Follow the Money: Legislative leaders bring in biggest campaign cash hauls

Legislative leaders are some of the biggest fundraisers during the campaign cycle, raking in campaign cash not only for themselves but for their caucus members.

During the session, the leaders are responsible for shaping the overarching agenda for their respective caucuses, while the leaders in the majority specifically decide which bills will ultimately be voted on and handed over to the governor for his final approval and which will never be taken up for a final vote. Some of the biggest interests in Nevada politics — gaming, mining and energy — will come before the Legislature to testify in favor of or against particular bills, the very same organizations who contributed the biggest sums of campaign cash to leaders over the last two years.

In our ongoing series on campaign donations, The Nevada Independent has compiled a list of all the top donors who gave $5,000 or more to each of the four legislative leaders: Aaron Ford, Michael Roberson, Jason Frierson and Paul Anderson. (Last week, we took a look at campaign contributions to committee chairs.)

Note that the numbers do not reflect cash the four leaders raised through their respective leadership PACs, only individual cash contributed directly to their campaign accounts. (Look out for a similar piece on leadership PACs in the coming days.)

For the visually inclined, check out the below chart for a graphic representation of those $5,000 or more contributions.

Senate Majority Leader: Aaron Ford

After serving as minority leader in the 2015 session, Ford is now running the Senate as its majority leader. Of the four legislative leaders, Ford was the biggest fundraising powerhouse in 2015 and 2016, raising nearly $740,000 in cash over the two-year period.

Notable gaming donors: $75,000

  • $20,000 from MGM Resorts, including $15,000 directly from MGM Resorts and $5,000 from the Bellagio
  • $10,000 from Las Vegas Sands
  • $10,000 from Dotty’s
  • $10,000 from Wynn Resorts
  • $10,000 from Boyd Gaming, including $5,000 directly from Boyd and $5,000 from the Orleans Hotel & Casino
  • $5,000 from Grand Sierra Resort
  • $5,000 from South Point Hotel & Casino
  • $5,000 from Caesars Entertainment

Notable labor donors: $43,000

  • $10,000 from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
  • $10,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers
  • $8,000 from the Nevada State Education Association
  • $5,000 from Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Service Employees Union
  • $5,000 from Education Support Employees Association

Notable law donors: $35,000

  • $10,500 from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and its affiliates
  • $7,500 from Bradley Drendel & Jeanney, a personal injury firm in Northern Nevada
  • $6,000 from Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, a law firm with offices in Nevada that specializes in a number of areas of law
  • $6,000 from Eglet Law Group, a personal injury firm where Ford works
  • $5,000 from Fundamental Administrative Services, which lists the same address as the law firm Marquis Aurbach Coffing

Notable taxi donors: $30,000

  • $10,000 from Frias Transportation, a taxi company
  • $5,000 from Henderson Taxi
  • $5,000 from Nevada Yellow Cap
  • $5,000 from Whittlesea Blue Cab
  • $5,000 from Raymond Chenoweth, owner of Nellis Cab

Notable energy donors: $29,000

  • $9,500 from Southwest Gas
  • $7,500 from NV Energy
  • $7,000 from SolarCity
  • $5,000 from Sempra Energy, a natural gas utilities company based in San Diego

Notable health care donors: $17,000

  • $7,000 from Sunrise Hospital
  • $5,000 from Mednax, a nationwide provider of maternal-fetal, newborn, pediatric subspecialty and anesthesia physician services; Mednax acquired Associated Anesthesiologists of Reno, a private anesthesiology practice, in August
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Anesthesia Patient Safety PAC

Notable mining donors: $15,000

  • $10,000 from Barrick Gold Corporation
  • $5,000 from Newmont Mining

Other top donors: $99,600

  • $10,000 from TitleMax, a title lending company
  • $10,000 from the Nevada Subcontractors Association
  • $10,000 from the Nevada Home Builders Association
  • $9,100 from Switch
  • $9,000 from Cox Communications
  • $6,500 from AT&T
  • $5,000 from Cashman CAT, a full service caterpillar dealership
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Conservation League
  • $5,000 from R&R Partners, a major lobbying firm
  • $5,000 from Tryke Companies, the operator of Reef Dispensaries in Las Vegas, Reno and Phoenix
  • $5,000 from Farmers Insurance
  • $5,000 from Howard Hughes Corporation
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Trucking Association
  • $5,000 from Republic Environmental Technologies
  • $5,000 from Zuffa, the former UFC parent company

Senate Minority Leader: Michael Roberson

Roberson, who served as majority leader during the 2015 session, is serving as minority leader after his party lost control of the Senate in the November election. Unlike his colleagues in leadership, Roberson was not up for reelection in November and spent most of 2015 and the first half of 2016 campaigning for Congress. After losing the June primary, Roberson started fundraising statewide again, racking up a little more than $86,000 between August 1 and the end of the year.

