State GOP chairman supports a rule targeting impeached official
BATTLE MOUNTAIN (AP) – Nevada Republican Party Chairman Paul Adams is pressing for a new party rule that would withhold GOP support for impeached politicians.
At a party gathering in Battle Mountain, Adams sharply criticized state Controller Kathy Augustine’s run for state treasurer after she became the first constitutional officer in Nevada history to be impeached and convicted.
“We as a party need to stand for something,” he said Saturday. “We are a party that was incensed over the actions of Bill Clinton.
“If you have certain things in your background, you should be disqualified for office. You should not be running as a Republican,” Adams said.
Augustine’s presence on the ballot would “taint our ticket” and feed into Democratic attempts to portray the GOP as fostering a “culture of corruption,” Adams added.
Augustine, who was present when Adams attacked her, pledged to file and run as a Republican.
“This is a free country,” she said. “You’re entitled to run for anything you want to anytime you want to.”
Later in the day, she told a gathering in Winnemucca: “If the charges against me were so egregious, do you think I would be standing here today as your state controller? If I had done something so terribly wrong, do you think I would have had the fortitude and courage to go through such a horrendous ordeal?”
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.
Other statewide GOP candidates in Battle Mountain were split over Adams’ proposal calling for the GOP to “neither support nor recognize any candidate for office who when serving as an elected official was impeached and convicted.”
Augustine’s opponent, Mark DeStefano, refused to comment. Both Rep. Jim Gibbons, a gubernatorial candidate, and Attorney General George Chanos declined to take a position.
“I think it was the wrong time to bring up when we’re trying to celebrate Lincoln,” Gibbons told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “We all abide by an ethical standard. It’s up to the voters to decide.”
State Sen. Bob Beers, another candidate for governor, defended Augustine. He voted against all three counts against her in the impeachment trial.
But state Treasurer Brian Krolicki, who’s running for lieutenant governor, and Secretary of State Dean Heller, a congressional candidate, agree impeached officials shouldn’t run for office.
“It’s unfortunate we should even have to put it in the party plank,” Krolicki told the Gazette-Journal. “It shouldn’t even be a question.”
Adams plans to introduce the proposed bylaw at the state GOP convention March 18.
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