Follow the money: Breaking down $2.8 million in combined legislative campaign spending from major industries

The Nevada Legislature building

Even as lawmakers perennially tout the strength of their small-dollar fundraising, the driving force of any campaign in any cycle — with few exceptions — is big-money donors. 

Often contributing upwards of six-figures across dozens of campaigns, money from these donors often comprises the vast majority of campaign funds, especially in the most competitive legislative campaigns.

However, while all these contributions are reported to Nevada’s secretary of state every quarter, parsing trends from such reports or determining how corporate or PAC donors are spending in the aggregate is no simple task, as each contribution is siloed either under individual candidates or individual donors. 

To get at those trends, The Nevada Independent analyzed more than 7,700 individual contributions of more than $200 made to every sitting lawmaker elected in 2020. 

That $200 cutoff excludes a small portion of small-dollar fundraising, as well as two lawmakers who were appointed to their seats in 2021 (Sen. Fabian Donate, D-Las Vegas and Assemblywoman Tracy Brown-May, D-Las Vegas) and any fundraising by losing candidates. 

What is left is an expansive picture of the spending habits of Nevada’s biggest industries, from unions and casinos to health care giants and dark-money PACs. Over the course of our Follow the Money series, we’ve taken a deep dive into the spending of the state’s 10 largest industries, a group of donors that collectively spent $7.8 million of the $10.6 million in big money legislative contributions last cycle. 

Links to all previous installments of this series, including top-line breakdowns of all spending and all fundraising, have been included at the end of this article.

But beyond the largest 10 are the 14 “smallest” industries, according to our categorizations, which still spent upwards of $2.8 million combined. Below is a breakdown of that campaign spending, ordered by industry, from greatest to least. 

Spending nearly as much money last cycle as the much-debated Nevada mining industry were a number of alcohol and tobacco companies, which combined to contribute nearly $319,000. 

Spendiest among industry donors was tobacco company Altria (likely better known by its former name, Philip Morris Companies, Inc.), which gave 30 lawmakers a combined $95,050. Almost all of that money went to Republicans, who received $75,050 to the Democrats’ $20,000. 

Among all legislators, none saw more money from Altria than Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer (R-Minden), who received $9,000. He was followed by Assemblyman Tom Roberts (R-Las Vegas) with $8,750 and Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) with $7,000. The remaining 27 lawmakers, including eight Democrats and 19 Republicans, received $5,000 or less.

Other major industry donors include beer-giant Anheuser Busch ($50,500), the Nevada Beer Wholesalers Association ($49,000), alcohol distributor Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits ($33,500) and electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs ($26,500). 

Contributing more than $306,000 combined, the state’s transportation industry included a varied mix of donors from car manufacturers, ride-sharing companies, railroads, taxis and associated organizations and individuals. 

Biggest of all was the Nevada automotive dealers PAC, NADEAC, which contributed $52,500 in total, split nearly evenly between Republicans ($27,500) and Democrats ($25,000). Most of NADEAC’s contributions were comparatively small, however, and only two legislators saw more than $2,500 — Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) and Sen. Carrie Buck (R-Las Vegas), each of whom received $5,000. 

Following NADEAC was electric car maker Tesla — operator of the massive gigafactory battery plant in Northern Nevada — which gave 20 legislators $45,000. Most of that, $34,500, went to legislative Democrats, with the two Democratic leaders — Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D-Las Vegas) — receiving the most of anyone with $5,000 each. 

Other major transportation donors include the Nevada Trucking Association and its president, Paul Enos (a combined $42,500), Union Pacific Railroad ($33,500), rental car company Enterprise ($29,500) and the ride-sharing company Lyft ($21,000).

Twelve telecommunications companies combined to spend more than $300,000 on lawmakers last cycle, with the single largest chunk coming from internet service provider Cox Communications ($120,000). 

The largest internet provider in the state with a near-monopoly on internet service in the Las Vegas metro area, Cox’s spending largely favored legislative Democrats, who received $80,000 to the Republican’s $40,000. That includes one maximum $10,000 contribution to Frierson, as well as $8,000 for Cannizzaro.  

