John L. Smith on Adam Laxalt's cameo in a New York campaign finance case


Associated Press

Onetime Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas this week walks past the New York courthouse where he is on trial in a campaign finance case. One of the witnesses was former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

Senate candidate Adam Laxalt wants to take the oath of office, but first, he had to raise his hand and be sworn in as a witness in a high-profile federal campaign finance trial.

Laxalt testified last week in the New York City trial of Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Guiliani who stands accused of illegally funneling Russian money into American political campaigns.

Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general, detailed how Parnas had promised to donate to his 2018 campaign for governor.

“A donation was made but their plan blew up,” said State of Nevada contributor John L. Smith. “Not only did Laxalt lose to Steve Sisolak, but the press and the FBI discovered the group's backchannel donation effort — accepting a campaign contribution from a foreign donor is illegal.”

Laxalt testified that Parnas pledged $10,000 and promised he’d raise hundreds of thousands of dollars more. Still, Laxalt thought of Parnas as “a goofy guy with a gold chain,” Smith said, but pursued the promise of donations from Parnas, who also made inquiries about winning a Nevada recreational marijuana license.

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Smith said Laxalt failed to put the story to rest with halting testimony that was full of him saying he could not recall specifics.

“I don't know if he hurt himself, but he didn't throw water on some of the smoke that's poured forth.”

Smith said it is likely that the campaign for Laxalt’s foe, incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, paid attention to the testimony for use in future attack ads.

“Operatives with the creative the sense are going to come up with something,” Smith said.


John L. Smith, commentator, State of Nevada

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