Preparations under way for Augustine impeachment
Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau’s division heads met Thursday afternoon to prepare for what could be a Nov. 8 special session to consider impeaching Controller Kathy Augustine.
Executive Director Lorne Malkiewich called the meeting in the Senate leadership offices to start putting together alternatives for handling the impeachment in each house. He has said before that because Nevada has never impeached a constitutional officer, the rules aren’t well defined. How the Assembly proceeds in developing and voting on articles of impeachment and how the Senate tries the case if that happens will be pretty much up to leadership.
In addition to his own division chiefs – including Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes – Malkiewich was joined by Claire Clift, secretary of the Senate, and Nancy Tribble, chief clerk of the Assembly.
Augustine was sanctioned by the state Ethics Commission after admitting three willful violations involving using her staff, office and equipment in her 2002 re-election campaign. As part of the ruling, the commission forwarded a report to the Legislature.
Gov. Kenny Guinn has stated he will call a special session early next month to consider impeachment unless Augustine resigns.
Augustine and her lawyers, Dominic Gentile and John Arrascada, have made it clear she has no intention of resigning and plans to fight any attempt to kick her out of office.
Malkiewich said the governor has not given him a specific date yet, but he is taking the governor at his word and plans to have everything ready if necessary by Monday, Nov. 8.
He said researchers and the legal division have been in contact with the seven or eight other states which have “done impeachment” and the bureau’s job will be to put together alternative ways.
“We’ll propose several alternatives to leadership, and they’ll choose how to proceed,” he said. “We’ll be working with them pretty much constantly.”
As part of the effort, work crews remodeling and updating the Assembly and Senate chambers were told to get them ready for operation as soon as possible. One worker said what was a month-long schedule has been cut to a week.
In addition, Assembly Sergeant at Arms Terry Sullivan and his deputy Robin Bates were already in their office preparing both for the regular session as well as a special session. Their Senate counterparts were expected to follow.
“We’ll be ready,” Malkiewich said.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.