Nevada GOP attorney general candidate Adam Laxalt on Wednesday pledged not to accept political gifts if elected and criticized his Democratic opponent, Ross Miller, for taking more than $70,000 in gifts while in office.
“I think that the attorney general has to be above reproach,” Laxalt said in an interview. “I’m concerned about conflicts of interest.”
Laxalt said he isn’t suggesting that politicians who take gifts are corrupt, “but it’s a perception issue.” He said the attorney general makes decisions involving corporations and so shouldn’t take gifts from companies.
“If I want to go to a boxing event I’ll either pay for it myself or not go,” Laxalt said. “My opponent has taken more than $70,000. That’s a big number. He’s just gotten so many gifts over the years. I think it’s a bad practice.”
Miller’s campaign manager Jocelyn Steinberg called Laxalt’s pledge a gimmick and defended the Democrat, who is Nevada’s secretary of state.
“Since he’s new to Nevada, maybe Adam doesn’t know that Ross Miller has led the charge to increase transparency in government and to hold politicians accountable,” Steinberg said in a statement. “If Adam is serious about eliminating conflicts of interest, he can start by telling voters who he represents at his law firm and and calling on the the dark money groups behind his campaign to release their donors.”
“Voters deserve to know who supports Adam and what they expect to get in return. Until then, we’ll assume this is just a campaign gimmick,” she added.
Laxalt, a former Navy advocate general who moved to Nevada several years ago to join a law practice, is running as the underdog against Miller, who has twice won statewide office and has broad support from longtime donors. Miller is the son of former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller, while Laxalt is the grandson of former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev.
Laxalt’s campaign has been supported by an outside GOP group that first criticized Miller for accepting gifts, including boxing tickets.
According to research from the Laxalt campaign, from 2009 to 2013, Miller accepted political gifts from corporate donors totaling $71,668. They included 63 free gifts from 25 mostly corporate donors.
In 2010, while running for re-election, Miller accepted nearly $29,000 in political gifts, the Laxalt campaign added.
The gifts, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal story, included luxury skybox football tickets, rodeo tickets and PGA golf tournament tickets. Miller also has taken paid trips to conferences in places such as Aspen, Colo., and Chicago, the Laxalt campaign noted.
Contact Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.