Ethics Commission complaint dismissed |

Ethics Commission complaint dismissed

The Associated Press

Complaints that charged Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and state Sen. Mike Schneider with using their influence to restore the license of a homeopathic doctor have been tossed out by the Nevada Ethics Commission.

Ethics Commission members Erik Beyer and Jim Shaw said there was insufficient evidence to show Masto and Schneider broke ethics laws as a result of their inquiries into the license suspension of Daniel Royal. The complaints were filed by Edward T. Reed, a former deputy attorney general.

Reed had been assigned to monitor the Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners. Royal was president of the board.

According to an investigative report, Schneider asked Masto to look into the situation when an attempt to serve subpoenas on Royal and Dean Friesen was made in his office at the Legislature in 2007. Unknown to Masto, her office had been investigating the men.

Schneider also was accused of showing up at a board meeting to urge members not to remove Royal as president. He had been Royal’s patient for a month in 2005, according to an Ethics Commission report.

Later that year, the senator again asked Masto to look into the matter after Royal’s license was temporarily suspended on grounds he allowed Friesen, an unlicensed pharmacist, to practice homeopathy in his office.

Masto agreed after speaking with Schneider to have another deputy attorney general investigate the matter and based on her reports sought to have Royal’s license restored, according to Ethics Commission documents.

In other action, the commission decided to subpoena every chief of staff who worked for former Gov. Kenny Guinn or Gov. Jim Gibbons in efforts to determine whether former state nuclear projects chief Bob Loux was ever authorized to take a higher salary than lawmakers approved.

They will appear to give testimony at a March 12 hearing into whether Loux unethically raised his own salary without authorization.

During the Guinn Administration, lawmakers agreed to convert all positions in the governor’s office from unclassified to non-classified. That allows the governor to set salaries in his own office as long as he stays within budget.

If one of those chiefs of staff authorized it, Loux would have been within his rights to increase his annual pay.

Gibbons has had two chiefs of staff, Mike Dayton and Josh Hicks. In his two terms, Guinn had five: Pete Ernaut, Scott Scherer, Marybel Batjer, Mike Hillerby and Keith Munro.

Ethics Commission Director Patty Cafferata said all have been called to attend the hearing, as has Guinn. She said it’s up to Loux and his legal team to decide whether they want to subpoena Gibbons as well.