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County GOP chairman resigns from state executive panel

CARSON CITY — Ed Williams, chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, has resigned from the executive committee of the state party, citing concerns that no minutes are kept of the meetings and there is no liability insurance coverage for members.

Williams, selected as Clark County chairman in July, automatically became a member of the state executive committee with his election. But he resigned that post on Thursday in a letter to state party Chairman Michael McDonald. Williams said McDonald accepted his resignation.

In his letter, Williams said: “I have been concerned by recent media accounts of the conduct of NRP management and activities involving the state party office.

“The record of my votes and the votes of fellow committee members document the business of the NRP,” he said. “Current and past members of the Executive Committee might need these minutes as evidence to demonstrate that they did or did not authorize the activities of management.”

Williams said in his letter that during his brief tenure, he was not given any financial statements, despite repeated requests.

“Further, since no financial report was presented at the 2015 Spring Meeting and only a partial report at the August 2015 Special Meeting, I don’t believe any member has seen complete financials for 2014,” he said. “It would appear that the NRP Executive Committee, and perhaps even the Central Committee itself, has not been given the necessary information to provide effective and timely oversight.”

Despite his concerns, Williams said the 11-member executive committee, which includes McDonald, has not responded to his concerns, prompting his resignation.

Commenting on the resignation, Las Vegas GOP campaign consultant Lisa Mayo-DeRiso said the Republican Party deserves leadership that is transparent and accountable.

“It is sad that a fine leader like Ed Williams finds it necessary to resign for fear of exposure to liability from what appears to be inept and incompetent management of the State Republican party by the current chairman,” she said. “The Republican Party in Nevada has a strong voter base and should demand better leadership.”

McDonald did not respond to a request for comment.

Williams’ departure is just the latest turn in the ongoing internal division within the state Republican Party pitting anti-tax conservatives against their more moderate counterparts, including Gov. Brian Sandoval.

A number of bitter primaries are expected next year as Republican state lawmakers who supported Sandoval’s budget and tax plan face anti-tax challengers. Some anti-tax Republicans are also trying to get a referendum on Sandoval’s tax plan to voters in November 2016.

Williams has been described as a tech-savvy leader with a long history of working with the party. That includes performing information technology work at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

McDonald has proved to be controversial in the job, coming under fire for a loan from a charity he oversaw to a business he was involved with. Recent media reports have detailed a $2.2 million loan from Miracle Flights for Kids, a Las Vegas nonprofit, to Med Lien Management in 2013. McDonald was on the children’s charity board at the time and was a partner in the medical lien company, according to documents filed in a lawsuit and a federal bankruptcy proceeding.

The loan went into default and is now at the center of a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the charity. McDonald resigned from the charity last year and has denied influencing the loan.

He generated further controversy when state Treasurer Dan Schwartz hired him in July as a deputy in the agency’s Las Vegas office with annual compensation and benefits exceeding $100,000.

The chairmanship position of the party will be open for candidates at the state central committee meeting in Las Vegas set for Nov. 14.

McDonald is expected to seek another two-year term but other candidates might also emerge.

Williams said that as a member of the state central committee, he will be participating in the selection process.

“I hope the state central committee chooses wisely based on all the information available to them,” Williams said. “We need effective leadership to maximize results in 2016.”

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801

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