan and Rose couldn’t have matched that level of trust.
Another likely reason they weren’t particularly tight was that Rose was closer politically to Grant Sawyer, the former governor, than he was to O’Callaghan. While Sawyer and O’Callaghan weren’t enemies, they did jockey against each other a bit. And Sawyer was familiar with this sort of problem. When he was elected governor in 1958, his attorney general was Roger D. Foley—both Democrats, both liberal-minded, close in age and obviously ambitious. They respected each other but disagreed on some issues related to civil rights—Sawyer wanted to do a lot, but Foley felt Sawyer should do even more.
Foley resigned in 1962 to become a federal judge. That year, the winner of the attorney general’s race was Harvey Dickerson, who had lost his bid for governor in the 1958 Democratic primary to—you guessed it—Sawyer. When Sawyer tried to force casino operators to desegregate and warned that “we would be looking very closely at their operations”—an implicit threat—Dickerson said his boss lacked the power to do that. But Sawyer later said that “by then I was already doing it, and I continued to do it until we had a law that took care of the situation.”
Then again, Dickerson didn’t annoy Sawyer as much as his lieutenant governor did. When Sawyer would leave the state, his No. 2 would convene meetings and make appointments to office. Eventually, Sawyer sued, and the Nevada Supreme Court ruled the lieutenant governor’s powers were limited to emergencies when the governor couldn’t be reached.
In this case, the two were bound to disagree on some things, since Sawyer was a Democrat and his lieutenant governor was a Republican. You may have heard of him: Paul Laxalt. You see, he has this grandson …
Michael Green is an associate professor of history at UNLV
CARSON CITY — Attorney General Adam Laxalt got some high-profile support on Monday, as no less than the house organ of establishment capitalism — the Wall Street Journal — published an op-ed defending Laxalt from charges of overreaching on the issue of immigration.
Laxalt recently joined a lawsuit (Texas v. United States of America) that challenges President Barack Obama’s legal authority to implement an executive order on immigration that extends his previously implemented temporary deferrals on deporting so-called DREAMer children to their parents. Laxalt failed to ask Gov. Brian Sandoval directly about his opinion on the matter before adding Nevada to the lawsuit, and it became clear almost immediately that Sandoval disagreed.
Publicly, said the governor’s spokeswoman: “He [Sandoval] continues to believe that the best course of action is a legislative solution rather than legal action.”
But attorneys David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey disagree, and they had no problem making their views known on the Journal’s website.
First, it must be noted that Rivkin is not simply a disinterested concerned party. As Jon Ralston of RalstonReports.com first reported Monday, Rivkin is a campaign donor to Laxalt, having contributed $500 in February 2014. This fact is nowhere disclosed in the Journal piece, as it should have been. And while it is not dispositive of Rivkin’s points, readers are entitled to consider the connection. (Shall we next hear from Laxalt’s No. 1 supporter, former Gov.Bob List, about what he thinks of Laxalt’s actions? Why not send a letter to the Journal, Gov. List? They seem like easy marks.)
Now, to the substance of the Rivkin/Casey op-ed, which is behind a paywall and is quoted here sparingly in accordance with fair use rules.
• “Mr. Laxalt was right to join the suit. Mr. Sandoval’s legislative path will neither solve America’s vexing immigration problems nor rein in a president who has ignored the Constitution’s limits on executive power,” Rivkin and Casey write. It’s a curious stand, to be sure, and admits of the same error that lies at the heart of the litigation, which is that in the absence of legislative action, some extra-legislative action is required. While Obama chooses executive power, Riven, Casey and their friend Laxalt apparently choose judicial review.
The Constitution is clear, in Article 1, Section 8: Congress shall have the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. And Congress has established such a rule, which the president has taken care to faithfully execute. Let us not forget that President Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any previous president.
No, the question in Texas v. United States of America is undoubtedly a political one: it’s about the manner in which the president is executing the law, rather than a general neglect of his duty.
Although the Senate has passed a bi-partisan immigration reform bill, the House has failed to take up that measure, or any other, on the subject. This is the right of the House, just as it is the right of the executive to determine the most efficient way to go about implementing existing law. (More on that below.)
• Rivkin and Casey continue: “As the Supreme Court stated in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952), ruling against President Harry Truman’s seizure of the nation’s steel industry during the Korean War, ‘the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.’”
But that case does not fit the facts of Obama’s action on immigration, which is less a seizure of an entire industry during a time of war and more of a practical (and smart) way of allocating the judicial resources of the United States.
For example, every person who drives faster than the posted speed limit is in violation of the law, and eligible to receive a ticket. The law provides no exemptions. But instead of ticketing every speeder (an impossible task, given limited resources) does anyone think the police chief is failing to enforce the law if he assigns his officers to concentrate their enforcement efforts in areas where speeding has caused deadly accidents?
Now, extend that idea to immigration. Let’s say two men came to the United States illegally 18 years ago. One is a habitual criminal, having been arrested and convicted of numerous felonies. The other is a family man who’s worked hard and raised a daughter whom he brought illegally into the country, a daughter who’s not about to go to college. Without question, both men have broken immigration laws. But it takes a specific kind of moral idiocy to say they are essentially equivalent cases. The president’s approach would be to start deportations with the criminal, while deferring (not forever, but temporarily) the latter.
This doesn’t make Obama a lawmaker, any more than the police chief in the previous example supplants the authority of the the state Legislature to set speed limits.
• More Rivkin/Casey: “However desirable immigration reform might be, congressional action won’t prevent this president from ignoring provisions in a new law that he dislikes or opposes. Only a determination by the courts that he has overstepped his constitutional authority can do that. Unless the president’s ability to play lawmaker is decisively defeated in litigation, congressional legislation on any contentious public-policy issue would be inherently futile.”
Let’s leave aside the obvious question — if the lawless emperor king Obama is willing to ignore the dictates of the legislative branch, what makes Rivkin and Casey so sure he’ll obey the dictates of the judicial? — in favor of another question: If Congress has the exclusive power to act, then should not Congress be the venue for this fight?
We all recall glumly the non-recess recess appointment case, which Rivkin and Casey fail to mention, although it offers them little help. The facts in that situation were clear: Obama tried to do something clearly illegal, and was repudiated by a unanimous court. But in this instance, it’s not even clear that Obama has done anything illegal (executive orders being fairly common among previous presidents when dealing with this issue), much less committed a legal violation worthy of a court right.
• Finally, one more: “All American states, including Nevada, have critical interests at stake here, both because of the burdens President Obama’s suspension of federal immigration law imposes on their state budgets and governments, but also because of their basic character as coequal sovereigns. The Constitution is a ‘grand bargain’ among the states and the American people. That bargain includes a powerful federal government, but one that has limited powers that may be exercised only in accordance with the institutional arrangements the Constitution creates.”
It’s not clear how a reading of Article VI (“This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in persuance thereof … shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby…”) establishes states as “coequal sovereigns.” But even if the federal government’s powers are limited, one of those powers is clearly reserved to it, the power to legislate on the issue of immigration. This political dispute lies between the Congress and the executive, and if the Congress objects to his actions, they can resolve the situation easily by passing a law in the regular order that prohibits Obama’s executive approach and prescribes a new policy.
In the end, that may very well be what a court tells Texas and its co-plaintiffs, including Nevada. That may be a timely reminder for Nevada’s new attorney general, who ought to be addressing himself to the real duties of his position, not questionable battles against alleged federal overreach.
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Gov. Brian Sandoval says he doesn’t think he legally can override Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s challenge to an order that would spare more people from deportation, but he plans to talk with Laxalt about it in the next few days.
Sandoval made the comment Wednesday in Carson City, after a coalition of liberal groups announced plans to protest at Laxalt’s Las Vegasoffice.
The states are challenging President Barack Obama’s unilateral order to shield millions from deportation and allow them to apply for work permits. Obama promoted the move at a Las Vegas school in November.
Sandoval did not sign off on Nevada joining the lawsuit.
Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced today that Nevada will join a multistate coalition suing President Barack Obama’s contentious deportation deferral program, his first major publicized legal action and one he’s carrying out without the backing of Gov. Brian Sandoval.
“Our immigration system is broken and clearly needs to be fixed,” said Laxalt, who vowed to fight the president’s executive action shortly after it was announced in November. “The solution must be a permanent, legal result that includes, not ignores, the other branches of government and their constitutional roles.”
But Sandoval has distanced himself from his fellow Republican’s decision to join the suit, which now has the support of GOP officials from 26 states. The lead plaintiff is recently elected Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who filed the document in December while serving as that state’s attorney general.
“Gov. Sandoval’s position on President Obama’s executive order has not changed since his announcement in November. He believes our immigration system is broken and it is without question that comprehensive reform is necessary,” spokeswoman Mari St. Martin said in a prepared statement. “He continues to believe that the best course of action is a legislative solution rather than legal action.”
Nevada Democrats issued a statement calling the suit “partisan, irresponsible and mean-spirited” and said it was “nothing more than a slap in the face to Nevada’s immigrant community.”
“If Brian Sandoval and Adam Laxalt had their way, thousands of Nevadans could face deportation and countless families would be at risk of being torn apart,” Nevada State Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange wrote.
“Texas is proud to lead a coalition that now includes a majority of the United States standing up against the president’s rogue actions,” Paxton said.
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus called the suit “one more example of the Republican war on immigrants,” while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said “no other state in the country will benefit more from President Obama’s executive actions than Nevada.”
Almost half of all undocumented immigrants in Clark County qualify for deportation relief through Obama’s deferral programs, according to a study released earlier this month by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. And Nevada has the highest population share of undocumented immigrants in the country, according to the Pew Research Center.
Astrid Silva, an activist with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada who became the face of Obama’s immigration deal after getting a presidential shout-out in November, said Laxalt’s actions are misguided and “shameful.” Silva grew up undocumented in Las Vegas before qualifying for deportation relief through Obama’s 2012 action benefiting people who arrived in the country as children.
The suit has also gotten criticism from law enforcement officials throughout the country — a response filed in court earlier this month by a group of police chiefs and sheriffs argues that stopping Obama’s actions would harm public safety operations.
