After His Own Team Admits Lombardo Violated Ethics Law To Boost His Campaign, Governor Hit With Historic Fine, Censure

Yesterday, Governor Joe Lombardo was found to have violated Nevada ethics laws and received a historic fine of $20,000 and a censure. Despite requesting a postponed hearing in order to replace two members of the Nevada Ethics Commission – both of whom refused to recuse themselves from the hearing – Lombardo’s own legal team admitted he used his law enforcement uniform and badge to boost his run for Governor, which the commission ruled as a clear violation of state law prohibiting candidates from using government resources for their personal campaigns.

Nevada State Democratic Party Executive Director Hilary Barrett released the following statement:

“This historic ethics fine and censure made clear Joe Lombardo knowingly used his uniform and badge in campaign ads for the sole purpose of boosting his political candidacy. From willfully flouting the law, to postponing an ethics hearing just to stack the commission with his own appointees, Lombardo has never acted as if the law applied to him. ‘Law and Order’ is just a campaign slogan for Lombardo.”

Read more about Lombardo’s ethics violations:

Associated Press: Nevada governor censured, but avoids hefty fines for using his sheriff uniform during campaign

  • While Nevada Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo still faces a $20,000 fine and a censure for wearing his sheriff’s uniform and badge in campaign materials — which a state board said violates a law prohibiting candidates from using government resources for their personal campaigns — he avoided nearly $1.67 million in fines initially recommended.
  • Ross Armstrong, executive director of the Nevada Commission on Ethics, originally asserted Lombardo wracked up 68 ethics law violations stemming from 34 social media posts. Each contained at least one of four images of Lombardo wearing his sheriff’s badge or uniform. Armstrong argued each post violated two state statutes.
  • Attorney Elizabeth Bassett argued in the three-and-a-half hour hearing that Lombardo’s sheriff’s badge was an example of government-owned property that gave him an unwarranted advantage on the campaign trail. Wearing the uniform and badge insinuated Lombardo had the endorsement of his public office in what she called a “willful” and repeated violation of state law.
  • “The civil penalties of this amount, or even near this amount, would in fact be unprecedented,” Bassett said. “However, the subject’s conduct in these matters were unprecedented and therefore requires and equivalent penalty.”

Las Vegas Sun: Lombardo fined $20K for ethical lapses in Nevada governor campaign

  • The Nevada Ethics Commission fined Gov. Joe Lombardo $20,000 and censured him Tuesday after the panel determined his gubernatorial campaign “willfully” engaged in numerous ethics violations stemming from the use of his badge and uniform as then-Clark County sheriff.
  • The panel voted 4-2 following nearly six hours of arguments between attorneys representing the commission and Lombardo, ruling ultimately the governor had engaged in four violations of ethics law. Elizabeth Bassett, associate counsel for the commission’s executive director, Ross Armstrong, asserted Lombardo’s campaign “knowingly and repeatedly” used a mix of four photos of him donned in his Metro Police uniform in approximately 34 social media posts throughout his gubernatorial campaign.
  • The ruling comes roughly a week after Lombardo appointed two new members to the commission — former commission chair and Nevada System of Higher Education Regent John Moran III, and former Metro Police officer and ex-state Republican Sen. Stan Olsen — whose terms began July 1. Those two voted against sanctioning the governor. Commissioners Barbara Gruenewald, a Democrat, and vice chair Brian Duffrin, a nonpartisan, were precluded from voting because they served on the review panel that referred the case to the commission, Armstrong told the Sun in an email after the hearing.

KTNV: Gov. Lombardo fined $20,000 for ethics violation

  • Governor Joe Lombardo is set to pay $20,000 in fines for ethics violations. That’s due to wearing Lombardo using photos of himself in uniform while campaigning for the Governor’s office.
  • The Nevada Commission on Ethics handed down the ruling Tuesday afternoon.
  • Attorney Elizabeth Bassett with the Ethic Commission pointed out the commission consistently said the law prohibits Nevada sheriffs from using their uniforms, badges, and other government-owned equipment to support any campaign, including their own.

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Lombardo ordered to pay $20K for ethics violation

  • Joe Lombardo has been ordered to pay $20,000 and will be censured after the Nevada Commission on Ethics found he violated state law with “willfulness” by using his sheriff’s badge and uniform during his campaign for governor.
  • Stanley Olsen and John Moran III, members who were appointed to the board by Lombardo and began their terms on July 1, were the only no votes.
  • Bassett, who represented Armstrong during the hearing, said that by wearing his sheriff’s uniform in campaign materials, Lombardo gave the appearance that the law enforcement agency was backing him.
  • “This commission has consistently held that the ethics law prohibits Nevada sheriffs from using their uniforms, badges and other equipment of their office, all of which are government property, in support of any campaign, including their own,” Bassett said.

KLAS: Lombardo fined $20,000 for campaign ethics violations, censured in split ruling

  • Gov. Joe Lombardo was hit with a $20,000 fine Tuesday for violating campaign ethics laws and censured for using photos that showed him in his Clark County sheriff’s uniform.
  • Going into the hearing of the Nevada Commission on Ethics in Carson City, Lombardo was facing an unprecedented $1.665 million fine, a censure and the assignment of an ethics officer in the Governor’s Office. The punishment was reduced and the number of violations was revised to four — one for each of the photos in question, rather than 68 — the number of posts featuring the photos on Facebook and Twitter.
  • In Bassett’s view, the crime and the punishment were clear. She said the facts in the case were not in dispute, that Lombardo appeared in uniform in campaign photos — a willful violation of the election ethics, using government property to further his campaign.


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