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Feds subpoena campaign records in Fiore investigation

Updated August 17, 2021 - 3:51 pm

Federal grand jury subpoenas have been issued for records in the investigation into the campaign finances of Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, the Review-Journal has learned.

The subpoenas have been served over the past several months and followed a January FBI raid on Fiore’s northwest Las Vegas home, sources said.

Some of the subpoenas have sought documents relating to Fiore’s campaign and political action committee, Future for Nevadans.

This comes as the lead federal prosecutor in the collapsed criminal case against Cliven Bundy has surfaced as a member of the prosecution team, sources said. Fiore has been a high-profile Bundy supporter over the years.

The prosecutor, Steven Myhre, has reached out to potential witnesses in the Fiore investigation to arrange additional interviews with them, sources said.

That could be the first step in hauling the witnesses before a federal grand jury.

“Prosecutors would want to know what these people would say before they testify before the grand jury,” said veteran defense lawyer Todd Leventhal, who is not representing anyone in the probe.

The Review-Journal reported last month that FBI agents showed up July 6 at City Hall to interview City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, a former Fiore ally. The two women had a falling-out last summer.

Other witnesses also have been questioned since FBI agents executed a search warrant at Fiore’s home, 6205 Red Pine Court, the story reported.

Fiore, a former Republican assemblywoman, was elected to the City Council in 2017. She is also the Nevada GOP national committeewoman responsible for the party’s fundraising in the state and has been a strong backer of former President Donald Trump.

Political funds eyed

Questions about Fiore’s campaign and political action committee expenses have been raised by the Review-Journal for several years.

Records show she has used political funds for personal expenses and funneled thousands of dollars to her businesses and a planning events company run by her daughter.

This year, Fiore amended years of campaign and PAC financial disclosures, saying she lent nearly $60,000 to the two accounts since 2017. The councilwoman has not publicly explained why the disclosures were delayed.

It is unclear what campaign issues have troubled FBI agents, and it is also possible the investigation involves broader concerns about Fiore’s conduct in office, sources said. She survived a recall effort last year.

Fiore did not respond to a request for comment.

She has denied in the past any wrongdoing related to her political expenses, explaining that the money went toward unprecedented community outreach and other official duties. She has said her Future for Nevadans PAC primarily pays for “constituent services.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Tuesday on the investigation and Myhre’s role in it.

Myhre is one of the most seasoned and toughest prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office. His presence has been felt in many of the biggest cases brought by the office in recent years.

But his stature has suffered because of the dismissal of the criminal case against Bundy and his sons stemming from their April 2014 standoff with law enforcement authorities outside the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville.

The showdown, which also involved right-wing militia groups, ended without injuries after federal land management agents, under pressure to avoid bloodshed, called off a court-ordered roundup of Bundy cattle.

In January 2018, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro tossed out the conspiracy and assault charges against Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan in the middle of the trial because of what she called “flagrant” government misconduct.

Prosecutors failed to provide defense lawyers with evidence that could have harmed the government’s case, according to court documents.

Fiore participated in pro-Bundy gatherings outside the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse during hearings in the standoff case.

As a Nevada assemblywoman in early 2016, she traveled to Oregon, where protesters had holed up at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, saying she wanted to work with federal agents to defuse the standoff.

But she also told the Review-Journal at the time that she wanted to confront overreach from the government. Ammon Bundy was one of the leaders of the uprising.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter. German is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing. Support our journalism.

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