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Attorneys general group calls on Ford to release bar applications

Updated August 23, 2018 - 5:27 pm

A month after state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford’s criminal record came to light, a Republican group questioned whether the attorney general candidate disclosed his four arrests on two state bar applications.

The Republican Attorneys General Association political action committee on Thursday called on Ford, D-Las Vegas, to release his bar applications to gauge whether he lied about his past. Ford, a partner at Las Vegas law firm Eglet Prince, was admitted to the State Bar of Texas and the State Bar of Nevada.

Both applications specifically require the disclosure of past criminal convictions.

Ford’s campaign shared his Nevada bar application with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It shows he checked yes on the box asking if he had been arrested, cited or convicted of any criminal charges. The application requires an explanation, but the State Bar of Nevada told the campaign the attached explanations had been destroyed when Ford was admitted to the bar.

“Aaron Ford has not been honest about his past,” said Zack Roday, a spokesman for RAGA, which is backing Ford’s opponent, Wes Duncan.“Today, we are calling on Ford to release his bar applications for Texas and Nevada. Nevada voters deserve to know if he appropriately disclosed his four arrests, as required, on his bar application forms.”

Texas destroys its bar applications after five years. Ford was admitted in 2002.

“Republican special interest groups are coming after Aaron Ford to divert attention away from the real issues in this race and because they know his message of putting families first is resonating with Nevadans,” said Ford campaign manager Jessica Adair. “The bottom line: Aaron Ford has been honest and transparent, and he will not be intimidated by partisan Washington DC groups who are more interested in keeping the system rigged against Nevadans than the truth.”

Nevada’s rules of professional conduct prohibit lawyers from knowingly making “a false statement of material fact” or failing to disclose a necessary fact when applying for bar admission.

“This seems like a reasonable request for someone who has not been forthcoming about his past,” said John Vick, Duncan’s campaign manager.

The RAGA’s demand for disclosure follows a Review-Journal article that revealed Ford’s criminal history, including four arrests for public intoxication, stealing tires and failing to appear in court. Ford also was investigated in Texas for criminal trespass after a woman called police and said he entered into her home without her permission. The woman, Stephanie Ybarra, was identified as the mother of Ford’s son.

The revelation of Ford’s legal troubles came a week after the Review-Journal reported that the senator owed more than $185,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. His campaign blamed it on financial issues and his rise to partner at his then law firm.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.

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