Nevada lawmakers release clandestine tape before Laxalt inquiry

Published: May. 17, 2017 at 4:52 PM PDT
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Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt says legal advice he gave the state's top gaming regulator would ultimately not have benefited a political donor, as Democratic lawmakers claim.

The Republican official is defending his 2016 request that Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett intervene in a lawsuit involving GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

Laxalt said at a Wednesday legislative hearing that Las Vegas Sands Corp. asked the state to file several legal opinions in the case, which cumulatively could have benefited Adelson.

But Laxalt was interested in pursuing only one of those angles, which favored the confidentiality of casino documents turned over to the gaming board.

Laxalt argues intervening in that way would not have benefited Adelson.

Democrats say a surreptitious recording shows Laxalt inappropriately pressured Burnett on behalf of Adelson after meeting with the casino magnate and his representatives.


7:30 p.m.

Nevada's top gaming regulator is shedding additional light on a clandestine recording he made of Attorney General Adam Laxalt, including that his staff and Gov. Brian Sandoval's general counsel advised him to send it to the FBI.

Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett says he agreed to do so around April 30, 2016.

In it, Laxalt requested Burnett intervene in a lawsuit in a way that would likely benefit GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

A couple weeks later, in mid-May, the FBI informed him that they found Laxalt committed no criminal wrongdoing.

Burnett told a joint panel of Senate and Assembly finance committees Wednesday evening that he is glad the recording was "ultimately unnecessary."

Burnett says he had never before and has not since made any clandestine recordings like the audio of the "awkward" conversation with Laxalt last year.


4:30 p.m.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt is preparing to make his case against assertions he attempted to use his office to the benefit of a wealthy business magnate and political benefactor.

Nevada lawmakers released an audio recording at the center of the high-profile inquiry hours ahead of a Wednesday evening hearing.

It relays a conversation with Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett. In it, Laxalt requests Burnett intervene in a casino lawsuit with a legal opinion that would likely have favored GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

Democrats suggest Laxalt was doing the bidding of Adelson, who bankrolled his run for attorney general.

Laxalt is considered a Republican front-runner for governor in 2018.

Democrats called the hearing to probe Laxalt and consider legislation stripping his office from legally representing the Gaming Control Board.

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