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ProgressNow Nevada

7473 W. Lake Mead Blvd. #100


Las Vegas, NV 89128
(702) 562-8120

March 28, 2011

Hon. Ross Miller


Secretary of State
Nevada State Capitol Building
101 N. Carson St., Suite 3
Carson City, NV 89701

Sec. Miller:

Pursuant to NRS 294A.420 and, if applicable, 294A.410, this letter formerly


complains that Ed Goedhart, Republican Assemblyman representing District 36, has
violated the black-out period for campaign contributions under NRS 294A.300. This
complaint is based, in part, upon an article entitled “Nevada Legislature’s Queen of Hearts
Proclaims: ‘Off with Her Head’”, written by Chuck Muth and published on March 14, 2011
on the website citizenoutreach.org. Pursuant to the Secretary’s authority under NRS
294A.420, complainant can offer additional information to assist in a determination on this
issue.
The article referenced above describes a scenario wherein a staff member of the
Legislature, identified by Mr. Muth as “Joan of Arc” or “Joan”, has been terminated from
her employment with the State. Mr. Muth believes this termination to be in retaliation for
Joan leaking privileged legislative emails to Citizen Outreach, a registered Nevada political
action committee and nonprofit organization. Mr. Muth describes that, in an attempt to get
Joan her position back, an affidavit was sworn by Mr. Muth stating that Joan had done
nothing wrong, and that “[Assemblyman] Goedhart then requested a meeting with [Clerk of
the Assembly] Furlong to give the notarized affidavit and request that Joan be given her job
back.” Mr. Muth also states that, “Assemblyman Goedhart wants Joan to continue working
out of his office.” Finally, Mr. Muth states that he, “made a couple of phone calls Friday
and raised enough money for Citizens Outreach to pay Joan to work for us as a “Special
Legislative Consultant” this week at the same rate of pay she was making as Assemblyman
Goedhart’s legislative assistant.” As a result of Mr. Muth’s actions and/or Citizen Outreach’s
efforts, “Joan returned to Assemblyman Goedhart’s office doing everything she was doing
before Susan Furlong fired her as a volunteer.”

I direct your attention to NRS 294A.300, which states in full:

NRS 294A.300 Legislator, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-Elect,


Governor or Governor-Elect prohibited from soliciting or accepting contributions
during certain period.

1. It is unlawful for a member of the Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor, the


Lieutenant Governor-Elect, the Governor or the Governor-Elect to solicit or
accept any monetary contribution, or solicit or accept a commitment to make
such a contribution for any political purpose during the period beginning:

(a) Thirty days before a regular session of the Legislature and ending 30 days after
the final adjournment of a regular session of the Legislature;

(b) Fifteen days before a special session of the Legislature is set to commence and
ending 15 days after the final adjournment of a special session of the Legislature,
if the Governor sets a specific date for the commencement of the special session
that is more than 15 days after the Governor issues the proclamation calling for
the special session; or

(c) The day after the Governor issues a proclamation calling for a special session of
the Legislature and ending 15 days after the final adjournment of a special session
of the Legislature if the Governor sets a specific date for the commencement of
the special session that is 15 or fewer days after the Governor issues the
proclamation calling for the special session.

2. This section does not prohibit the payment of a salary or other compensation or
income to a member of the Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor or the
Governor during a session of the Legislature if it is made for services provided as
a part of his or her regular employment or is additional income to which he or
she is entitled.

3. As used in this section, “political purpose” includes, without limitation, the


establishment of, or the addition of money to, a legal defense fund.

By his own admission, Mr. Muth does not dispute that the black-out period has been
in effect during the period in which Joan has been terminated and Mr. Muth and/or Citizen
Outreach has funded her reinstatement. Assemblyman Goedhart’s knowledge and approval
of Mr. Muth’s actions violate both the letter and spirit of NRS 294A.300.

NRS 294A.007 defines a contribution to include a “gift, loan, conveyance, deposit,


payment, transfer or distribution of money or of anything of value” for the payment by any
person of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a
candidate or political action committee, and for services rendered in-kind.

Under the circumstances set forth above, it is alleged that sufficient evidence exists
supporting a violation of NRS 294A.300. Assuming Mr. Muth is truthful in his description,
it cannot be alleged that Mr. Goedhart has no knowledge of the scheme to hire Joan back,
no knowledge that she now works in his office, and no knowledge that her salary is funded
by Mr. Muth and/or Citizen Outreach PAC’s in-kind contribution. A contribution has been
made and Joan has been re-hired for the benefit of Assemblyman Goedhart. Joan is not a
volunteer under NRS 294A.007. Mr. Goedhart has solicited and accepted the illegal
contribution, evidenced by the fact that Joan has resumed her position in his office. Such a
scenario is exactly that which NRS 294A.300 is intended to prevent. Lawmakers must be
independent in their judgment and free of the influence of campaign contributions during
session, and the actions of Mr. Goedhart and Mr. Muth undermine the integrity of the
legislative process. Based upon this, it is requested that a fine be issued as deemed
appropriate and that any contribution made in violation of the NRS be deposited into the
State General Fund.

Finally, it should be noted that Mr. Muth states that Joan’s latest responsibility after
being rehired is to forward to Citizen Outreach any legislative emails that may interest the
PAC. Should information surface that privileged communications have been compromised
under this scheme, complainant requests a criminal investigation be opened under 294A.410.

Sincerely,

Erin Neff
Executive Director