Metro Police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said the department isn’t voicing an opinion on Laxalt’s plans.
“That’s between the attorney general and the federal government,” Meltzer said. “It’s not our place to get in the middle of it. We just enforce the laws that are on the books.”
Campaign finance disclosure reports that were filed by a Thursday deadline and cover the final two months of the year show donors rushed to sweeten the pot for the new elected officials.
Among the findings:
Attorney General Adam Laxalt received the biggest postelection payout, raising more than $369,000 from just before the election until the end of the year. His hard-won victory over then-Secretary of State Ross Miller cost him almost $1.6 million, but he raised more than $1.8 million to cover those expenses. Donors who gave big sums after his surprise victory included several prominent law firms; the Recording Industry Association of America; cash-advance companies Dollar Loan Center and Advance America; several Station Casinos and MGM Resorts properties; gold mining companies; and gambling companies.
Campaign consultant Robert Uithoven said that many donors told Laxalt during the campaign that they were backing his opponent, but they would support him if he won. The postelection contributions were donors making good on those promises, he said.
Attorney General hopeful Ross Miller raised more than $44,000 from Oct. 31 through Dec. 31, although he spent $259,000 during that timeframe. He sunk $2.6 million into his bid over the past two years — about $58,000 more than he received in contributions. Those who gave after his loss included the Nevada Bankers Association and identity-theft protection company LifeLock.
Gov. Brian Sandoval received about $23,000 in contributions during the most recent filing period, much less than the $160,000 he spent.
Most of his fundraising dollars rolled in during 2013, when he raised more than $3 million; and he spent more than $3.5 million in 2014.
Underdog governor candidate Robert “Bob” Goodman raised no money from shortly before the election until the end of the year. In total, his campaign took in less than $10,000, and he spent about $7,600.
Lieutenant Gov. Mark Hutchison raised just under $2.9 million in the last two years for his successful campaign, and spent almost $2.7 million in 2013 and 2014 to stave off primary challenger Sue Lowden and beat Democrat Lucy Flores. He raised just under $94,000 from after the election to the end of the year. Major donors who pitched in after his win included the owner of Dotty’s casinos, Union Pacific Railroad, Kindred Healthcare and Accident Funding Group, which gives short-term loans to people in a personal-injury lawsuit.
Lieutenant governor hopeful Lucy Flores brought in $11,000 in the final filing period and $828,000 in the past two years. She raised a little more than the $819,000 she spent in 2013 and 2014.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske raised $93,000 from shortly before the election until two months after her victory over former Treasurer Kate Marshall. She raised $499,000 in the last two years, which was more than the $429,000 she spent.
Marshall, who lost her bid for Secretary of State, reported raising about $6,000 from just before the election until the end of the year. She raised $893,000 in the last two years, and spent slightly less — $889,000 — over that period. The two donations she received postelection came from Heavenly Valley Limited Partnership, a natural gas company, and the Washoe Education Association
CARSON CITY — Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt will host a law enforcement summit next month as his first major initiative as Nevada’s new chief legal officer.
The summit is scheduled for Feb. 5 at the attorney general’s office in Carson City with video conferencing to the Las Vegas office.
An agency spokeswoman said a “portion” of the event will be open to the news media.
Laxalt, who was sworn in as Nevada’s newest attorney general on Monday, has invited sheriffs, chiefs, and district attorneys from Nevada’s 17 counties to address important issues in their respective communities.
“Law enforcement leaders across the state have been asked for their participation and input at the summit,” Laxalt said. “Our priority is to identify and discuss crime trends and other issues to find ways to collaborate across counties in order to make the Silver State a safer place for Nevada’s families.”
The summit will focus on how Nevada law enforcement can more quickly and effectively address emerging criminal trends such as illegal drugs, violent crime, domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking.
“The opportunity to collaborate with different representatives of law enforcement and share approaches to fighting crime should greatly benefit our individual counties and the state as a whole,” said newly elected Washoe County District Attorney Christopher Hicks. “I am excited to participate.”
Incoming Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on Wednesday named a solicitor general for his office, choosing a conservative Republican who actively opposed state and federal gun control, abortion and legal same-sex marriage when he held the same job in Montana.
Lawrence VanDyke represented Montana as its chief constitutional and appellate litigator before he ran for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court this year, losing to the incumbent justice in the most expensive judicial race in the state’s history.
Laxalt, who also is a conservative Republican, touted VanDyke’s experience in upholding the Constitution and challenging the federal government when it encroaches on states’ rights.
“Throughout my campaign, I promised Nevada’s citizens and job-providers that I would fight for them to protect our state from the federal overreach from Washington,” Laxalt said in a statement. “When I am sworn in as our next Attorney General, Nevada will have a premier U.S. Supreme Court appellate attorney defending our state against an unprecedented encroachment on our laws and our Constitution. Lawrence will be an effective advocate on our state’s behalf.”
Laxalt added that VanDyke “has significant experience fighting for the individual rights and liberties of the citizens he has served. He will put up a strong and capable defense of Nevada’s laws and our Constitution.”
VanDyke said he shares Laxalt’s views.
“I am honored that Attorney General-Elect Laxalt has placed his confidence in me to represent Nevada’s citizens,” VanDyke said in a statement. “Nevada, like many Western states, has to deal with the strains, difficulties and costs of an ever-increasing, burdensome and expensive federal government. The citizens of Nevada deserve an advocate and I look forward to working with Attorney General-Elect Laxalt to be serve in that important capacity.”
costly court race
In Montana, VanDyke lost the Supreme Court race to Justice Mike Wheat in a nasty, partisan-tinged contest. VanDyke was backed by the Republican State Leadership Committee, a conservative group that also supported Laxalt in his Nevada race against Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat.
Wheat is a former Democratic legislator. Montana’s Supreme Court is nonpartisan.
Conservative groups spent about $640,000 in the high court race, according to the New York Times, including $469,000 from a political action committee funded by the Republican State Leadership Committee. Americans for Prosperity, founded by the wealthy Koch brothers, accounted for $170,000 in spending.
On the other side, a political action committee financed mostly by Montana trial lawyers and unions spent $475,000, the Times reported just two days before the Nov. 4 election.
The candidates raised far less themselves: $132,000 for VanDyke and $143,000 for Wheat, the Times reported. In all, nearly $1.4 million was spent on the race.
VanDyke was solicitor general for Republican Attorney General Tim Fox. In that job, VanDyke “placed a special emphasis on writing amicus briefs supporting gun rights and anti-abortion laws,” the Times wrote.
“In one brief he wrote with Mr. Fox, they argued that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision preserving a woman’s right to an abortion, should be reconsidered in the light of ‘recent, compelling evidence of fetal pain,’ ” the Times reported. “But he quit in May after conflicts with colleagues.”
The Times asked VanDyke about criticism that he was trying to hide his conservative views from voters.
“I am running on the platform that I am going to follow the law regardless of my personal preferences,” he responded.
Laxalt, who is against abortion and same-sex marriage, has given similar answers when asked if he would defend Nevada laws that allow abortion, for example, or gay marriage if the courts ultimately rule the state can’t ban such weddings.
defended same-sex marriage ban
VanDyke supported Montana’s joining in a legal brief this year defending Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, had decided she would not defend the law because of a court ruling in another case suggested it would be found unconstitutional.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals later found bans in Nevada and Montana to be unconstitutional.
VanDyke told the Great Falls Tribune he felt a duty to defend Montana’s same-sex marriage ban.
“Montana has a marriage amendment in its constitution enacted by the people,” VanDyke said. “As solicitor general, my job was to defend Montana’s laws and constitution.”
VanDyke’s work was driven by “policy decisions made by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox,” Laxalt adviser Robert Uithoven said.
“This was true regardless of Lawrence’s personal beliefs on any issue. So it would be a mistake to infer Lawrence’s personal views or priorities from the cases he worked on or the arguments made in those cases.”
Laxalt didn’t know VanDyke before he hired him, according to Uithoven.
“Laxalt picked Lawrence because of his stellar resume, depth of directly on-point experience, and the fact that he came highly recommended by many who have had a chance to observe his work first-hand,” Uithoven said.
Bob Fulkerson, state director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said Laxalt and VanDyke sound like two peas in a pod.
“Sounds like a real winner, from the same mold as his new boss,” Fulkerson tweeted with the hashtag #FearingForMyState.
VanDyke was assistant solicitor general for Texas before becoming solicitor general for Montana.
While in private practice, VanDyke worked for six years in the Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Group of Gibson, Dunn &Crutcher LLP and litigated cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and state supreme courts. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Contact Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.
On a recent Wednesday, Adam Laxalt sat in the foyer of The Venetian to help welcome to Las Vegas some 80 American “wounded warriors” who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The members of the military, including those who had lost limbs in combat, were hosted by Sheldon Adelson, owner of the casino and the Las Vegas Sands Corp., who picked up the tab to show his gratitude.
Laxalt himself is a veteran, helping prosecute terrorists and militants in Iraq in 2006 when the lawyer was a Navy judge advocate general.
“It’s just a gut-wrenching thing to see,” Laxalt said afterward, speaking of the men and women who paid a personal price for their military service.
Now that Laxalt has won election as Nevada’s new attorney general, he’s in a position to help his fellow veterans. One of his priorities is to set up a state office that will provide free legal help to veterans and their families, he said. He would use some current office resources and recruit private attorneys to provide pro-bono work for the private-public partnership, according to the plan.
The illegal “Backdating” of legal/court documents by NAG Masto will come before AG Laxalt soon, and we encourage you to settle that matter and prosecute NAG Catherine Cortez Masto and her corrupt Deputy DA Ann McDermott.
“I’m very optimistic it can be done,” Laxalt said. “Anyone that I speak to, whether active duty or a veteran, after about two minutes they say it’s a great idea. There’s a definite gap in our system.”
Laxalt has recruited former Assemblyman Wes Duncan, R-Las Vegas, to help him with the effort as his top assistant attorney general. Duncan resigned his Assembly seat to join Laxalt, a fellow Iraq veteran. Duncan served in the Air Force.
