Nevada Democrats Open Hearings to Investigate Adam Laxalt’s Dealings with Las Vegas Sands
Nevada Democrats want a public hearing to look into the state’s Republican Attorney General’s interactions with Las Vegas Sands representatives. Democrats say Adam Laxalt’s meetings with a Republican political donor’s representatives may amount to corruption, because of the legal advice Laxalt provided.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt met with representatives of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, owned by Sheldon Adelson, in 2016. Laxalt said the meetings were routine and work-related, while Democrats charge they are evidence of political corruption.
Adam Laxalt’s Support for Adelson’s Causes
For month nows, this blog has reported how Attorney General Laxalt supports Sheldon Adelson’s proposed ban on online gambling, a position which has raised eyebrows and earned a rebuke from the very governor who appointed Laxalt.
When the AG’s position became known, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval criticized his own attorney general. Sandoval pointed out that Adam Laxalt was taking a stand against the very Nevada gaming laws which he was sworn to uphold.
Now, Nevada Democrats are pointing to a case which indicates a much closer tie between Laxalt and Adelson’s corporation than was previously assumed. The Democrats are arguing that Adam Laxalt’s stance is a case of corruption. Democratic Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton subpoenaed information about the meetings last week, saying what she knows about them is “unsettling”. Carlton said a probe is required.
AG Burnett Questioned Laxalt’s Decisions
Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman AG Burnett is the one who first raised questions about Laxalt’s behavior last year. Proof of his questions came to light on Wednedsay, in an affidavit provided by Nevada General Assembly Democrats. Chairman Burnett raised questions and corruption and other illegal activities, though it should be noted that federal authorities so far have dismissed Burnett’s charges.
Adam Laxalt blamed politics for the charges against him. He said in an email statement, “Nearly every outside independent analyst has recognized how partisan this Legislature has become.”
Democrats Plan Hearings
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers plan to convene a hearing as soon as possible, saying their findings could affect budget decisions for the coming year. Those budget alterations apparently would be at the expense of the Nevada Department of Justice or the gambling regulatory agencies, according Assembly Democrat caucus spokeswoman Sarah Abel. Those threats come at a time when the legislature must resolve state budget differences within the next fortnight.
A.G. Burnett signed an April 27 affidavit stating his concerns when he heard Adam Laxalt take a position opposite of his own advisers. Laxalt pushed the Gaming Control Board to intervene in a lawsuit that would have benefitted the Sands Corporation.
Laxalt’s Meeting with LVS Execs
At the heart of Burnett’s charges is the fact Adam Laxalt met with Las Vegas Sands executives without a Nevada gaming regulator present. The two sides discussed an ongoing lawsuit which involved alleged ties between Las Vegas Sands and Chinese organized crime. Las Vegas Sands operates the Venetian Macau, the most lucrative casino in the world’s largest gaming destination, Macau.
Eventually, Las Vegas Sands had to pay tens of millions of dollars of fines to FinCen in the case. The very fact that LVS would discuss the case with the state’s attorney general off-the-record was shocking to A.G. Burnett, though.
The gaming regulator said, “I was shocked and in disbelief due to the nature of these unusual circumstances.”
AG Burnett Recorded Conversation
A.G. Burnett decided it would be in his best interest to record his conversation with Adam Laxalt on the matter. He later sent the audiotape to federal authorities, to have them decide whether Laxalt’s actions constituted corruption or other illegal activities. Burnett said the federal officials said Laxalt had committed no corruption, according to those tapes.
Despite that opinion, Nevada Democrats want to press the matter in the legislature. Maggie Carlton said this week, “We will work with the chairman of the Gaming Control Board to bring more light to this situation.“
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