Adam Laxalt’s financial revelations raise fitness questions

Bradley Schrager

Adam Laxalt is running to represent the people of Nevada in the U.S. Senate, but it’s increasingly difficult to assign him basic suitability for the position — not only because of his continued electoral denial, but also his now long record. questionable financial problems. relationships.

As Nevada Attorney General, Laxalt was caught up in a notorious pay-to-play systemwith secret audio tapes in which he was heard lobbying the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board over a private lawsuit – all to benefit one of the world’s richest men and biggest contributor to the Laxalt campaign, the late Sheldon Adelson.

Earlier in his term he tried to using his office to arrest investigators to look into organizations backed by Koch Brothers, who later rewarded him with millions in campaign aid. Then, amid his failed gubernatorial run in 2018, Laxalt was part of a campaign finance scandal involving illegal foreign contributions from the memorable Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, at whose federal trial Laxalt recently spent an uncomfortable few days on the witness stand.

Despite these recurring problems (or maybe, who knows, because of them), Laxalt found a very lucrative position at the law firm Cooper & Kirk in Washington, DC. This longtime conservative business has incubated the political careers of Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton in years past, and now Laxalt’s personal financial disclosure shows he’s made $2.2 million there over the past two years. . Not bad for a mid-career attorney whose legal abilities have compared to a locomotive disaster at the hands of his employers here in Nevada.

But the list of clients he maintained at Cooper & Kirk shows that it may not have been Laxalt’s legal genius that made him his small fortune. Among his clients are the far-right media outlet Breitbart; a pressure group supported by one of its major campaign donors; and timeshare company Starpoint Resort Group, another loyal contributor to the Laxalt campaign.

During this time, Cooper & Kirk represented payday lenders, Big Oil, Wall Street banks and a pharmaceutical company profiting hugely from the insulin price scam. These are the sources of Cooper & Kirk’s partner profits and Laxalt’s windfall.

Also of concern is Laxalt’s work for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, a lobbying firm funded by Adelson, and which Laxalt listed as one of his sources of personal compensation in his disclosure. He also made money from “BestBet Jacksonville”, also linked to Adelson’s company and essential to his efforts to expand into the Florida markets.

It is unclear what Laxalt did for these customers. Often, lawyers like Laxalt are not expected to do anything at firms like these because they represent future political investments rather than being useful and effective working lawyers. He has not registered as a lobbyist, but many former politicians simply avoid or ignore these requirements, or falsify their job descriptions, usually without consequence. (Anyone who spends less than 20% of their working time lobbying does not have to register as a lobbyist, but that does not change the nature of that work – it just removes the registration requirement and makes this individual a “shadow lobbyist”.)

Laxalt no longer touts its work at Cooper & Kirk on its campaign website. Maybe being a lawyer in Washington isn’t the kind of thing that works well with working Nevadans every day; perhaps that underscores his DC roots more than puts him at ease. But he apparently continues to work for the company while running for the Senate and gladly accepts contributions from company members and customers.

Certainly, Cooper & Kirk wish him well this fall. His clients can always use another former Cooper attorney in the US Senate, especially one as willing to shop around as Adam Laxalt has always shown himself.

Bradley Schrager is an election attorney at Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP, in Las Vegas. The firm has represented a variety of Nevada Democrats in various elections, legislative and electoral matters.