In his first in-depth interview since winning election Nov. 4, the Republican Laxalt laid out his policy priorities and plans for running Nevada’s top law enforcement office.
He said he wants to continue many of the programs started by current Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat who fought domestic violence and human trafficking.
Cortez Masto has been helpful during the transition, he said, calling her “a role model” in how she has run the office during the past eight years.
Laxalt said he wants to continue her example of protecting Nevadans from harm and criminal scams. He also has made it a priority to process a backlog of some 4,000 rape kits that have been sitting on the shelves in counties across the state.
He said he will work with Nevada’s 17 counties and private entities to clear up the backlog.
And he said he’s organizing the first attorney general summit to invite the state’s 17 sheriffs and 17 district attorneys to Carson City early next year to discuss law enforcement challenges, from drug use to violence.
“This office is uniquely situated to see growing trends and do something to address any problems,” said Laxalt, whose campaign won widespread support from sheriffs and district attorneys, especially in rural Nevada.
His victory over Democrat Ross Miller was one of the biggest upsets of the election. Miller, who had served two terms as secretary of state, was far better known and had raised $1 million before Laxalt even announced he would enter the race.
Miller also is the son of former Gov. Bob Miller, a popular Democrat who served 10 years and who campaigned for his son. Laxalt is the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Paul Laxalt, a GOP icon in the state.
Miller was vulnerable in part because he accepted more than $70,000 in gifts while in public office,including tickets to shows and fights as well as educational forums he said helped him do his job. Laxalt criticized Miller for accepting the gifts, which he said raise conflict and ethics issues.
Laxalt said he plans to promote legislation making it illegal for the attorney general to accept gifts.
“If you’re a lawyer, you have to be above the fray,” Laxalt said. “You don’t want to give anyone the impression that you can be influenced.”
Laxalt said he’s not sure if he’ll introduce the bill himself or whether he will get a lawmaker to do it for him. His predecessor, Cortez Masto, already has proposed 20 bill drafts, the maximum allowed by the office. So he might amend one of those bills or seek separate legislation, he said.
TO FIGHT FOR STATES’ RIGHTS
Laxalt has big ambitions for the attorney general’s office. He said Nevada needs to make it clear to the federal government that the state is prepared to file a lawsuit if its rights are trampled upon.
For example, the federal government is considering listing the sage grouse as an endangered species. The designation decision could come before the end of the year, but the deadline is September. Such a designation would protect tens of thousands of acres of land that is used by the mining, cattle and other industries, which argue economic development would be devastated by the listing.
Laxalt already has threatened to sue, either joining other states in litigation or filing a separate lawsuit. He said that’s the only way Nevada can ensure it has a voice in the process involving federal decisions.
“It’s important for me to make sure the attorney general’s office is adequately defending the state from any federal legislation that’s hurting our jobs and hurting our economy and that’s taking away our liberty,” Laxalt said. “That’s a priority of mine — to reset the bargaining table just to make clear that we as a state have full input in future federal actions.”
Attorneys general across the country are becoming more active on a range of issues. Last month, Laxalt was among the incoming attorneys general and those already in office who signed a letter objecting to President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The order allows up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States without fear of deportation for at least several years. The president said he acted because Congress didn’t approve comprehensive reform.
Laxalt said signing the letter is as far as he’s prepared to go at this point, although more than a dozen states are suing the government over Obama’s immigration executive order.
Laxalt said it’s important to pick the right battles and focus on only a few of the most important things in order to succeed.
“It’s such a great office to get a lot of things accomplished,” Laxalt said. “My problem is to make sure we don’t do too much.”
GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval is Laxalt’s top client. The governor endorsed Laxalt’s campaign, and the incoming attorney general said, “I’m looking forward to having a strong relationship with the governor.”
Laxalt will be sworn in on Jan. 5 with Nevada’s other constitutional officers.
At age 36, Laxalt is among the thousands of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and now are prepared to lead at home, he said.
“They can lead. We’re new blood,” Laxalt said. “Whether Democratic or Republican, we just need a new generation that’s ready to step in.”
SEARCHING FOR LEGAL REMEDY
Nevadans have often been frustrated over the years by the federal government’s ownership of vast tracts of land, at least 85 percent of the state. The congressional delegation has been working on land deals that would allow swaps to protect some lands while developing others.
Laxalt said he doesn’t know at this point whether there’s any legal remedy to pursue on public lands, especially because federal ownership was established in Nevada’s Constitution.
When it comes to how land is used, however, that’s another matter. He said he is opposed to the federal government building a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain over the objections of most Nevadans and officials. He said he would back any state lawsuit to block its development.
“I’m opposed to Yucca, and I plan on continuing the defense of the state,” Laxalt said, adding there’s “no daylight” between his position and other Nevada officials who have long fought the repository.
Like many Republicans, Laxalt also was opposed to Obamacare, the president’s health insurance law, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nevada initially joined in a lawsuit challenging the legislation, but Attorney General Cortez Masto refused to take on the case. So Sandoval got a private lawyer to handle the lawsuit — Mark Hutchison, a state senator who just won election as Nevada’s lieutenant governor.
Laxalt has suggested he would have followed orders and taken on the Obamacare lawsuit because it’s the attorney general’s job.
On another hot-button issue, gay marriage, Laxalt is personally opposed to same-sex marriage just as Sandoval is, believing marriage is between a man and a woman.
But both men have recognized society and court decisions are changing on the matter.
In October, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared Nevada’s law banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional after Sandoval and Cortez Masto refused to defend it, agreeing it was flawed in light of recent court cases. The case is probably headed to the U.S.Supreme Court.
Laxalt said that whatever the outcome is, he will defend Nevada law — even if gay marriage is ultimately ruled legal and an equal right.
“For me, it’s all about the rule of law,” Laxalt said. “I want to make that a hallmark of our term and make sure we stand for a nonpartisan way of doing things and for the rule of law, whether I agree with the outcome or not. For me, it’s (the job) to defend the law.”
Contact Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.
LAS VEGAS — Nevada Attorney General-elect Adam Laxalt has joined a protest sponsored by the Republican Attorneys General Association against President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.
Laxalt is among 20 attorneys general and attorneys general-elects who signed a joint statement objecting to Obama’s decision to prevent the deportation of an estimated 5 million people.
The letter doesn’t any outline any course of legal action, but it dovetails with GOP pledges to challenge the president’s action in court.
Laxalt adviser Robert Uithoven told the Las Vegas Sun (http://bit.ly/15HXtle ) that Laxalt plans to take no immediate legal action against Obama’s order once he takes office in January.
Laxalt sent an email to supporters saying he wants the nation’s immigration policies to be determined by Congress and not through a presidential executive order.
Reno, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV)– The ads are vicious. One from Republican Adam Laxalt said, “A watchdog even found Nevada was vulnerable to corruption under Miller.” Another ad from Democrat Ross Miller said, “Adam Laxalt’s own firm called him a ‘train wreck’ saying he lacks basic legal skills.”
If you listen to the ads, Laxalt is accused of being professionally unfit while Miller is being blasted for accepting tens of thousands in gifts. Political experts note this campaign started off negative from the very beginning. Truckee Meadows Community College Dean and political science professor Fred Lokken said, “It started on the Republican side in this race, not directly from the Laxalt campaign, but clearly from dollars most likely outside the state of Nevada.”
Miller is quick to point out the attacks started even before Laxalt was a declared candidate. He said, “They started attacking me 16 months ago, these out of state groups, you know. I don’t think I anticipated this long of an attack campaign lasting sixteen months.”
But Miller admits his side too has gone negative.It’s a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Laxalt. Laxalt said, “To be honest, before I got in this race, I was warned that the Miller machine would stop at nothing to win this race.”
Lokken notes the position of Attorney General is powerful one that is politically strategic for either party looking to groom a candidate for higher office. Lokken said, “It is probably seen as the most high of the constitutional offices, which really makes it the prize.It is staging for a stronger career and it gives an appearance of an heir apparancy, that sort of thing.” Miller agrees with that assessment adding, “I can’t speculate why those out-of-state groups have come in to try and attack me but its been made clear by even Dick Cheney who said several months ago, this is the most important state race in the country.”
Both Miller and Laxalt come from politically powerful families in Nevada. Miller is the son of former Governor Bob Miller. Laxalt is the grandson of former Senator Paul Laxalt. Miller said, “I come from a political family and so the negative stuff is part of the territory. I know how it works.” Laxalt, on the other hand, characterizes himself as a political newcomer. Lokken believes it is these family connections, providing voters with familiar names, that have allowed both candidates to receive contributions outside of the state. He said this race took on a very different tone once two known names entered the fray adding, “The cake walk was literally supposed to be for Ross Miller. The dramatic change was the introduction of someone who had name power that literally had that identification voters will remember.”
Lokken notes while you may not like negative campaigns, they’re not going away. He said, “They do it because it works and they will continue to do it until it doesn’t work. The voters have all the power in this. Unless they punish candidates that choose to engage in negative campaigning, the politicians will continue to do it.”
Tonja Brown wanted to remind Ross Miller about her ongoing issues. Adam Laxalt is not immune from the protest and both these potential AG candidates must deal with the years old issue.
See More here: Tonja Brown Stories
Then just today we see this:
Doing what’s best for Nevada
Thu, Oct 16, 2014 (2:02 a.m.)
The past year has been a trying time for our family — the Laxalt family. Sadly, we have been forced to face the loss of several cherished family members. This challenge has made many of us stop and pause about what truly does matter in life.
During our journey, we have found a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that best captures the essence of a core value that has guided us throughout our lives — the value of speaking up for what is right. He wrote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
In the spirit of King’s words, then, we can no longer be silent as we seek to maintain the integrity of our home state of Nevada.
Therefore, we collectively speak up to support Ross Miller as the most qualified candidate to be our state’s attorney general.
It is our belief that Ross Miller’s documented history of pulling himself up by his own bootstraps and establishing a well-respected career in law and public service while still maintaining a strong sense of family and community constitute the critical characteristics needed for Nevada’s highest legal office.
