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Legislator hit with ethics complaint

CARSON CITY — A complaint alleging that state Sen. Warren Hardy violated laws by voting on matters that help his employer, Associated Builders and Contractors, was filed Wednesday with the Nevada Ethics Commission.

In his complaint, Henderson resident Richard B. Miller identified bills on which the Las Vegas Republican voted that “materially” benefited his employer, an association that represents contractors. Hardy is president of ABC’s Las Vegas chapter.

“Over the past three legislative sessions, Senator Hardy has repeatedly and inappropriately taken action on items that provide a benefit to him personally and to members of the ABC Las Vegas chapter, all without proper disclosure,” said Miller, who said he is a Hardy constituent.

Contacted at his office, Hardy said Miller is under the mistaken impression that he must disclose his ABC relationship before every vote and that he cannot vote on such matters.

“The law doesn’t require it,” said Hardy, adding he first clears with legislative lawyers whether he can vote on matters affecting contractors.

Hardy said that at the beginning of the session he files a statement identifying his employer and the companies for which it lobbies. That is sufficient disclosure, he added.

He said he can vote on bills affecting ABC as long as the benefit the association and its members receive is not greater than the benefit others in the same type of business receive.

In his complaint, Miller said Hardy last year killed Senate Bill 509, which would have required contractors to pay more money to workers, and then sent out a letter “trumpeting” ABC-Las Vegas’ defeat of the bill.

Miller also said Hardy backed legislation to prohibit the state Contractors Board from disclosing complaints made against contractors over the previous five years.

Hardy said Wednesday that he opposed allowing disclosure of complaints that have no merit. He said complaints against lawyers, contractors or anyone else should not be revealed until it has been determined they have merit.

Miller acknowledged that he filed the complaint because of Hardy’s opposition to disclosing complaints against contractors and because the senator supported legislation that makes it more difficult to sue for construction defects.

Miller said he is a resident of the Sun City Anthem Community, which has been plagued by construction defects.

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or (775) 687-3901.

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