Augustine has no plans to resign despite violations | NevadaAppeal.com

Augustine has no plans to resign despite violations

The attorney for Nevada state Controller Kathy Augustine said Thursday he doesn’t expect the Attorney General’s Office to file criminal charges in connection with accusations she violated the state’s code of ethics.

John Arrascada of Reno also said Augustine has no intention of resigning her office “at this point.”

Attorney General Brian Sandoval on Wednesday filed a complaint with the state Commission on Ethics charging Augustine committed ethical violations, including using her office staff to work on her re-election campaign in 2002. Neither Sandoval nor Arrascada would detail the charges in the complaint.

Arrascada confirmed that Augustine will file a stipulation admitting she willfully violated the ethical code.

“At this point, I do not anticipate criminal charges,” he said.

Whatever happens as a result of the complaint could take as long as three months to emerge from the Ethics Commission. Augustine has 10 days from the filing of the complaint to respond, after which Ethics Commission Director Stacey Jennings has 30 days to review and investigate the allegations. Then a panel of the commission has 10 days to make a recommendation to the full commission, which has 30 days to act.

Altogether that’s 80 days, but Arrascada said he doesn’t believe it will take that long.

“Our intention is to move this along as expeditiously as possible,” he said.

He said much of what happens will remain confidential until a final decision is reached because of the law governing the commission.

“The bottom line is, once something is referred to the Ethics Commission, all matters are confidential until the commission makes a ruling,” he said.

If the Ethics Commission rules her violation “willful” – as she agreed to stipulate – it must notify the Legislature so it can consider whether to impeach her.

Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Lorne Malkiewich said his staff is working on procedures in the event the case goes to the Legislature.

Contact Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.