We ask that our fellow Nevadans follow our lead by speaking up with their own votes during this election season.
Know that our message does not originate from a Republican, Democratic or even family affiliation. It has to do with the most basic question all voters must ask themselves when they step into the voting booth, “Who really is the best qualified candidate for attorney general for the state of Nevada?”
Will Mr. Adam Laxalt who is running for Nevada Attorney General look the other way with regard to that Attorney General’s Office having a practice and a policy of withholding evidence from Plaintiff’s in cases?
Brown claims that they did not place on the record her documents until after she had filed suit in July 2013 and to this day not all of the documents have seen the light of day, nor have they done as she had requested of them during the December 5, 2011 and May 17, 2012 Board of Prison Commissioners meeting.
She claims they have breached the terms ofthe Settlement Agreement she made with them. A trial date has been set forApril 6 & 8, 2015 in the First Judicial District Court, Department 2 Judge James Wilson.
Nolan Klein passed away 5 years ago on September 20, 2009 from lack of medical care by the Nevada Department of Corrections.Just prior to Mr. Klein’s death the evidence was found hiding in the Washoe County District Attorney files that would have exonerated him from the 1988 Payless Shoe Store crime.
In October 2011 Ms. Brown hired a private investigator to locate the prime suspect, Mr. Zarsky. The Sparks Police theory was they believed Mr. Zarsky had committed the crime Nolan Klein was convicted of. In November Ms. Brown drove to another state and had the opportunity to listen to what Mr. Zarsky had to say.
Mr. Zarsky admitted he had knowledge of the Payless Shoe Store crime and the 3 other crimes the SPD believed he had committed. The victims from the 3 other crimes had cleared Mr. Klein and all was hidden by the Washoe County District Attorney’s office.
In Mr. Klein’s file were over 200 documents hidden from the defense mostly exculpatory evidence. During the January 17 – 23 1989 trial Mr. Rachow presented only 20 exhibits, mostly, photographs of the Payless Shoe Store crime scene.In 2010 Ms. Brown filed suit against the NDOC in the wrongful death of Nolan Klein. During the discovery process Ms. Brown discovered that the Attorney General’s office had withheld evidence in one of Nolan’s federal civil cases against the NDOC. Ms. Brown claims that ultimately this new development with regard to this evidence had a profound adverse effect on Mr. Klein’s 2007 Parole Board hearing and 2008 Compassionate Release Pardon.
As a part of the Settlement Agreement Ms. Brown made with the State she could exonerate their names. When she went to do this at the December 5, 2011 and May 17, 2012 Board of Prison Commissioners they claimed the documents were deemed confidential and would not be placed on the record. Ms. Brown demanded that they call for an investigation into the Attorney General’s Office for withholding evidence, file a complaint with the State Bar of Nevada against Mr. Geddes for withholding evidence in Mr. Klein’s federal case, and write a letter of apology to her. They have refused to do so.Brown then filed suit Tonja Brown v NDOC, Governor Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Katherine Cortez Masto, Secretary of State Ross Miller, DAG William Geddes, DAG Kara Krause in Carson City, NV for Breach of Settlement Agreement. Trial is set for next April 2015.
Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller and rival state attorney general hopeful Adam Laxalt traded accusations, talked up their prosecutorial experience and defended their records.
With the news about the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declaring gay marriage legal in Nevada on Tuesday, voters might want to take a look at the stances on same sex-marriage by the candidates running for Nevada attorney general.
The differences on the subject are stark when comparing the views of Democrat Ross Miller and Republican Adam Laxalt.
Miller is a same-sex marriage proponent while Laxalt is not.
When asked for his opinion on Tuesday’s ruling Miller said in an email: “”I support marriage equality, and support the Governor’s decision not to appeal.”
Miller was referencing Gov. Brian Sandoval decision in February not to defend Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage since recent rulings on same-sex marriage made Nevada’s ban “no longer defensible in court,” according to a statement from Sandoval’s office at the time.
In June, Miller told the Las Vegas Sun he thought Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Miller also said he would vote to legalize gay marriage if it were on the ballot.
“It’s clear looking at case law that Nevada’s ban is unconstitutional,” he told the Sun.
Laxalt has taken an opposite view. He has stated on various occasions that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
He also said in February that he disagreed with Sandoval and Masto and would have continued to defend Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage, even if others thought it was no longer defensible in court because of recent judicial rulings.
He said Wednesday that he is still reviewing the current ruling on the issue. He said he would protect people’s rights to same-sex marriage if it were law.
“The ruling by the Ninth Circuit’s panel of judges was handed down just yesterday, and I am currently reviewing their opinion,” Laxalt said in an email. “As I have stated throughout my campaign for attorney general, I will enforce the laws and the Constitution of Nevada, regardless of my politics and personal beliefs.”
Laxalt, a former U.S. Navy JAG officer, wrote an essay on the U.S. military’s former “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding gays in the military in 2010 for The American Spectator. he was concerned about “straight” military members living with gay military members.
“It is one thing for the military to ask its members to accept homosexuals, but another for the military to ask its members to accept and live with homosexuality, the homosexual lifestyle,” Laxalt wrote.
Laxalt also questioned how gay and lesbian officers would be promoted into leadership roles in the Navy.
“Will the political pressure on flag officer leadership force a homosexual into command, regardless of ability?” Laxalt wrote in 2010. “If so, will his sailors respect and follow? The consequences are realistic and dire. Currently a homosexual can gain such a command by merit alone, but for the cultural crusaders who fundamentally believe gays must be open no matter what the cost, competence is not a compelling military interest.”
Nevada voted approved its same-sex marriage ban by overwhelmingly approving it during elections in 2000 and 2002. Laxalt views mirror those of many conservatives in Nevada, including activist Janine Hansen.
“In 2000 and 2002, Nevadans voted overwhelmingly by (almost) 70 percent to put marriage between a man and a woman in the constitution,” Hansen said Tuesday. “Now by judicial activism, the will of the people is overturned by unelected and unaccountable federal judges. We are no longer a Republic having lost our rights as ‘we the people’ to the dictatorial judiciary.”
To hear Robert Uithoven tell it, the Adam Laxalt’s campaign for attorney general is gaining on the favored Democrat, Ross Miller. Now, the two are almost running neck-and-neck, Uithoven said.
“This race at the beginning of the summer was a 15-point race,” Uithoven, Laxalt’s lead consultant, said. “Then it became a 13 point race then it became for us, 11 points. Ross put something up the other day saying it (margin) is eight. The R-J had it at five and we have it closer than that.
“We’re within the margin of error and we still have month to go,” Uithoven said, noting Election Day is Nov. 4.
Laxalt’s campaign did not publicly release the polling, which makes Miller suspect.
Uithoven’s assertion came just days after the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s own polling showed Miller was ahead by five points. In mid-September, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll showed Miller up by eight points.
“Here are the facts,” said Miller, Nevada current secretary of state. “Have they released a poll? They still haven’t released any poll. I’ve seen two polls out there. One that showed I was up eight and another that showed I was up by five. That was after they spent $1.4 million going after me on this stupid issue about gifts. So if this was going to resonate, they should have already released a poll showing that they are ahead.”
So what about the “stupid issue about gifts”?
It’s another factor that Laxalt has been using against Miller. He has noted Miller’s own financial disclosure forms show Miller has taken about $70,000 in contributions defined as gifts during his eight-year tenure as secretary of state. It was an issue in the candidates’ first debate — in front of the Nevada Press Association last month.
Miller said the charge is bogus. But clearly, it has struck a nerve.
“I encourage the public to look at the substance of what has been reported,” he said during the debate. “I have gone above and beyond to disclose absolutely everything of value, including things that probably didn’t need to be disclosed, because we don’t have clear guidance in the statues about what needs to be disclosed.”
Uithoven said the issue about gifts is a key reason why Laxalt, a former U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General officer, is catching Miller in polling — that voters are appalled by the gifts.
“Its access to the PGA tournament out there at Montreux,” Uithoven said. “It is access to UFC fights, its taking trips. And it is excessive. It is beyond excessive. It is almost like he is trying to set the Nevada record for most gifts accepted.”
“The overall majority of items I reported as gifts really constitute educational opportunities,” Miller said. “One of the things they (Laxalt and Uithoven) made a big deal about was a trip up to Aspen (Colo.). That was in reality, sponsored by the Aspen Institute; where you study principles of democracy in an effort reduce partisanship. It was an educational opportunity. I became a better leader because of it.”
Uithoven noted Miller did not break any laws accepting gifts.
“He fiercely defends his record of taking $70,000 in gifts because the Legislature has yet to ban it, outright,” Uithoven said. “Let’s hope someday they do that.”
A tough campaign
The gift issue is only one of the controversies that has developed around the attorney general’s race.
And in an otherwise quiet election year, the race for attorney general has become the most controversial of the year.
The lieutenant governor’s race between Democrat Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and Republican state Sen. Mark Hutchison has received much attention, but the attorney general’s race has been more antagonistic, experts said.
It is Nevada’s royal blood feud. Miller is the son of Nevada’s longest-serving governor, Gov. Bob Miller. Laxalt is the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt.
“This is clearly the nastiest race out there,” said Eric Herzik, political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. “And I think it’s been more from Miller’s side than Laxalt’s side.
“Miller has been very defensive,” Herzik said about his campaign tactics. “I think Miller’s people just assumed he would cruise. Even when Laxalt jumped in, I think the Miller people still assumed he would just cruise.”
Miller wants to see documentation of Laxalt’s polling that shows him being within the margin of error, Herzik noted. But that request cuts both ways.
“Why isn’t Miller showing his polls?” Herzik said. “If you are up by eight points…”
Last week, former USS Cole Cmmdr. Kirk Lippold filed an ethics complaint against Miller.
Lippold, a Carson City resident, alleged Miller had an unfair advantage over Laxalt because Miller’s photo, name and title was shown on the Web portal used by the overseas military who wish to vote in Nevada elections.
Like Lippold, Laxalt is a former Navy officer. Lippold unsuccessfully ran as a Republican in the 2012 special election for Nevada’s 2nd District U.S. House seat, losing to current U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City.