Notable gaming donors: $15,000

  • $10,000 from Boyd Gaming
  • $5,000 from MGM Resorts

Notable mining donors: $5,000

  • $5,000 from Barrick Gold Corporation

Other top donors: $10,000

  • $5,000 from Switch
  • $5,000 from Howard Hughes Corporation

Assembly Speaker: Jason Frierson

The Speaker of the Assembly is the highest-ranking official in the chamber, controlling the flow of legislation and committee assignments. The Assembly Democratic Caucus chose Frierson as speaker the day after the election, and he was confirmed by a full vote of the Assembly on Monday. Frierson raised nearly $540,000 in cash over 2015 and 2016, even though he was not in office.

Notable gaming donors: $48,000

  • $18,000 from MGM Resorts, including $10,000 from the Bellagio and $8,000 from MGM Resorts
  • $6,500 from Boyd Gaming
  • $5,000 from Dotty’s
  • $5,000 from Grand Sierra Resort
  • $5,000 from Las Vegas Sands
  • $5,000 from Wynn Resorts
  • $3,500 from Station Casinos (via Boulder Station Hotel & Casino)

Notable law donors: $30,000

  • $10,000 from Citizens for Justice Trust, a political action committee for trial lawyers
  • $10,000 from Eglet Law Group, a personal injury firm where Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford works
  • $5,000 from Adam Lewis, listed at the address of the Lewis Foundation in Coral Gables, FL
  • $5,000 from Fundamental Administrative Services, which lists the same address as the law firm Marquis Aurbach Coffing

Notable labor donors: $24,000

  • $10,000 from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association
  • $8,000 from the Nevada State Education Association
  • $6,000 from the Laborers, including $2,500 from the Laborers for Solid State Leadership and $3,500 from the Laborers Local 169 in Reno

Notable energy donors: $19,500

  • $9,500 from Southwest Gas
  • $5,000 from NV Energy
  • $5,000 from SolarCity

Notable taxi donors: $5,000

  • $5,000 from Frias Transportation, a taxi company

Other top donors:

  • $20,000 from major national Democratic donor and philanthropist Tom Steyer and his wife Kathryn Taylor
  • $10,000 from the Nevada Realtors
  • $10,000 from TitleMax, a title lending company
  • $6,000 from Cox Communications
  • $6,000 from Republic Environmental Technologies
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Home Builders Association
  • $5,000 from Charles Brennan, the founder and CEO at Dollar Loan Center
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Conservation League
  • $5,000 from Pat Stryker, a Democratic donor from Colorado who is the granddaughter of Homer Stryker, a surgeon and founder of the medical technology corporation, Stryker Corporation
  • $5,000 from R&R Partners, a major lobbying firm
  • $5,000 from Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, a nationwide beverage distributor
  • $5,000 from Spike Buckley, a Colorado businessman and angel investor
  • $5,000 from Tryke Companies, the operator of Reef Dispensaries in Las Vegas, Reno and Phoenix
  • $5,000 from AT&T
  • $5,000 from Switch

Assembly Minority Leader: Paul Anderson

Anderson served as his party’s majority leader during the 2015 legislative session and is now helming his caucus's operation this session as a minority leader. Anderson raised nearly $420,000 between 2015 and 2016.

Notable gaming donors: $61,000

  • $10,000 from Dotty’s
  • $10,000 from Las Vegas Sands
  • $10,000 from MGM Resorts
  • $10,000 from Boyd Gaming, including $5,000 directly from Boyd and $5,000 from the Orleans Hotel & Casino
  • $9,500 from Station Casinos, including $5,000 Boulder Station Hotel & Casino, $2,500 from Red Rock Resort and Spa and $2,000 from Wildfire Casino & Lanes
  • $6,500 from Caesars Entertainment
  • $5,000 from Grand Sierra Resort & Casino

Notable mining donors: $10,000

  • $10,000 from Barrick Gold Corporation

Notable law donors: $5,000

  • $5,000 from Citizens for Justice Trust, a political action committee for trial lawyers

Notable energy donors: $12,500

  • $7,500 from NV Energy
  • $5,000 from SolarCity

Notable taxi donors: $6,000

  • $6,000 from Frias Transportation, a taxi company

Other top donors: $84,000

  • $10,500 from Farmers Insurance
  • $10,000 from the Nevada Realtors
  • $10,000 from the Nevada Subcontractors Association
  • $10,000 from TitleMax, a title lending company
  • $7,500 from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • $6,000 from AndersonPC, Anderson’s IT firm
  • $5,000 from Las Vegas Paving
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Conservation League
  • $5,000 from the Nevada Home Builders Association
  • $5,000 from Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, a nationwide beverage distributor
  • $5,000 from Switch

Feature photo by David Calvert.

Disclosure: Several Indy donors are mentioned in this story. You can see a full list of donors here.