Taxpayers shouldn’t foot impeachment bill
November 2, 2004
Should Kathy Augustine have to pay for being impeached? Better her than the taxpayers of Nevada.
Augustine, the state’s controller who admitted in September to using state employees for campaign work and was fined $15,000 by the Ethics Commission, now seems to be in denial when it comes to the seriousness of her violations.
She refuses to resign, which is her prerogative.
In making that decision, however, she made a curious claim: That she was unaware of the activities of the people in her office on behalf of her re-election campaign. In a letter to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, she wrote that she “should have known” what was going on but had no “actual knowledge that any ethics rule or law was being breached.”
Then why did she admit to “willful” violations of the law – and head off a hearing in which the Ethics Commission would have heard witnesses on the record testify to the violations?
Now comes an opinion from the director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau that Augustine could be billed as much as $15,000 a day for staff time incurred during impeachment hearings, which are set to start next week in Carson City.
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To that, her attorney says it doesn’t sound reasonable or logical because “we aren’t the ones who want the impeachment.” We say, tell it to the judge.
In this case, the Nevada Legislature will be judge and jury. It will be the first such impeachment hearing in the state’s history. We expect legislators to be fair, unbiased and nonpartisan in deciding the case.
More than Augustine’s reputation is on the line; so is Nevada’s.
If legislators find she has violated her oath of office and the trust placed in her by voters, then she should suffer the consequences and bear the cost.
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