“It is clearly politically motivated,” Miller said.
Miller’s office quickly removed the photo and personal references after Lippold’s complaint.
“I just can’t believe that this gets any coverage,” Miller said. “It’s just one of those silly transparent complaints that you see every election cycle, 30 days out (from the general election).
“The simple fact is I have a banner with my name and picture on every page of the website to let people know it is the official site of the secretary of state,” Miller said. “We don’t have time to get dragged into these political stunts. We got a complaint; we took the picture down, hoping to just put the issue to bed. And it is unfortunate they just keep trying to spin this to make a partisan issue out of what really is a ground-breaking innovation to make it easier for our troops fighting overseas easier to vote.”
Lippold praised Miller’s efforts to improve the military’s access to voting as secretary of state, but felt the photo and personal references on the page were too much. Even though Miller has changed the portal’s look, Lippold still wants the Nevada Commission on Ethics to review the matter.
“The system that Ross Miller has put in place, it could be a national example,” Lippold said. “But you want to make sure that if anything, it should be setting the highest standards for every other state to emulate as they go forward in having a secured Internet method of allowing out military folks employed overseas to vote.
“(Yet) I felt that having his picture flashed up there when he is running for office was inappropriate. And that is what I called him on,” Lippold said. “Had he not been running for office, I probably would not have jumped in as stridently.”
The ‘trainwreck’ issue
Laxalt, a first-time candidate who moved to Las Vegas three years ago after he got out of the Navy, seemed like a political corpse not long ago.
Leaked performance-review notes from the Las Vegas law firm that employs Laxalt referred to him as “a trainwreck” who “doesn’t even have the basic skill set” to be a good lawyer.”
The review notes included a recommendation of “a freeze in salary, deferral and possible termination” for Laxalt at the Lewis and Roca law firm.
“It was a bad month,” Uithoven said about the struggle to overcome the “trainwreck” documents, first released to the public by journalist Jon Ralston but picked up by media in both Reno and Las Vegas.
Now, Laxalt’s campaign is accusing Miller of wrapping his campaign around “leaked documents that were stolen” from Laxalt’s law firm.
“You have leaked documents that were stolen and used for fire by the guy running to be the state’s top lawyer,” Uithoven said. “A law was broken and the guy running for the state’s top lawyer seems to benefit from that.”
Miller said Uithoven is mixing facts. His campaign had nothing to do with neither leaking nor publishing the “trainwreck” documents.
“I didn’t leak those documents,” Miller said. “I don’t know who did. And I don’t know if any laws were broken to release those documents.
“But Mr. Laxalt’s response was alarming and pathetic,” Miller said. “He first questioned the authenticity of the documents, remember that? Then he later had to acknowledge they were authentic.
“He (Laxalt) said he had never seen those documents,” Miller said. “But if you look at them, (the attorney) who prepared them acknowledged that they had reviewed his (Laxalt’s) performance reviews with him. So it looks like he (Laxalt) is not telling the truth there. And now he is trying to shift the story, pointing the finger at us when we didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Miller said he’s learned a big lesson about Laxalt from the leaked documents.
“It has never come out in public, nor have they (Laxalt campaign staff) tried to explain how someone who got performance reviews that bad can make a credible case to become the state’s top attorney,” Miller said.
Herzik believes Miller will beat Laxalt — but Laxalt is a competitive opponent.
“I believe Miller is winning and is going to win,” Herzik said. “But this is not a race where he can say, ‘Hey, I can take out my starters and not play the second half.'”
…But Lucy Flores is way way hotter than this ugly dude.
If the November election were today, Republican state Sen. Mark Hutchison would handily defeat Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores 47 percent to 35 percent of the vote in the lieutenant governor’s race, which could also affect GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval’s future, a new poll shows.
In the attorney general’s race, Democrat Ross Miller would pull off a narrow victory, 44-39, over Republican Adam Laxalt, according to the poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
But the wide-open race for secretary of state between Republican Barbara Cegavske, a state senator, and Democrat Kate Marshall, the state treasurer, is a statistical tie, 43-42 for Cegavske.
Finally, a proposed business margins tax to fund education, Question 3 on the ballot, appears headed for defeat with more likely Nevada voters against it than for it, 40-37, while more than one-fifth of voters, or 23 percent, remain uncertain how they’ll vote in the final weeks before the Nov. 4 general election.
On Question 3, the results are well within the margin of error — plus or minus 4.2 percentage points — said the pollster, SurveyUSA. Republicans oppose Q3 by 30 points, while Democrats support it by 34 points, showing a strong partisan divide. Independents could decide the matter, siding with the GOP in opposing the margins tax by 30 percentage points, the survey said.
Lower-income voters support Q3 and upper-income voters oppose it. Women are split, while men oppose the proposed tax, which would apply to businesses making $1 million or more in annual revenue even if they are not profitable. The proceeds are supposed to go toward education, but there’s no guarantee — the Legislature could move the money around.
“If ‘Yes’ wins, it will be because traditional Democratic constituencies are under-counted in this survey,” the pollster said. “Opposition to ballot measures — having nothing to do with Nevada and nothing in particular to do with Question 3 — typically increases as Election Day approaches. Q3 supporters have their work cut out.”
The survey of 569 likely Nevada voters was conducted by SurveyUSA over both land lines and cell phones fromSept. 29 through Oct. 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, Hutchison smashes Flores 47-35, but Mark Little of the Independent American Party is a potential spoiler, picking up 6 percent of the vote. Another 3 percent of survey respondents said they would vote for “None of these candidates,” a statewide option in Nevada.
Hutchison leads by 19 percentage points among men, said the pollster, and has twice as many Democrats who say they would cross-over and vote Republican as do Republicans who plan to vote Democratic.
“Moderates break for the Republican, a bad sign for any Democrat,” the pollster said.
The race has taken on an outsize importance this year. Sandoval has no real Democratic opposition and is expected to skate to re-election. There is speculation that Sandoval, a former federal judge, might not finish his four-year term and return to the bench, run for vice president or join the Cabinet of a Republican president. He also could make a U.S. Senate bid against Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2016.
If any of those jobs lure Sandoval out of the Governor’s Mansion, the lieutenant governor elected next month would automatically replace him.
The attorney general’s race is proving to be far more competitive than anticipated by Secretary of State Miller, who has won two, four-year terms in his current statewide office job and has high name recognition thanks to his father, former Gov. Bob Miller, as well.
Laxalt’s grandfather is former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, but the younger Laxalt moved to Nevada for his law practice just a few ago and this is his first run at public office.
A month out, Miller has a “razor-thin 5 point advantage over” Laxalt because the 44-39 result is just outside the margin of error, the pollster said.
Again, the Independent American Party candidate, Jonathan J. Hansen, takes 7 percent, and “seriously confounds any calculus of the contest,” making it harder to call, the pollster said.
“If Miller wins, it will be thanks to moderate voters: he leads among self-described moderates by 17 points,” according to the pollster. “If Laxalt overtakes, it may be because of a Republican ‘wave’ that some foresee coast-to-coast in 2014.”
Millions of dollars in outside ad spending in the race by GOP and Democratic attorneys general organizations and others may help determine the outcome.
The open secretary of state’s race is a true one-on-one contest with neither candidate dominating any one voter group, thus the current 43-42 statistical dead heat.
“The candidates truly are battling for each last vote: neither candidate reaches 50 percent among males, females, the young, the old, whites, blacks, Hispanics, independents or moderates,” the pollster said. “Either candidate could win, and a close finish would not be an upset regardless of the top vote-getter.”
Some five percent of voters said they will choose “None of these candidates” in that race. Another 10 percent were undecided.
Flores, a Democratic Assemblywoman from Las Vegas, told the League of Women Voters candidate forum Tuesday she understands “the challenges everyday Nevadans face.”
“I have experience with those challenges firsthand,” she said saying her mother left when she was nine and, when she failed every exam on purpose, “no one noticed.”
“I ended up on juvenile parole by 15. By 17, I was a drop out,” she said.
She said she’s now a practicing attorney because, “eventually, I did get some one who made a difference in my life and surprisingly, it was my parole officer.”
She said all children deserve the same access to a high-quality education and “what was done for me should be done for others.”
Hutchison a Republican state senator from Las Vegas, said he’s a third generation Nevadan whose grandfather came to Nevada during the depression. He said his dad worked for Ahern 45 years and he started working at the business when he was 12. He went to law school and built a law practice while raising six children.
“At the end of the day, I have lived the American dream,” he said. “I want to help as many Nevadans as possible live the American dream.”
Both emphasized the importance of education.
“Education is to state government what national defense is to the federal government,” Hutchison said. “It’s the one thing you’d better get right.”
He said in the 2013 session, lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval pumped $50 million into English Language Learner programs.
But Flores quickly pointed out that wasn’t new money.
“What is being referred to as an addition is actually a replacement,” she said. “We’ve cut education a billion dollars but replaced only a quarter of that. I will continue to fight for a real increase in funding.”
Asked whether they support the ballot question removing constitutional protections limiting taxes on the mining industry, Flores said yes, it should be replaced with “a broad-cased, reasonable tax structure so we spread that liability amongst all industries in Nevada.”
Hutchison cautioned the state “not do something that constrains (mining’s) ability to employ Nevadans.” But he did say he voted for putting the question on the ballot.
Both said if the teacher’s tax plan — the margins tax — passes, the state should make sure the money raised goes to education and isn’t diverted elsewhere in the state budget.
Asked about the increased college fees the questioner said are pricing college out of reach for the average student, Hutchison said more competition would help bring prices down. He pointed tovocational schools such as ITT Tech as alternatives for Nevada’s colleges and other ways such as Internet classes.
“We need really to allow people to get into good paying jobs that may or may not be going to college,” he said.
Flores said Nevada hasn’t done a good job of aligning workforce needs withworkforce development. She said despite a longtime shortage of healthcare workers, “only recently did we start expanding our nursing programs.”
