Nevada AG Adam Laxalt

Relatives of Nevada Gubernatorial Candidate Adam Laxalt Campaign For His Opponent

It is election season here in the United States, the midterms only about a month away. Every so often, I ponder running for some sort of public office, but that thought leaves my brain after about 30 seconds, as I remember I would in no way want to either campaign or hold office. Plus, I would never win an election. Still, I know that I would at least get a few votes from my family, which is more than I can say for Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican who is currently running for governor.

CNN reports that seven of Laxalt’s family members attended a fundraiser for his Democratic opponent, Steve Sisolak, speaking out strongly against him in the process. The fundraiser was hosted by Kristin and Monique Laxalt, cousins of the Attorney General.

Adam Laxalt

“We feel an obligation to speak out in opposition to Adam Laxalt’s candidacy,” Monique Laxalt said at the event. “Lest there be any misunderstanding, that because he carries our family name, that he represents our family’s values.”

Why is this something of interest for a poker news site? Adam Laxalt, despite his lofty position in the gambling capital of the United States (and the world), is an opponent of online poker. He’s a Sheldon Adelson jock-sniffer. In both 2015 and 2016, he signed a letter with a few other states’ attorneys general supporting Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), a bill which would cement the old, incorrect interpretation of the Wire Act, making online gambling illegal. The original Wire Act only addressed sports betting, which the Department of Justice clarified in late 2011.

Laxalt tried to explain his position, speaking with Jon Ralston on “Ralston Live” in November 2015:

There’s a couple giant exceptions to this, alright? One is Congress spoke on this issue and had an existing Wire Act, ok? And then Attorney General Holder issued an opinion a few days before Christmas some years ago and changed that landscape. He changed that landscape without gaming companies, without law enforcement, without all the parties that should’ve been involved to make sure that we can keep consumers safe and all this can be done properly. So, I think obviously in this case we’re looking to return it back to what the status quo was, that Congress passed, and, you know, the other thing is obviously gaming is a different animal. You know, you have, you need to know where the sources of money are coming from and you need to make sure you can police this area.

You might need to re-read that a few times to understand it.

While I would disagree, I could understand if someone wanted an online gambling ban on moral grounds. But Laxalt’s opposition to online poker – in Nevada – seems to be one of political convenience. Sheldon Adelson formed the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) to push RAWA on Capitol Hill. Lobbying firm j3 Strategies, which Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., works with frequently, helped get CSIG up and running.

Adam Laxalt’s sister, Tessa Laxalt, works at j3 Strategies. She began as an intern in 2015 and is currently an Associate; one of her clients has been Las Vegas Sands Corp. j3 Strategies also coordinated Adam Laxalt’s 2014 campaign for Attorney General. I wonder how his sister got that job? I do not at all wonder why Adam Laxalt is in Sheldon Adelson’s pocket.

Back to the family members that do not like Adam Laxalt, Monique Laxalt had some harsh words about her cousin at the fundraiser:

“We believe that he came from Washington to Nevada for the sole purpose of using the family name to pursue a political career which would allow him to eventually return to Washington as one of Washington’s most elite. We do not believe he came to Nevada based on any true connection to or interest in this state. Four years ago with Washington money, he proceeded to capitalize on our family name to get elected as attorney general of this state.”

Adam Laxalt’s grandfather was Paul Laxalt, former governor of Nevada, later a U.S. Senator and chairman of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns.

“We believe that he not only has no true connection to Nevada but has demonstrated a disdain for our beloved state and to its people,” Monique Laxalt said. “We do not believe Adam Laxalt represents Nevadans or has the interests of our people at heart. We believe that Steve Sisolak does. And as third-generation Nevadans, we strongly endorse the candidacy of Steve Sisolak for governor.”

Damn.

A number of Adam Laxalt’s relatives also endorsed his opponent for Nevada attorney general in 2014, writing a Letter to the Editor in the Las Vegas Sun. The letter did not actually call out Adam Laxalt by name and was not nearly as unforgiving as Monique’s words, but it was a shot at Adam nonetheless.

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