Nevada Judge Accused of Making Improper Campaign Contributions

A state judicial oversight panel says a Clark County District Court judge improperly contributed to the election campaigns of two other judges in 2004.

Clark County District Judge Lee Gates is named in a Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission complaint.

It says he gave $5,000 to Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Karen Bennett-Haron's reelection campaign, and $5,000 to help Justice Michael Douglas retain his seat on the Nevada Supreme Court.

Douglas is a former Clark County District Court judge who had been appointed to the Supreme Court and was running for election.

The complaint could be undermined by a 2006 state Supreme Court rule change allowing political contributions as an expression of a judge or judicial candidate's First Amendment rights.

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