Republican Party to File Ethics Complaints Against Secretary of State Ross Miller and State Treasurer Kate Marshall
The state Republican party has confirmed it will be filing an ethics complaint against Secretary of State Ross Miller and state Treasurer Kate Marshall alleging the improper use of publicly funded web pages, phone lines and state employees for their respective reelection campaigns.
“The Nevada Republican party is moving forward with an ethics complaint,” confirmed Ciara Turns, Communications Director for the state party. “We look forward to the ethics commission completing an investigation into these improper actions.”
Turns said the evidence collected includes screen shots of web pages that have since been revised and records of phone conversations with public employees who fielded campaign-related questions and directed callers to where they could make campaign donations for both Miller and Marshall.
Turns said she anticipates the ethics complaint will be filed tomorrow.
In a press release issued today and titled “Marshall works for Nevadans as opponent throws stink bombs,” state Treasurer Kate Marshall called the ethics allegations a “cheap and baseless attack.”
Marshall defended her record and said that while her opponent is “digging through my disclosure forms and reading about my accomplishments on my website,” she is working hard for the state. The rest of Marshall’s release summarized her past public service as an employee of the U.S. Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division and her service as Nevada Senior Deputy Attorney General as well as past law experience.
In a response to the strongly worded press release, Turns said Marshall is “attempting to change the subject and distract from her blatant disregard of the law.”
“Treasurer Marshall does not one time address the claims the Nevada Republican Party is making about her violation of Nevada ethics laws, which makes clear she is trying to avoid providing Nevadans with the answers they deserve,” said Turns. “The people of Nevada expect their elected officials to follow the law and ensure the public trust.”
“Treasurer Marshall owes Nevadans an explanation for why she has failed them in this regard,” said Turns, “and the statement she provided in response to our allegations doesn’t come close to doing that.”
News of possible ethics violations surfaced yesterday when Nevada Republican Party Acting Chair Sherry Dilley issued a statement saying both Miller and Marshall had violated Nevada ethics laws according to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 281A which dictates that a public officer or employee is “prohibited from requesting or otherwise causing governmental entity to incur expense or make expenditure to support or oppose ballot question or candidate in certain circumstances.”
Dilley’s statement said both Miller and Marshall had listed their government phone numbers as the contact numbers for their respective re-election campaigns. The statement also said Miller had provided his government phone number and email address as contact information for his campaign’s financial disclosure reports.
“Secretary of State Miller and Treasurer Marshall are in clear violation of Nevada law and should be held responsible for their flagrant disregard for the ethical obligations they owe the people of Nevada,” Dilley said.
Steve Martin, former state controller and current Republican candidate for state treasurer, also criticized Miller and Marshall for their actions.
“It is outrageous that any elected official would use an elected office for campaign purposes, given the financial crisis we face as a state,” Martin said.
In 2004, then-state controller Kathy Augustine was fined $15,000 and was impeached by the Nevada Assembly for improper use of state resources.