Challengers To Nevada Attorney General Claim Politics In Her Term, Incumbent Says She Makes Decisions On Legal Merits

A debate today among the three candidates for Nevada attorney general focused on a disputed ad discussing a decades old criminal conviction of the Republican seeking the post and allegations of political favoritism by the incumbent, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

An ad being run by Masto about Republican Travis Barrick citing his arrest and jail sentence for “harassing women” was the first topic of conversation for the three candidates appearing on Jon Ralston’s Face To Face television program.

Barrick said the criminal trespassing conviction, which happened two decades ago, was the result of his protesting a California clinic that was performing illegal late-term abortions.

Barrick said he would not back down from his actions, which he said came about because the “rule of law” was being ignored in California by the attorney general and other law enforcement officials.

“It’s a badge of honor for me,” he said.

Masto said Nevada voters deserve to know that Barrick, who is running for the top law enforcement position in the state, has a criminal record and served jail time.

Masto said she has principles and values she upholds every day without violating the law.

“You don’t get to make a decision on who you are going to protect and who you are not going to protect,” she said.

Joel Hansen, the Independent American Party candidate for the position, said Masto’s views on Barrick’s actions contradict her actions when she failed to follow Nevada law by filing a lawsuit against the federal health care reform law when asked to do so by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

“I think it is pretty hypocritical of General Masto to criticize Mr. Barrick when she committed a misdemeanor when she refused to sue on Obamacare after she’d been ordered to do so by the governor,” he said. “The Nevada statute says that she has to file suit if the governor tells her to and it is a misdemeanor if she doesn’t.”

Masto said that as attorney general, she has to evaluate whether to file legal actions, even if requested by the governor as her client. Masto said she evaluates whether to take action on a case based on merit, not politics.

“You have a professional responsibility based on the license as the attorney,” she said. “I’m the attorney in this particular instance. I was elected independently from the governor. You look at the legal merits, that’s what the attorney general does.”

Barrick said:  “The arrogance of her statement to say that that lawsuit has no merit is breathtaking.”

Hansen said he has filed a private class action lawsuit against the healthcare law that identifies numerous violations of the U.S. Constitution.

“It is not frivolous,” he said. “There is nothing frivolous about this. The only thing frivolous is her statement that it is frivolous.”

A federal judge in Florida ruled last week that the lawsuit against the healthcare law filed by 20 states, including Nevada, could proceed.

The debate also touched on Masto’s failed prosecution of Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki for allegedly misusing college savings funds while serving as state Treasurer.

Hansen said the prosecution had the appearance of being politically motivated.

Masto denied any political motivation for the prosecution, which was dismissed by a Clark County district judge late last year.

Audio clips:

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says voters deserve to know about her opponent’s criminal record:

101910Masto :10 next attorney general.”

GOP Attorney General candidate Travis Barrick says he served his time for trespassing and moved on:

101910Barrick :05 with my life.”

IAP Attorney General candidate Joel Hansen says Masto’s ad against Barrick is hypocritical:

101910Hansen :24 if she doesn’t.”

  • Geezelouise

    Masto is just as ethically challenged as the rest of the lawyers in Nevada. She needs to be replaced.

  • YOUR RIGHT

    Masto’s deputy district attorney Victor Schulze is currently withholding evidence in a child abuse case. Schulze is asking the case be dismissed even though Masto brought the case. All of us victims of DA Masto are filing suit against her soon. We prefer to do it after she steps down. Given she won’t even though she’s committing category C felonies under NRS 239, we are proceeding.

  • Linda Blackman

    Nevadans need to know the other side of the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94rDLhw7qaM

  • Jae

    I am so glad to see the “other side of the story” getting out. Masto and her money should not allow her to buy the election.

  • Jack the Jerk

    Masto is a political hack. She needs to go! The real reason she wouldn’t file a lawsuit on behalf of the people of Nevada is because she beholding to Dirty Harry Reid. Also, the bogus charges against Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki were politically motivated costing Nevadans thousands of dollars. Travis is a man of integrity and honor that will serve us well.

  • Tonja Brown

    AG Masto needs to go====right to prison for conspiring to conceal a crime that led to the wrongful conviction and death of an innocent man. A Wrongful death suit will be filed next week by the law office of Hager and Hearne. Masto was given the documents months before Mr. Nolan Klein’s death and she did nothing but protect the illegal acts of the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office. The Writ of Mandamus was heard on 9-30-10 by Judge Flanagan. The Writ, court proceedings, etc. can be found on the JusticeForNolanKlein.com web site. VOTE FOR TRAVIS BARRICK!

  • Tonja Brown

    Have you seen AG M asto’s Ad against Travis Barrick? Is protesting ILLEGAL LATE TERM ABORTIONS really harrassing women? You decide.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94rDLhw7qaM

  • Mark Hough

    Mastro and Co. will not respond to the unlawful prosecution & deportation of the above British Citizen and 25 year resident LPR of the State of Nevada. follow JUSTICE4MGH on twitter.