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Nevada Legislature releases AG Laxalt recording transcript

Updated May 16, 2017 - 6:34 pm

CARSON CITY — A transcript of a surreptitiously recorded conversation between Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett and Attorney General Adam Laxalt was released by the Legislature on Tuesday.

The transcript of the conversation, recorded by Burnett in Reno in March 2016, is an exhibit for a Wednesday hearing in front of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees.

The conversation, along with an affidavit provided to the Legislature by Burnett, related to his concerns about political influence on the oversight of Nevada’s gaming industry. The concerns involve gaming regulators being asked by Laxalt to file a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of licensee Las Vegas Sands Corp. involving the confidentiality of state records. Sands Corp. and its chairman and CEO, Sheldon Adelson, contributed to Laxalt’s campaign.

No such brief was ever filed in the case. Burnett sent the recording of the conversation to the FBI for review, according to his affidavit, and authorities said there was no criminal wrongdoing.

As a result of the recording and affidavit, which were subpoenaed this month by Assembly Ways and Means Chairwoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, Democrats are backing a bill that would remove the attorney general’s office as counsel to the Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board in most circumstances. Under Assembly Bill 513, the subject of Wednesday’s hearing, a new independent counsel would be created to advise the gaming agency.

In a letter to Carlton dated Tuesday, Laxalt criticized the selective release of information about the matter, which he said led to inaccurate and speculative stories.

“The transcript of the recording, finally made public only this morning, contradicts the false narrative,” he said.

The matter was handled like any other issue, Laxalt said.

Laxalt is a Republican considering a run for governor. Some Republican lawmakers have said the entire issue is a political ploy by Democrats to undermine Laxalt’s political future.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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