Laxalt was caught on tape trying to get the state gaming regulator to intervene in a lawsuit on behalf of his top donor, Sheldon Adelson, and was asked to recuse himself from the case, which Las Vegas Sands settled for over $75 million.
In February 2017, The Nevada Independent reported that the Gaming Control Board chairman had secretly taped a conversation with Laxalt and turned it over to the FBI because of the “unusual urgency” with which Laxalt sought the meeting. Laxalt proceeded to press the chairman to intervene in a private lawsuit on behalf of Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands.
The Nevada Assembly Ways and Means Committee subpoenaed the recording and held a hearing on Laxalt’s actions at which he testified. During the hearing, it was revealed that the Gaming Control Board asked Laxalt to remove himself as their legal counsel on this case due to the obvious conflict of interest that surfaced from the tape.
When reporters tried to ask Laxalt about the recording, he ran away.
Laxalt has failed to stand up for Nevada’s marijuana industry, which Adelson spent millions trying to keep from becoming legal.
Laxalt’s biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, “essentially self-funded the fight against the campaign to stop the ballot measure” to legalize marijuana, donating over 97 percent of the total raised by the anti-legalization group.
Laxalt went against Gov. Sandoval to twice urge the federal government to interpret an online gambling law in a way Adelson favored.
“I am very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law in our leading industry. At its core, this is a state’s rights issue and I disagree with the Attorney General that a federal government one-size-fits-all solution is in the best interest of Nevada.”
Sandoval’s statement prompted longtime Nevada journalist Steve Sebelius to ask “Why would Laxalt — up until now a committed state’s rights guy — endorse more federal authority?”
#AskLaxalt why he’s crossed ethical lines to do Sheldon Adelson’s bidding.
Laxalt has received at least $175,000 from Sheldon Adelson, his relatives, or his properties since 2014. In 2018, Adelson has given Laxalt’s campaign a total of $30,000 from three of his Las Vegas properties. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson each personally gave the maximum to Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign in 2017, totaling $20,000. Sheldon and Miriam gave $25,000 to Laxalt’s PAC, Morning in Nevada, in 2015, and the Las Vegas Sands gave his PAC $25,000 in 2016 and $20,000 in 2017. Laxalt’s 2014 attorney general campaign received $30,000 from the Las Vegas Sands and $25,000 from the Adelson family.