Las Vegas Sun

November 27, 2014

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Horsford: Complaint motivated by politics

CARSON CITY -- A campaign complaint filed in March against Sen. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, was penned by Chaz Higgs, the husband of state Controller Kathy Augustine.

Horsford was one of Augustine's harshest critics during her recent impeachment trial, but Augustine said she didn't ask her husband to file the complaint against Horsford.

Augustine did, however, say she had been aware of several discrepencies in Horsford's campaign reports.

"I wasn't going to file the complaint," Augustine, a Republican, said. "I guess he (Higgs) just figured after everything that's happened, and Horsford being one of my most vocal critics, he was going to file a complaint."

Augustine said that Higgs, a nurse, stood by her during her impeachment trial on charges that she forced state employees to work on her campaign. The Assembly impeached her on the charges, and the Senate found her guilty on one charge of misusing state resources and censured her. She remained in office.

Horsford, a freshman senator, consistently said during the hearings that Augustine was in the wrong. He also introduced a bill that would have prohibited state officials from having employees work on their campaigns, though Senate Bill 162 died in the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee.

In his letter to Secretary of State Dean Heller, Higgs pointed out two of Horsford's contributions that were attributed to "unknown" donors. Horsford said that one, for $1,000, was money he gave to his campaign. Another, for $500, was not a contribution, as it had been listed, but money he had given to a campaign worker for reimbursement of expenses, he said.

There were about 10 other donations that listed the names but not the addresses of the donors, Horsford said. Those names were sometimes listed without addresses on several different reports, he said.

State law requires all donor addresses to be listed on campaign reports.

It also requires anonymous contributions of more than $100 to be turned over to a nonprofit group or the state treasurer.

Horsford said the information wasn't given to his CPA in the first place, and he has filed amended reports.

"I regret the fact that we weren't able to have all the information that was brought to my attention," Horsford said. "But it's been corrected. I take full responsibility."

If Heller is not satisfied with Horsford's response, Horsford could be fined up to $5,000 per violation.