May 15, 2017

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Latest News, Nevada

Heller and Sandoval Want Answers on Laxalt Secret Meeting 

Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy: Scandal is ‘a huge problem for him in the governor’s race’

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s gubernatorial candidacy took a big hit this weekend as the state’s top two Republicans refused to defend him amidst growing allegations that Laxalt improperly intervened in a legal case involving Las Vegas Sands on behalf of his biggest donor Sheldon Adelson.

Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy told GamblingCompliance the political implications of this scandal are huge:

“[The intervention] is a huge problem for him in the governor’s race. …This is everything so many voters, and especially Trump voters, hate about politics and politicians. Politicians help protect wealthy donors, but don’t do much for the average citizen.”

Last week, lawmakers in the state legislature obtained a recording of the secret meeting between Laxalt and Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett. Nevada Ways and Means Chairwoman Maggie Carlton, who originally subpoenaed the recording, said the tape is “unsettling and warrants a hearing.”

Laxalt called the hearings a “political attack,” but Nevada’s top two Republicans disagree.

Sen. Dean Heller and Gov. Brian Sandoval both said this weekend that hearings are necessary to further investigate the secret meeting.

Senator Heller told The Nevada Independent on Friday that he agrees with the hearings moving forward:

“I know they’re going to have hearings in the Legislature, and, frankly, I think they should have hearings in the Legislature.”

That same day, Gov. Sandoval weighed in to dispute Laxalt’s cries of a political witch hunt and said he wanted more information as well: 

“I don’t know if I’d call it a political attack,” the governor said. “I mean, again, it speaks for itself. [Laxalt] hasn’t denied that it happened. He’s issued a press release [saying] that the meeting took place. And I think everyone just needs to listen to the dialogue and decide for themselves what it means.”

Their comments come as evidence against Laxalt continues to mount.

The Nevada Independent published an affidavit detailing a series of text messages between Laxalt and Burnett in which the attorney general urgently pushed Burnett to meet in a car dealership parking lot.

Then today, the paper released an email from Laxalt’s deputy attorney general recommending that the Gaming Control Board not get involved with the Las Vegas Sands case, directly conflicting with what Laxalt pushed for in the meeting.

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