LAS VEGAS — Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said the leader of the Assembly Republican Caucus had no grounds to oust her from her second-in-command leadership position two weeks ago, and said she plans to keep the job unless she’s formally voted out.
The Las Vegas lawmaker’s defiant statement Friday continues a power struggle among Assembly Republicans that began shortly after they gained control of the lower house in November. Assembly Speaker-elect John Hambrick announced he’d replaced Fiore as majority leader and taxation committee chair, and he called a vote for Monday in Carson City to decide her fate as majority leader.
“You were elected by the Assembly Republican Caucus as the Speaker-designee, not as an all-powerful potentate,” Fiore said in an open letter to Hambrick that was posted to her campaign website, along with a fundraising pitch. “There is no rule in the Assembly Standing Rules that allows you to arbitrarily remove me from an elected caucus position.”
Hambrick told The Associated Press on Friday that he didn’t want to comment publicly on the matter.
Hambrick replaced her with Assemblyman Paul Anderson on Dec. 18 amid reports that the IRS had filed hundreds of thousands of dollars in liens against her in the past decade. He appointed Assemblyman Derek Armstrong to fill her seat as chair of the taxation committee.
Hambrick criticized Fiore’s public response to the tax lien flap. In interviews on radio and television, she publicly accused two Republican consultants of conspiring against her and said people were afraid of her
“I found that Michele’s explanations of her IRS issues were unacceptable,” Hambrick said in a statement. “They left unanswered questions, were full of deflections and slanderous allegations that have left our caucus further divided.”