Hansen Denies Unethical Behavior in Tax Suit

Nevada Budget Crisis
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The attorney for Nevada's Independent American Party denies he tried to improperly contact a federal judge regarding his lawsuit challenging a Nevada Supreme Court order to let the Legislature pass taxes without a two-thirds vote.

Joel Hansen, lawyer and chairman of the state IAP, also says he filed the suit in good faith and shouldn't be subject to any sanctions.

U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson dismissed the suit and scolded Hansen, saying he inappropriately tried to talk to him without the other parties present.

Hansen said he initially sought a temporary restraining order and called Dawson's office to set up a meeting. Told the judge doesn't conduct business that way, he then filed his request for a restraining order without talking to Dawson.

"In all of this, I have done nothing unethical, although I may have made some minor procedural errors in the rush of all that happened,"Hansen said.

The judge also criticized Hansen for submitting the suit on"inadmissible hearsay"evidence. The suit quoted a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist who wrote that he talked with an unidentified former judge who told him Gov. Kenny Guinn talked with two justices of the Nevada Supreme Court before the governor filed his suit against the Legislature.

Guinn and Justices Bob Rose and Miriam Shearing have all denied there was any conversation about the case or attempt to seek a favorable judgment to force the Legislature to pass a school funding bill and a tax increase.

Hansen said he wasn't obliged to present all the evidence in the complaint. He added he would have had an opportunity later in the suit to gather additional evidence and depositions to prove his point.

"We suspected foul play. I admit I can't prove it now," Hansen said.