ICYMI: Joe Lombardo Admits to Abusing Official Resources for Political Gain
In the latest development on a lawsuit alleging Joe Lombardo used his government email for personal political gain, Metro lawyers admitted the existence of emails between Lombardo and his campaign handlers — but they insist on keeping them covered up.
Lombardo and the attorneys refuse to release the emails, leaving taxpayers on the hook as bills rack up even further as the lawsuit drags on.
This is just the latest example of Lombardo scrambling to keep voters in the dark about his corruption and misuse of taxpayer dollars. Since Lombardo became sheriff in 2015, the LVMPD has been involved in numerous high-profile and expensive legal fights over public records.
Read key excerpts from the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s report below:
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Metro lawyers say Lombardo’s political emails should not be public
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo sent emails to his political consultants using a department cellphone, but those records are not public and should not be disclosed, attorneys for the Metropolitan Police Department argued.
Attorneys with the department’s private law firm Marquis Aurbach argued that there is no law that expressly prohibits Lombardo from “de minimus contact with his campaign” using government time or equipment. And since the emails in question don’t concern the provision of public services, they aren’t public records that need to be disclosed under the law, his attorneys argued.
“By the very nature of the request, and Due Diligence Group’s own acknowledgment, the records it seeks are limited to Sheriff Lombardo’s run for governor,” attorneys Craig R. Anderson and Jackie V. Nichols wrote. “The email communications do not pertain to other employees or officials in (the department) but are strictly limited to Sheriff Lombardo’s campaign” for governor.
But attorneys for Due Diligence noted that a handful of emails the department did release show that Lombardo wrote to his consultants about a citizen complaint about the fingerprint bureau, as well as the success of a vaccine lottery, matters clearly related to providing public services.
“It would thoroughly undermine the purpose of the (public records law’s) central goal of transparency to governmental affairs if the government could claim that records are exempt from disclosure because they involved conduct by governmental officials that violate ethical or legal requirements of persons in that position,” attorney Bradley Schrager wrote. “And the emails themselves indicate that is precisely what was happening.”
He added: “If Sheriff Lombardo failed to keep his public duties and private interests separate when he used government time and resources to confer with his campaign consultants in an attempt to secure an elected, paid position, that in and of itself involves the provision of public services – albeit in an abusive and potentially unlawful manner.”
But the plaintiffs note that Lombardo and other local officials have a duty to avoid conflicts between their public duties and private interests, and cite a state Ethics Commission opinion that “incumbent public officers are not entitled to the advantage of public resources during a campaign for re-election.”