Guinn to announce decision on Augustine ethics case
September 29, 2004
Gov. Kenny Guinn has scheduled a 9 a.m. press conference in Las Vegas today to announce what he will do about ethics violations admitted by Controller Kathy Augustine.
Augustine admitted to willful violations of the state’s ethics laws in having her employees work on her re-election campaign for state controller. The Ethics Commission fined her $15,000 and voted to forward the case to the Nevada Legislature for possible impeachment proceedings.
The Legislature isn’t in session until February, so Guinn is the only one who can decide whether the case should proceed now. The governor has the exclusive power to call lawmakers into special session.
No elected official in Nevada has ever been impeached by the Legislature. Augustine admitted to three civil violations of ethics rules involving ordering her staff to do campaign work for her re-election two years ago, using state property and equipment for campaign purposes.
The Attorney General’s Office is still investigating whether her conduct and other evidence collected in a yearlong investigation of Augustine’s conduct warrant criminal charges. A felony conviction would automatically remove her from office.
Guinn has declined to say what he will do in the case. Augustine has been urged to resign her office by several prominent Republicans.
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Following the Sept. 22 Ethics Commission meeting, Augustine apologized but said she didn’t intend to resign and plans to defend herself if impeachment proceedings are ordered.