Where she said she supports background checks to purchase guns, Hutchison said he saw the bill vetoed by Sandoval as creating a federal gun registry.
Hutchison, Flores disagree over Tesla in Reno debate
During a debate taped Monday for the Nevada Newsmakers television show, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Mark Hutchison and Democratic opponent Lucy Flores disagreed on issues that are beyond the reach of the office they seek.
The debate is to be shown at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on KRNV News 4 but eventually will be televised statewide by day’s end.
Hutchison, a state senator from Las Vegas, and Flores, an assemblywoman from Las Vegas, had their sharpest disagreements on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the public transparency of the Tesla Motors mega-deal with Nevada and the funding of Northern Nevada infrastructure improvements to deal with the boon expected from the Tesla battery gigafactory.
None of those issues can be directly affected by the role of lieutenant governor. Anything is open in this race because of the speculation that current Gov. Brian Sandoval could run for the U.S. Senate in 2016 against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
If Sandoval would defeat Reid, the winner of this lieutenant governor’s race would automatically become Nevada’s next governor. Therefore, many issues have become part of the campaign.
Hutchison was Nevada’s lead counsel in its lawsuit to overturn the federalAffordable Health Care Act in 2012. He lamented its impact on Nevada, despite voting three times as a state senator to implement its provisions in Nevada.
“In terms of providing health care, I supported the governor’s budget that expandedMedicaid,” Hutchison said. “It gives opportunities for those who need it the most to have access to health care,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison added: “Obamacare has not been right for Nevada. We’ve seen prices go up for the government, for patients who are insured. We have seen people kicked off their heath care (plans). And Obamacare, I just don’t think is right for Nevada.”
Flores said she “vehemently” disagreed.
“The fact is we have affordable health care now for so many Nevadans,” Flores said. “You cannot get kicked off your insurance. You can insure your children when they are in college.
“Quite frankly, my father was able to get expanded insurance and save hundreds and hundreds of dollars because he had an urgent medical need,” said Flores, who like Hutchison is a lawyer. “I am very happy that my opponent failed in his attempt to take those benefits away from the people of Nevada (in the Obamacare lawsuit).”
The disagreement over funding of school construction in Washoe County flared up when the candidates were asked about their plans to deal with the infrastructure overload on school, roads and public safety with the Tesla battery gigafactory.
It is set to be built 17 miles east of the Reno-Sparks area at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. Many of its 6,000 to 6,500 expected workers will live in Washoe County.
Flores said Hutchison did not support AB46 during the 2013 Legislature – the bill that would have added funding for the Washoe school district’s capital spending to fix its aging inventory of schools. Instead, Assembly Republicans helped steer the issue to the Washoe County Commission, which eventually killed it.
“Unfortunately, my opponent passed on supporting a bill that would have allowed the Washoe school district to improve on their buildings and repair the very old structures of our schools here in Washoe County,” Flores said. “It was incredibly needed, and they (Republicans) punted it to the Washoe County Commission and you can see that it did not occur.”
Flores noted that Tesla will help school funding. The electric car company will give $7.5 million an year to Nevada’s K-12 education over five years, according to its deal with the state.
“Tesla is going to give a certain amount of funds to the schools,” she said. “However, that is not for several years. So we have to deal with (school funding) issues as they come up.”
Hutchison defended moving the Washoe school-renovation funding issue to the county commission. Local issues are best handled by local leaders, he said.
“I am a person who believes that local government ought to solve local issues and I think many of my fellow legislators feel the same way,” Hutchison said.
“If there are issues in Clark County regarding school matters, particularly in school construction and school infrastructure, I think that is best handled by local authorities,” he said. “I see the same thing for Washoe County. Those government entities that are closest to the parents, closest to the issues make the best decisions.”
Flores and Hutchison also clashed over the transparency of the Tesla deal, which includes tax abatements that could reach about $1.3 billion.
Flores noted she was asked by the RGJ Media editorial board what she would have done differently if she were in on the Tesla negotiations from the beginning.
“That package, when it arrived to us at the Legislature, was essentially a done deal,” she said. “We were attempting to do as much as we could to provide transparency, to provide accountability.”
Flores said she would have fought for paying prevailing wages during the construction of the Tesla site.
“Certainly if we could have gotten prevailing wage, that is absolutely something that I would have fought for at the beginning, at the front end certainly not at the back end,” she said.
Flores twice said during the debate she “won’t be a rubber stamp.”
“Just because the governor – or anybody else for that matter – comes in and says ‘This is a great idea, do it,’ we’re not just going to say ‘Yes, fantastic.’ There needs to be a process of accountability,” she said.
Hutchison defended the way Sandoval handled the deal with Tesla.
“We had Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona all competing (for Tesla),” Hutchison said. “And as a necessity, I can tell you as a business lawyer, a lot of times those business transactions and business discussions are confidential. And if you don’t agree with those terms, they are not going to negotiate with you.
“We got Tesla,” Hutchison said. “And that was the buzz all across the country.”
Many of the infrastructure needs will be solved by “good jobs” and the local taxes that come with them, Hutchison said.
“A good job will solve many of the challenges, in terms of the impact we have on our schools, on our social services and law enforcement,” Hutchison said. “So, good jobs solve a lot of those challenges.”
The only candidate for Nevada Attorney General to show up for the league forum in Carson City was Republican Adam Laxalt. Democrat Ross Miller wasn’t there and didn’t send a representative or statement.
Laxalt said his training and experience as a Naval officer help qualify him for the job of Nevada’s top legal officer. He said that includes service in the Middle East where he worked in detainee operations, the unit setup to handle terrorists in Iraq.
He said one of the things he would do as AG is create a military legal service to support former troops.
He said he would continue Catherine Cortez Masto’s efforts to aggressively attack the growing problem of human trafficking.
“We need to keep on the offensive,” he said.
He said he also would work to fight against invasive federal regulations and support continued efforts to prevent Yucca Mountain from ever opening as a nuclear waste dump.
Congress District 2 candidates spar at Carson City Community Center
Democrat Kristin Spees of Incline Village charged Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., hasn’t done enough in the three years he has been in that office.
“Look at his voting record. Roads and bridges are falling apart. What has he done? What has he done to support our veterans,” she asked.
Amodei said he has moved heavy lands bills as a member of the Public Lands Committee and brought legislation on a number of Nevada issues as a member of Appropriations and the Public Lands committees.
That includes a half dozen lands bills for Nevada including the Yerington Lands Bill and the potential listing of the sage hen as endangered; he said he has been working on those issues for three years.
Amodei said he and his staff “have tried to establish ourselves as people who are work horses, not show horses.”
As for the sage hen, he said, as a member of Appropriations, he managed to insert language delaying potential listing of the bird for another year.
“It’s not the bird that’s in danger; it’s the habitat,” he said. “What happened to the habitat? It burned up. It’s not because of more cows, more sheep, people on dirt bikes.”
Spees said she doesn’t want the land listed “because we lose access to our public lands.”
Independent American Party candidate Janine Hansen agreed the problem is wildfires, not human-caused loss of habitat. She said those fires are the BLM’s fault.
The three aired their views at the a League Of Women Voter’s forum Tuesday night at the Carson City Community Center.
Spees said she has crisscrossed the northern half of the state that makes up District 2 and knows the issues and the needs of its residents. She charged Amodei missed more than twice the number of votes the average congressman did this past year.
Many of those missed votes, however, were held while he was recovering from surgery to repair a detached retina, which he said requires the patient be pretty much immobilized.
On the Affordable Health Care Act, Spees said everyone needs healthcare and, if the law is flawed, “let’s find those problems and solve it. Let’s fix the ACA and not try repeal it.”
“The political reality is for the next 24 months, Affordable Care is not going to be repealed,” said Amodei.
He said Congress needs to do the things it should have done before it was voted into law at 2 a.m. without members having time to read it.
Hansen said the act has raised the cost of medicine for people working in Elko area mines and reduced their benefits.
“What you have with this is socialized medicine,” she said.
All agreed the immigration system needs repairs and now.
Amodei said he’s for reform but a decent bill by a bipartisan group hasn’t made it to a vote.
Hansen said people are “pouring over the border and we need to respond to this crisis and protect America first.”
Spees said it’s necessary “we reform immigration right now.”
She said the number one concern of seniors is social security but the question is how to protect it.
“We can’t privatize Social Security. That’s your retirement,” she said. “What if Goldman-Sachs got a hold of it.”
Amodei said people “need to demand courage from your people (elected officials).”
“If you disagree with what they do, every two years you can fire them,” he said referring to the election cycle for House members.
Hansen said the reason Social Security is in financial trouble is Congress has taken money from the fund repeatedly for other needs.
She said the focus of her campaign is the need to cut taxes and “unconstitutional spending,” promote free enterprise and job creation.
Spees said she is “owned by no one and therefore can vote for the constituents’ best interests.”
Amodei said elections are a personnel session: “We try to make the basis of whether we get elected or not the job you’re doing — if you want a worker, that’s us.”
Laxalt’s ex-law firm comes to his defense
Republican attorney general candidate Adam Laxalt’s former law firm came to his defense Thursday, saying leaked notes from four attorneys giving him a negative job review don’t reflect other “highly favorable” evaluations he has received and don’t represent the company’s views on Laxalt.
“He is a capable and talented attorney who serves his clients well and, as such, we would welcome his return to the firm should he desire to do so in the future,” said a statement released by Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP.
The law firm said it had launched an investigation of what it called a serious “security breach.”
“These are private, confidential documents of our firm, are not intended for the public, and, indeed, many portions of internal lawyer reviews are not shared with or known to the person being reviewed,” the law firm said. “Release of these documents was not authorized by the firm.”
The notes from the Lewis and Roca Associate Evaluation and Compensation Committee also said, “He is a train wreck” because of sloppy work and a lack of “the basic skill set” needed for an attorney.
The notes recommend “a freeze in salary, deferral, and possible termination.” The attorneys also, however, suggested Laxalt attend seminars to improve his skills in legal writing and basic legal principles.
Jon Ralston, who writes a political blog and hosts the television program “Ralston Reports,” obtained the document and posted it on his website Wednesday. He said he had authenticated the document.
