Nevada Commission on Ethics publishes 456-page investigation into Gov. Lombardo

$1.6 million fine proposed as punishment for allegations in a complaint listing 68 ethics violations, abuses of office during campaign for Governor
Nevada Commission on Ethics publishes 456-page investigation into Gov. Lombardo
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:32 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - In a 456-page document, an investigator for the Nevada Commission on Ethics lists multiple allegations in a complaint case against Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo. The investigator alleges that Lombardo used his position and government resources improperly when he was the Clark County Sheriff and a candidate for Governor of Nevada.

The filing instructs the Executive Director of the commission to investigate potential violations of these two statutes:

The allegations in the complaint case listed the Governor’s public office title as “Sheriff” and noted that he was a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at the time of the alleged violations. A section describing the alleged conduct of the official in question read as follows:

NRS Chapter 281A requires public officers and employees to " hold public office as a public trust and avoid conflicts between public duties and private interests.” The complaint alleges that Lombardo violated the following provisions:

  • “Using his position in government to secure or grant unwarranted privileges, preferences, exemptions or advantages for himself, any business entity in which he has a significant pecuniary interest, or any person to whom he has a commitment in a private capacity.”
  • “Using governmental time, property, equipment or other facility to benefit his significant personal or pecuniary interest, or any person to whom he has a commitment in a private capacity. (Some exceptions apply).”

The filing required the inclusion of witnesses who “have knowledge of the facts and circumstances,” as well as the nature of the testimony that the person will provide. The complaint named Ryan Erwin, a campaign strategist for the Lombardo campaign, and Mark Hutchison, the chairman of the Lombardo campaign. The ethics request was made through Director David R. Hall of the Nevada Commission on Ethics.

“In clear violation of Nevada law, Sheriff Lombardo has repeatedly misused official government resources to promote his Campaign,” the complaint alleged. “The Commission has repeatedly found that this prohibition bars a law enforcement officer from using government property, including ‘physical accouterments’ of the office such as a uniform and badge, to promote a political campaign.”

The filing added that the commission sent a letter to the Nevada Sheriffs’ and Chiefs’ Association to remind officers of those restrictions. It included multiple photos and screenshots of Lombardo in his uniform that were used in his campaign materials within the filing.

The complaint asks for summary judgment, citing Lombardo’s 34 violations of one statute and 34 of another, for a total of 68 Ethics Law violations. It also requests a censure from the commission, a requirement to designate an Ethics Officer within the Governor’s office, and a fine of $1,665,000.

A commission meeting to address the complaint is scheduled for June 13.

FOX5 reached out to Governor Lombardo’s office for comment. His press secretary directed us to his attorney. His attorney has not yet responded to FOX5′s request for comment.