GOP chairman stands behind comments about impeached controller
March 7, 2006
CARSON CITY (AP) – Nevada Republican Party Chairman Paul Adams says he’s not apologizing for his criticism of impeached state Controller Kathy Augustine, who’s now running for state treasurer.
“While I may have spoken at an inappropriate forum, I do not apologize for the content and conviction of my comments,” said Adams, who proposed a state party rule to withhold GOP support for impeached politicians during a recent party gathering in Battle Mountain.
The Battle Mountain comments followed a party “Lincoln Day” dinner in Elko, and Adams said, “I thought that making a statement on party ethics at an event honoring Honest Abe would be appropriate.”
In Battle Mountain, Adams said the GOP needs “to stand for something” and Augustine’s presence on the 2006 ballot would “taint our ticket” and feed into Democratic attempts to portray the GOP as fostering a “culture of corruption.”
“If there are no consequences to unethical behavior, there is no point in having ethical standards,” Adams said in a statement circulated Tuesday, adding that he wanted to “set a minimum standard” for a GOP candidate to get party backing.
Adams also said he has been asked whether he violated former President Reagan’s “11th commandment” to not speak ill of another Republican, but that rule “is not a shield to avoid discussing issues relevant to a campaign.”
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“I fail to comprehend how setting standards for Republican candidates would be inappropriate or a topic that should not be seriously discussed,” he said.
The proposed party rule will be discussed at the GOP state convention scheduled for May 19-21 in Mesquite.
Augustine, who was present when Adams attacked her, pledged to file and run as a Republican.
“This is a free country,” said Augustine, the first constitutional officer in Nevada history to be impeached and convicted. “You’re entitled to run for anything you want to anytime you want to.”
Augustine pleaded guilty to three ethics violations in 2004 and was fined $15,000 by the state Ethics Commission for using her state employees and equipment in her 2002 re-election campaign.
The state Assembly then unanimously impeached her. The state Senate convicted her of one charge and censured her.