Laxalt said he and his wife knew the race would be a challenge, and he dismissed the attack on his record as politics.
“We are stronger than the pettiness that is facing us today,” Laxalt said in a statement Thursday. “My candidacy, background, and broad experience as an attorney is and will continue to be in sharp contrast to my opponent’s.”
Laxalt did concede it wasn’t easy making the change from being a JAG officer to a lawyer in private practice.
“No doubt, the transition from a JAG officer in the Navy to a large, private firm came with its challenges,” he said. “But, I met those challenges head-on, as I have always done, and ended up earning a promotion. … This was the result of my successful representation of Fortune 500 companies, a large Nevada city and some of Nevada’s top job-providers and taxpayers.”
The leak of the highly critical review is likely to harm Laxalt’s bid against Ross Miller, his more well-known Democratic opponent and the current secretary of state. Laxalt already was considered the underdog in the Nov. 4 election.
Lewis Roca, in releasing a statement backing up Laxalt, could be trying to protect itself against any liability.
Laxalt, a former Navy judge advocate general, began at the law firm in 2011. The purported negative review came in fiscal year 2011-12. In 2012, the firm said it promoted Laxalt to “of counsel,” a lawyer in the company but not a partner.
“The portions of the reviews in question are from 2011-12 and do not include other highly favorable feedback Adam received during his tenure with the firm,” Lewis and Roca said.
The law firm noted that it has not taken a side in the race, although some partners back Miller and others back Laxalt.
“This should be expected in a firm as large and diverse as ours,” the law firm said.
“We do wish to clarify, however, that the review documents being discussed in the media do not represent the current view of Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP about Adam. … He made excellent contributions to our firm.”
Navy job reviews praise Adam Laxalt
Republican Adam Laxalt won rave performance reviews when he was a judge advocate general in the Navy, with superiors praising him as “intelligent, tenacious and resourceful” and an outstanding leader and mentor, according to military documents his campaign released Friday.
“DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS FANTASTIC OFFICER,” a 2009 review proclaimed in all caps after giving Laxalt top ratings of fours and fives in a half dozen areas on a scale of one to five where three is the standard officers must meet.
“His work was critical to maintenance of good order and discipline in this overseas command,” said the 2009 review when he was based in Italy at Naval Air Station Sigonella.
A 2010 review when Laxalt was teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., called him a “gifted teacher,” “selfless mentor,” “impressive leader,” and “team player.”
In 2007, after he volunteered for a tour of duty in Iraq where he dealt with 1,400 detainee and terrorism cases, his boss concluded, “He has excelled at this fast-paced, high-pressure environment with poise, elan and proficiency. … He has an exceptionally bright future in the JAG — assign him accordingly. I trust and have unbridled confidence in him.”
Laxalt was the No. 2 JAG officer out of 32 others he worked with in Iraq. He was “hand-selected” to become officer-in-charge, supervising six paralegals, six officers and “responsible for tracking over 35,000 detainee case files.”
“A phenomenal attorney and officer, consider Lt. Laxalt for the JAG Corp’s toughest jobs,” the review said, suggesting he deserves early promotion.
Laxalt, who is running for attorney general, released the fitness report and counseling records to counter critical notes leaked from a private law firm, Lewis Roca, where he worked starting in 2011. He was given a harsh job review in fiscal year 2011-12, according to the notes from four attorneys at the firm. His legal skills were called sloppy and inadequate. And he was described as “a train wreck” who needed further training to meet basic legal standards.
The leak of the notes by Jon Ralston, a blogger and TV host of “Ralston Reports,” damaged both Laxalt’s reputation and his campaign in the Nov. 4 election against Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat and former Clark County prosecutor.
On Thursday, Lewis Roca put out a statement defending Laxalt, saying the negative notes weren’t a reflection of his good work at the law firm, where he took a leave early this year to run for attorney general. The firm said it had promoted him to “of counsel,” although not to partner, and welcomed him to return to his job after the election.
The release Friday of his Navy records is another attempt to right his campaign.
Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said with more than 10 weeks left before the Nov. 4 election, Laxalt has time to repair any damage to his reputation, but his election chances have dimmed.
“He’s obviously in damage control and it’s not where you want to be in a campaign, particularly when you’re already facing a better known and better financed — and better experienced as a candidate — opponent,” Herzik said. “This is not what he needed. By the same token, there’s time to recover.”
Herzik pointed out that the leaked document was notes on Laxalt’s performance, but not the law firm’s job review itself, which could have been different in its conclusions or tenor. Laxalt’s military records, however, are official reviews, he said.
“You don’t know how complete those notes were,” Herzik said. “One guy thought he was a train wreck, but that wasn’t the conclusion of the firm. That was a selected leak of one-sided, unofficial notes. It helps him limit the damage.”
In interviews, Laxalt has appeared most proud of his work in Iraq in 2006 during wartime, for which he volunteered. His job description, according to the military report, was to provide “due process of captured insurgents in a hostile fire environment.” He excelled at the job, receiving a top score of five for “mission accomplishment.”
“His concise, objective case summaries and oral briefings were critical to mission success,” the report said. “Totally outstanding in all respects!”
In the 2009 report, Laxalt won plaudits for handling a wide array of legal cases on the base in Italy, the result of 61 investigations. They included cases involving sexual harassment, fraternization, ethics, domestic violence, online solicitation of a minor and fraud in a case that ultimately went to trial in Rota, Spain.
“Exceptional results every time!” the report concluded.
“Lieutenant Laxalt is a superb JAG who needs only an opportunity to shine,” it said.
In the 2010 fitness report for his last of four tours of duty, Laxalt was back in the states, teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy as an assistant law professor. He also volunteered as a special assistant U.S. attorney to handle cases on the base.
The report praised his teaching, saying he was “highly effective at presenting complex legal concepts.” It said he carried the highest teaching load in the department and midshipmen personally requested he serve as their mentors.
Laxalt “lives the Navy’s core values,” the report said, applauding his demeanor.
“His flawless military bearing and appearance set a strong example for his peers,” the report said.
The military reports, as a whole, nearly ooze with near over-the-top praise.
“Laxalt possesses unlimited potential and absolute devotion to the mission,” the 2011 report concluded.
Laxalt’s campaign manager, John Findlay, said the campaign was pleased with the contents of the military reports. But the campaign had no answer as to why it hadn’t released the documents earlier despite repeated requests by reporters and news organizations, including the Review-Journal.
Contact Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.
She claims they have breached the terms of the Settlement Agreement she made with them. A trial date has been set for April 6 & 8, 2015 in the First Judicial District Court, Department 2 Judge James Wilson.
Just prior to Mr. Klein’s death the evidence was found hiding in the Washoe County District Attorney files that would have exonerated him from the 1988 Payless Shoe Store crime.
In October 2011 Ms. Brown hired a private investigator to locate the prime suspect, Mr. Zarsky. The Sparks Police theory was they believed Mr. Zarsky had committed the crime Nolan Klein was convicted of. In November Ms. Brown drove to another state and had the opportunity to listen to what Mr. Zarsky had to say.
Mr. Zarsky admitted he had knowledge of the Payless Shoe Store crime and the 3 other crimes the SPD believed he had committed. The victims from the 3 other crimes had cleared Mr. Klein and all was hidden by the Washoe County District Attorney’s office.
In 2010 Ms. Brown filed suit against the NDOC in the wrongful death of Nolan Klein. During the discovery process Ms. Brown discovered that the Attorney General’s office had withheld evidence in one of Nolan’s federal civil cases against the NDOC. Ms. Brown claims that ultimately this new development with regard to this evidence had a profound adverse effect on Mr. Klein’s 2007 Parole Board hearing and 2008 Compassionate Release Pardon.
Brown then filed suit Tonja Brown v NDOC, Governor Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Katherine Cortez Masto, Secretary of State Ross Miller, DAG William Geddes, DAG Kara Krause in Carson City, NV for Breach of Settlement Agreement. Trial is set for next April 2015.
The document recommended “a freeze in salary, deferral, and possible termination.” In the event he remained at the firm, it recommended that Laxalt work on his legal writing and spend weekends studying. (It also noted, “He has typos in his self-assessment,” but then the evaluation itself has some writing flaws, too.)
It is difficult to know how a candidate could recover from something like this. The firm and its evaluators presumably had no political ax to grind, or at least none is initially apparent. The job of attorney general is more administrator than it is lawyering, but the evaluation does not suggest Laxalt would be a strong administrator, either.
Earlier this year, Laxalt said his transfer to a position “of counsel” in the law firm was a promotion, a claim now undercut by the evaluation.
In a prepared statement, the Laxalt campaign sought to shift attention to the leaker or leakers: “The improperly and perhaps illegally leaked document today is not an evaluation that Adam Laxalt has ever seen before, and its authenticity as an official evaluation is clearly in question. Adam has been in touch with the firm this afternoon and he has been told that the process of authentication is currently underway. However, this document purporting to be an official evaluation was never given to Adam Laxalt.”
The Laxalt name has considerable prominence in Nevada, given the service of Paul Laxalt as a district attorney, lieutenant governor, governor, and U.S. senator. But other Laxalts have been unable to translate that name recognition into political success. In the case of Adam Laxalt’s candidacy, the Laxalt family has split, some of its members supporting Democrat Ross Miller.
If Laxalt were to withdraw from the race, it would be up to the Republican State Central Committee to select a replacement for him on the ballot. Ralston writes that he has authenticated the document. The evaluation can be read on Ralston’s site
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Secretary of State touted his work enforcing Nevada’s election law while his opponent Adam Laxalt pointed to his legal experience in the military in a debate over who should be Nevada’s next attorney general.
Democrat Miller and Republican Laxalt squared off Saturday morning at the annual Nevada Press Association convention in North Las Vegas, fielding questions about public records, sparring about the ethics of politicians accepting gifts and comparing resumes.
“My broad range of legal experience makes me most qualified for this job,” said Laxalt, 36, a first-time candidate who worked as a private attorney in Las Vegas for three years and previously served as a judge advocate general in the U.S. Navy.
