Laxalt looks to pursue interests of Nevadans more than Miller in AG race
The race for attorney general of Nevada matches two scions of political families, Ross Miller, son of former Gov. Bob Miller, and Adam Laxalt, grandson of Paul Laxalt, who served as both governor of and U.S. senator from Nevada.
Their genes are irrelevant, but their records and philosophies are telling.
Democrat Miller is term limited from seeking re-election as secretary of state and is seeking to move into another of the statewide constitutional offices. Republican Laxalt was a Navy lawyer who served as prosecutor and general counsel and volunteered to go to Iraq. For the past several years he has worked for a Las Vegas law firm.
Unlike the current attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto, both candidates said they would have followed the governor’s constitutional order to file litigation in federal court over the imposition of ObamaCare.
On the issue of federal public lands that affect the economy of rural Nevada, Laxalt has promised to “aggressively file lawsuits against Fish and Wildlife and the EPA regarding the sage grouse.” He noted that the Oklahoma attorney general has a filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the sage grouse listing effort.
He said he would push to give the state more control of federal lands, possibly using a 1996 vote of the citizens of Nevada to do just that as a springboard. He noted that in the East the federal government controls less than 5 percent of the land but 85 percent of the land in Nevada, even though a recent task force found Nevada could profit from control of the land.
Showing his Republican bona fides, Laxalt noted, “President Obama and his federal agencies have trampled more rights and pushed further into our lives than any president in history. They’ve ignored every check and balance in our constitutional system. The attorney general is the only elected office in the country right now that can effectively provide a check against this federal overreach.”
Laxalt also noted Miller’s partisan behavior as secretary of state, often aggressively litigating against conservative groups that failed to register as political action committees and file intrusive financial reports of spending and contributions.
In 2011 a judge slapped Miller’s wrists for a shoddy interpretation of the law that would have given Democrats a political advantage in a special election to fill a vacant congressional seat.
Miller also voted to give more than $1 million in tax money to a company that installs solar panels in competition with existing Nevada companies.
We believe Laxalt as attorney general would aggressively pursue the interests of Nevada over that of power-grabbing federal bureaucrats and, therefore, endorse his candidacy.
Schwartz offers best plan for how to invest in Nevada’s future
The office of treasurer is another of this year’s musical chairs.
Treasurer Kate Marshall is term limited from seeking re-election as treasurer, so the seat is being contested for by Democrat Kim Wallin, who is term limited from seeking re-election as controller, and Republican Dan Schwartz, a private businessman with 35 years of financial and investment experience.
Wallin is a graduate of UNLV with a business degree and major in accounting. Schwartz holds an MBA in finance from Columbia and is a member of the Illinois Bar.
The treasurer oversees issuing state-backed bonds, is responsible for returning unclaimed property to its rightful owner, managing scholarship funds such as the Millennium Scholarship and, perhaps most importantly, investing the state’s general fund money that is not needed immediately to pay the bills.
Schwartz points out that Wallin is an accountant and not an expert in investing. “The accountant counts the money, the treasurer invests it …” he said. “Look at what Kate Marshall has done. She’s a lawyer. She actually loses money on the general fund,” noting that her investments don’t generate enough return to cover fees and inflation.
Schwartz said one problem with state investments is that there is a prohibition against investing in the stock market, where money could earn 2 to 9 percent a year, and he would like to see that changed. He noted the state retirement system invests in stocks and earned more than 17 percent this past year.
“We Nevadans are short-changing ourselves,” he said, admitting it could be risky in the short-term but not so much in the long-term.
In a radio debate Wallin and Schwartz took opposite stands on the Silver State Opportunity Fund, a $50 million private equity fund, which invests money from the Nevada Permanent School Fund. Wallin defended the fund as long-term investment. Schwartz derided it as a highly risky short-term boondoggle. He says it might generate $200,000 in revenue but cost $600,000 to $1 million in fees and marketing expenses.
Schwartz, if elected, would shut down the fund and use the money to create a microloan program for Nevada businesses that would create jobs and restore funding for the Millennium Scholarship, which is rapidly running out of money.
We believe Schwartz has the experience and knowledge of the investment world that would better serve the state’s bottom line and encourage voters to act accordingly.