Lombardo announces Ethics Commission appointments days before his ethics hearing

By: - July 21, 2023 1:08 pm

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo won the Republican primary for governor with 38% of the vote. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Gov. Joe Lombardo on Wednesday announced the appointment of a former police officer and the grandson of a former sheriff to the Nevada Commission on Ethics. The announcement comes just days before Lombardo is set to appear before the commission on allegations he violated ethics laws by using his sheriff’s badge and uniform during his 2022 campaign for governor.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Ross Armstrong alleges Lombardo used his position “to secure or grant unwarranted privileges, preferences or advantages to benefit himself, any business entity in which he has a significant pecuniary interest, or any person to whom he has a commitment in a private capacity,” a violation of state law. Lombardo is also alleged to have used “governmental time, property or equipment or other facility to benefit his significant personal or pecuniary interest or that of a person to whom he is a commitment in a private capacity.”

Armstrong wants the commission to censure Lombardo, impose a civil penalty of $1.67 million, and add an ethics officer to the governor’s office. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday morning.

The governor, who splits appointments of the commission’s eight members with the Legislature, appointed Stan Olsen, a former police officer for the City of Henderson and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Olsen was appointed in 2010 to serve one term in the Nevada State Senate. Most recently, Olsen served as deputy police chief in Kauai, Hawaii, but resigned last year after the TSA discovered his department-issued gun in a carry-on bag at the airport. Olsen was not cited.

Lombardo also appointed John Moran III, the grandson of former Clark County Sheriff John Moran. Moran III is a lawyer with Clark Hill, a previous chair of the Ethics Commission, and a former Nevada System of Higher Education regent.

Olsen and Moran’s terms began July 1, according to the commission’s website, though their appointments were only publicly announced this week. Former Assemblyman James Oscarson’s term on the commission ended June 30, and an additional seat on the commission had been vacant.

Lombardo’s hearing before the ethics commission was originally set for June 13 but postponed upon request of the governor, who argued that all members of the commission should be present.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the optics of appointing members with links to law enforcement to the commission days before he appears on charges related to his former role as sheriff.

Commission Chair Kim Wallin declined to comment on the governor’s appointments.

Ethics Commissioners serve four-year terms. State law requires that: 

  • No more than four be members of the same political party
  • No more than four be residents of the same county
  • Commissioners do not hold another public office 
  • Commissioners are prohibited from being actively involved in the work of a political party or political campaign

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.