“I have experience solving real problems,” said Miller, 38, pointing to his work as a prosecutor in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and noting that he investigated even organizations friendly to his party during his two terms as secretary of state.
The forum, held before Nevada journalists and moderated by Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius, focused largely on how the attorney general would enforce public records laws. Miller cited examples from his work in campaign finance disclosure as secretary of state, while Laxalt spoke broadly in favor of transparency but acknowledged he was unfamiliar with some of the finer points of open meeting and public records laws.
Attorney General candidate Ross Miller (D) made it clear where he stands on equal treatment under the law.
Asked whether there should be a cap on the fees public agencies can charge to pull up public records, Miller pointed out that there’s a real cost to assigning staff members to the task and processing documents.
“We’ve absolutely got to set a rate that’s reasonable,” Miller said. “We don’t want a standard in place that allows people to shut down government … It’s got to be reasonable, and there’s got to be balance.”
Laxalt said he believed transparency is essential and said he was willing to “roll up his sleeves” and work on the issue just like he’d done in the military, but he also said he didn’t know what would constitute a reasonable fee.
The two sparred about politicians accepting gifts, an issue prominent in attack ads run against Miller. Laxalt criticized Miller for taking more than $70,000 in gifts over a five-year period and vowed he would not accept any.
“My opponent has shown what I believe is a reckless habit of taking gifts,” Laxalt said. “I think it makes people wonder if their government works for them or for special interests.”
Miller shot back, saying many of the gifts he accepted were scholarships for educational seminars that have made him a stronger leader. He added that he’s disclosed more information than most politicians would because he’s a champion of transparency and wants voters to make their own judgments about the individual gifts.
“The entire reason that’s out there is I went above and beyond to put that out there,” Miller said. He also challenged Laxalt to disclose more records from his personnel file.
“We don’t know who he is or what he stands for,” Miller said.
The personnel file became an issue this summer when an unflattering job performance review from a Las Vegas law firm was leaked to the press.
The candidates also fielded questions about whether they’d defend Nevada laws that they might disagree with. It stemmed from an instance in which Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto declined to sue over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in spite of then-Gov. Jim Gibbons’ request.
Laxalt said he couldn’t foresee a situation in which he’d decline to follow a lawsuit that the governor requested.
“The last thing I want to do is to send a message that I wouldn’t enforce laws,” Laxalt said. But “If it was something that I felt was somehow unconstitutional, I’d have to very much evaluate that.”
Miller said it was hard to say what he would have done in the same situation, but said he would decline to sue “only in the rarest of circumstances.”
“You can certainly envision statues in place that would be clearly unconstitutional and based on those, I wouldn’t defend those,” Miller said, giving examples of laws requiring people to wear a Star of David or reinstituting slavery. “The attorney general is the state’s top attorney. That individual has to be a true leader.”
Adam Laxalt for Nevada Attorney General
Meet Democratic Rising Star, Ross Miller, Nevada’s Secretary of State Fox & Friends 9 20 13
Ross Miller – 2014 AG Race, The Trailer
Adam Laxalt is a fresh and believable candidate in Nevada politics, yet new to the political wars of Nevada.
A first-time candidate at 35, Laxalt jumped into the race for attorney general when no other significant Republican would step up. You have to admire his courage, even his rookie enthusiasm.
He was sought after by Republicans partly because of his family name. He is, of course, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Paul Laxalt, who was so influential in 1980s Washington politics that he was called the “first friend” to President Ronald Reagan.
Laxalt has a lot going for him, politically. He’s a former Navy JAG officer who volunteered for the battle zones of Iraq. He has a wife and child straight out of central casting. Plus he’s got that royal name.
The thought here, however, is that it’s too much for Laxalt to be expected to defeat Democrat Ross Miller for attorney general this year.
Miller has been campaigning for attorney general for more than a year. Some say he’s been game-planning this race since he was re-elected as secretary of state in 2010.
He’s raised almost $1.4 million and has his own royal bloodline since his dad, Bob Miller, served 10 years as Nevada’s governor.
Like Paul Laxalt, Bob has friends in high places. Bill Clinton comes to mind. The former president wrote the foreword to Bob’s recent autobiography, “Son of a Gambling Man.”
The venerable and respected retired Sen. Paul Laxalt, 91, is perhaps too elderly to help his grandson’s campaign much. But that is not the case with Bob Miller, who’s still strong enough to arm wrestle you for a donation to his son’s campaign.
Nevada Secretary Of State Ross Miller Wins MMA Fight
Yes that’s really the Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller winning his first — and last amateur MMA bout.The 36-year-old Miller has been in office since 2005.
More importantly, Nevada Democrats have a voter registration advantage over Republicans of almost 112,000.
Many are counting on a Republican upswing in 2014. It remains to be seen if that carries the day in the AG’s race.
IF ADAM LAXALT could turn back time, it might have been better for him to start his political career in Carson City and not Las Vegas, where he lives now.
Carson City is his grandfather’s hometown. Paul Laxalt played on Carson High School’s 1938 state championship basketball team. That’s how far back the family legacy goes.
The Laxalt name remains huge in Carson City. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Warren Lerude recently finished a book on Laxalt’s brother, Robert Laxalt, perhaps Nevada’s greatest author.
The state capital would certainly have embraced the homecoming of Paul Laxalt’s grandson. Maybe the smarter move for Adam Laxalt would have been to start his political career in Assembly District 40, representing his grandpa’s hometown.
Who wouldn’t vote for a Laxalt in that district? This year especially, Laxalt could have waltzed into Carson City’s open seat in Assembly District 40 and begun plotting his ascension to Congress.
With some legislative experience, Laxalt would be a better and more seasoned candidate for attorney general — or any other office — on his way to the top.
He certainly would be setting himself up to succeed Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, or beat him in a future primary. Amodei’s 2nd U.S. House District would be a good fit for Laxalt. Its residents respect military service and Nevada history.
As a congressman, Laxalt’s close ties to his grandfather and mother’s friends in Washington, D.C., could be put to use for Nevada voters, since we are talking about A-List Beltway Republicans.
Maybe Laxalt has the potential to become a statesman, like his grandfather. But he has to win an election first.
The hope here is that Adam Laxalt didn’t get suckered into an attorney general’s race he can’t win — one that may end his political career before it gets started.
Miller has raised $1.25 million for AG campaign compared to Laxalt’s $543,000
In the competitive Nevada attorney general’s race, Democrat Ross Miller has raised more than $1.25 million so far compared to $543,000 raised by Republican Adam Laxalt, their campaigns said Monday.
Miller reported having about $700,000 in cash on hand while Laxalt reported $440,000 in cash as the two stockpile money for their coming Nov. 4 general election since neither has a June 10 primary opponnet.
Laxalt, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, had an impressive 2014 fundraising period. He raised all of his money from January through May 16, the end of the reporting period, thanks to big-name donors such as Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense; Ed Rollins, who ran President Ronald Reagan’s campaign; and GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval.
During the same time period this year, Miller raised $255,000, according to his latest report. Last year, however, the secretary of state and son of former Gov. Bob Miller, raised about $880,000 as he got a head-start in the contest.
Laxalt said he met his fundraising goals.
“I am truly humbled by the outpouring (of) support from so many people across Nevada and throughout the country,” Laxalt said in a statement. “In just a very short time since entering this race, we have reached our initial fundraising goals and strongly exceeded some early expectations of our campaign.”
“We are in the middle of a Reaganesque revolution brought on by the most overreaching administration since Jimmy Carter,” he added. “I am happy to give a voice to those who are deeply concerned about the direction we are headed.”
Miller, too, expressed gratitude and noted he had the support of local prosecutors and police.
“I am humbled by the overwhelming support from Nevadans for our campaign,” Miller said in a statement. “Everyday we are building a campaign that is bringing a variety of stakeholders from across Nevada together – including prosecutors and police officers.”
More than half of the more than 600 donors to Laxalt were Nevadans, according to his campaign.
Miller’s campaign said that 93 percent of his donations came from Nevada.
Big name Nevada donors to Laxalt included Frank Fahrenkopf, former president of the American Gaming Association and the Republican National Committee; Former Clark County Commission Chair Bruce Woodbury; U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.; Las Vegas City Councilmen Bob Beers and Stavros Anthony; and gaming executives including Lee Amaitis of Cantor Gaming, Mike Leven of the Las Vegas Sands, Corp., Tim Poster and Bill Weidner. Sandoval donated to Laxalt via his New Nevada Political Action Committee.
Laxalt won support from national figures as well. Besides Rumsfeld and Rollins, he got donations from Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, investor T. Boone Pickens and Jim Nicholson, former RNC chairman and U.S. Veterans Affairs secretary.
Besides Laxalt and Miller, Jonathan Hansen of the Independent American Party also is running for attorney general.
Contact Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.
Groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are spending heavily nationwide to keep Democrats out of the powerful posts.
The ads accuse Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a candidate for state attorney general, of living a lavish lifestyle at the taxpayers’ expense.
Shots of Miller with Mike Tyson and Hugh Hefner’s former girlfriend flash across the screen as the narrator highlights more than $60,000 in gifts Miller has accepted from “special interests” since taking office in 2006.
“He lives the life,” the narrator says. “You pay the tab.”
The $500,000 ad campaign is being paid for by a nonprofit from Virginia called the State Government Leadership Foundation. It’s an impressive sum, especially considering the ads ran three months before a primary in which Miller is running unopposed, and for an office that doesn’t normally get so much attention. Miller’s campaign called on TV stations to pull the ads, challenging them as misleading.
So why is so much money being poured into the race and who is behind it? The biggest underwriter of the group behind the ad is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the affiliated Institute for Legal Reform, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation.
Ross Miller’s House of Cards
The Chamber isn’t talking, but it’s not hard to figure out why state attorney-general races are getting so much of its attention, not just in Nevada, but across the country.
First, the joke is that “AG” stands for “almost governor” in the 43 states where they are elected, as many go on to higher elected office. Spending on these races is an investment in the future. Eight current governors and eight current U.S. senators were previously state attorneys general.