The state’s attorney general, Adam Laxalt, who is also likely to run for governor in 2018, is under fire for something he did a year ago.
Laxalt had tried to get the Nevada Gaming Control Board to offer some sort of support to billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who was involved in a lawsuit. As attorney general, Laxalt works for the board. Board Chairman, A.G. Burnett, secretly recorded Laxalt's conversation with him.
After hearing the conversation, the FBI determined that Laxalt had not broken any laws. But the fact that he asked the Control Board to intervene has become of great interest to state lawmakers.
Jon Ralston is publisher and founder of the Nevada Independent, the online news site that broke the story about the secret recording.
“What’s devastating for Laxalt here is there seems to be no compelling state interest,” Ralston said, “In other words, what role as attorney general would compel him to essentially act on behalf of a billionaire donor to try to get help in a civil case in which his deputy had already opined that it would be an unprecedented and bad move for the Gaming Control Board to intervene on behalf of a licensee in a court case.”
Ralston said Laxalt is will to testify in a legislative hearing, which Ralston believes could be a "spectacle."
Laxalt has said Democrats are merely playing politics. Ralston agrees that some Democrats are using this chance to hurt the Republican front-runner for governor, but on the other hand, there are issues legislators need to look at.
“The question is can the legislature conduct themselves with rectitude as opposed to partisanship,” Ralston said.
He said the issue is bigger than the attorney general might believe, especially since the Gaming Control Board has now asked legislators to fund a new attorney position for the board so that they don't have to use the attorney general anymore.
Laxalt's office did not reply to a request by KNPR's State of Nevada for comment.
Jon Ralston, publisher/founder, The Nevada Independent
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