Assembly votes to impeach Controller Kathy Augustine
The Nevada Assembly voted this morning impeach Controller Kathy Augustine on charges she abused the public trust and misused her office in winning re-election two years ago.
The impeachment was made on a voice vote by a committee of the whole, which consists of all members of the Assembly. There was no opposition. The impeachment will become official after the articles of impeachment are formally drafted.
That sends the question of whether to remove her from office to the state Senate.
Augustine is the first Nevada Constitutional Officer in history to be impeached.
The vote came after a closing statement by Augustine’s lawyer John Arrascada who charged that the attorney general’s office was guilty of conflict of interest in acting as prosecutor and that the evidence against her was “replete with hearsay, innuendo and argument.” He charged that the proceeding was flawed and that Augustine’s rights and those of the state of Nevada were being abused.
Augustine’s defense refused to present witnesses with co-counsel dominic Gentile charging that the attorney general’s participation “polluted” the record in the case.
Majority leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, made the motion to impeach stating the Assembly was left little choice in the face of testimony Augustine forced her staff to work on her campaign and at least one staffer spent the majority of her state time on the campaign, that office work suffered because of it and that that equipment in that office was used extensively to support the 2002 campaign effort.
The articles of impeachment were based on the same three violations Augustine admitted to before the Nevada Commission on Ethics. The commission fined her $15,000 for the violations.
The case will be tried by the state Senate after a 10 day recess to give her defense time to prepare. If convicted, the Senate could, on a two thirds vote, remove Augustine from office — making her the first Nevada constitutional officer in history to be kicked out of office for violations of the law.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.