CARSON CITY — Complaints that charged Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and state Sen. Mike Schneider with using their influence to restore the license of a homeopathic doctor were tossed out today by the Nevada Ethics Commission.
Ethics Commission members Erik Beyer and Jim Shaw said there was insufficient evidence to show that Masto and Schneider broke ethics laws as a result of their inquiries into the license suspension of Daniel Royal. The complaints against the two were filed by Edward T. Reed, identified as a former attorney general employee.
Reed had been the deputy attorney general who monitored the Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners. Royal was president of the board.
According to the investigative report, Schneider asked Masto to look into the situation when an attempt to serve subpoenas on Royal and Dean Friesen was made in his office at the Legislature in 2007. Unknown to Masto, her office had been investigating the two men.
Schneider also was accused of showing up at a board meeting to urge members not to remove Royal as president. He had been Royal’s patient for a month in 2005, according to an Ethics Commission report.
Later that year the senator again asked Masto to look into the matter after Royal’s license was temporarily suspended on grounds he allowed Friesen, an unlicensed pharmacist, to practice homeopathy in his office.
The senator, according to documents, also secured a legislative counsel opinion that Royal could not be removed from office because he also was licensed by the Board of Osteopathy.
Schneider, according to the investigative report, was referred to by Masto as a slight acquaintance. She said she did not know Royal or Friesen.
In addition, Schneider also did not have a friendship or private commitment to Royal of Friesen from which he could have benefited, according to the documents.
Masto agreed after speaking with Schneider to have another deputy attorney general investigate the matter and based on her reports sought to have Royal‘s license restored, according to Ethics Commission documents.
The Homeopathy Board, after what was called a “non meeting” by the investigator, and then during an “emergency meeting,” ended the license suspension.
Although there were insufficient grounds to bring charges against Masto, Ethics Commission Executive Director Patty Cafferata called her actions in the situation “puzzling.” An attempt to contact Masto for comment tonight was unsuccessful.