Ethics Commission considering fee on candidates to cover budget

The Nevada Commission on Ethics is considering asking the governor and Legislature to impose a fee on candidates who file for office.

The idea was raised by commissioner Paul Lamboley who said it would help support the commission budget, which, because of extensive hearings, is nearly $100,000 in the red this year.

He said candidates should consider the fee of $15-$25 "as part of the filing fees " a stipend."

He said they should support the concept since the commission "exists not only for the general public but for the public officers who hold office."

"While the governor has a view about no new taxes, I don't think this reaches into that situation," he said.

Chairman Mark Hutchison said the idea is worth investigating further.

"We are asking elected officials to levy a fee on themselves," he said. "I don't know how it would go over."

Commissioner Erik Byer, a former legislator, questioned how far down the fee would reach and how it would be seen by the public. He said he sees the need for the commission to have proper funding to do its job of overseeing ethical issues and challenges against elected and appointed public officials.

"But to me, it's still another tax."

He questioned whether it should apply to small local officials such as general improvement district members.

Commissioner George Keele said he sees the proposed fee more as a pass-through to pay for the services the commission provides.

"In my opinion, this is not a tax."

Lamboley said his original idea was to apply the fee to candidates who actually have a filing fee requirement such as legislative contenders.

The commission directed Executive Director Patty Cafferata to take a look at how much such a fee might generate and look at which offices it should apply to, then bring some data back to the commission for consideration later this year. The vote was unanimous.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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