Communications giant AT&T followed with $82,250, again favoring Democrats ($58,750) to Republicans ($23,500). And here, too, the top recipients were Frierson and Cannizzaro, who received $8,000 each. 

Other major donors included internet service providers Charter Communications ($47,500) and CenturyLink ($14,000), as well as satellite TV provider Dish Network ($12,000). 

Though the pharmaceutical industry at large contributed nearly $273,000, more than half came from just one donor: the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which gave 45 lawmakers $140,500. 

Among the most powerful industry groups in the entire country, PhRMA’s contributions favored Republicans, who received $86,000 to the Democrats’ $54,500. Among individual lawmakers, PhRMA’s four top recipients were all Assembly Republicans: Roberts ($8,000), Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus (R-Wellington) ($8,000), Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R-Reno) ($8,000) and Assemblywoman Melissa Hardy (R-Henderson) ($7,000). 

Other major donors include the drugmaker Pfizer ($46,250), National Association of Chain Drug Stores ($17,500), and biotechnology company Amgen ($11,000). Nineteen other donors, including major drugmakers such as Merck, Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson, gave $10,000 or less. 

Though 55 donors in the finance and banking industry combined to contribute more than $214,000, almost two-thirds of that money came from one source: the Nevada Credit Union League (NCUL), the credit union trade association, which gave $86,250 across 46 legislators. 

The NCUL’s spending widely favored Democrats, who received $62,000 to the Republicans’ $24,250. Much of that difference was made up by the sheer number of Democrats receiving contributions (30 Democrats to 16 Republicans), but also by three large contributions to Democratic Leaders. 

Frierson and Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D-Reno) both received the $10,000 maximum, while Cannizzaro received $9,000. No other lawmakers received more than $5,000 from the group.   

Other major donors include One Nevada Credit Union ($25,500) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors ($14,500). The remaining 52 donors gave just $9,500 or less. 

Unlike some other major industries, technology-related companies and donors gave to lawmakers in comparatively mid-sized or small amounts, with the largest among them — the data company Switch — giving a total of $62,000 to 21 legislators. 

That money was evenly split between 10 Democrats and 11 Republicans, who combined to receive $31,0000 each. That even-split largely extended down to the individual level, too, with Democrats Cannizzaro, Frierson and Gansert, a Republican, receiving $10,000, while Republicans Hammond and Buck received $5,000 each. The remaining recipients all received $2,500 or less. 

The other significant chunk of technology contributions came from Blockchains, Inc. owner Jeff Berns and his wife, Mary, who combined to give $44,500. Berns was at the center of efforts this session to create so-called “Innovation Zones,” which would have created a semi-autonomous county in rural Nevada supported by the use of cryptocurrency. 

As criticism of the concept intensified over the course of the legislative session, Gov. Steve Sisolak backed away from Innovation Zones last week in announcing the proposal would take shape as a study, instead. 

The single biggest beneficiary of Bern’s contributions was Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-Minden), who received $10,000 each from Jeff and Mary for $20,000 total. Wheeler’s district, District 39, encompasses parts of Storey County, where Berns’ Blockchains company owns roughly 67,000 acres of land that likely would have become the state’s first Innovation Zone, had the proposal passed muster.  

Berns also gave $5,000 to Cannizzaro, Frierson and Settelmeyer, as well as a handful of smaller contributions to six other lawmakers, including both Democrats and Republicans. 

Other technology companies gave comparatively little, with Reno-based precision measuring equipment firm Hamilton Company following Berns with $15,000, and the tax-software giant Intuit giving $12,500. The remaining 25 donors gave $11,000 or less.  

Insurance companies — close cousins to the finance industry — combined to give lawmakers $165,700, with the Farmers Employee and Agent PAC leading all donors with $63,000. 

Farmers’ spending was split nearly evenly between the two major parties, with Republicans receiving $32,000 to the Democrats’ $31,000. No lawmakers received the maximum amount from the group, though four — Frierson, Roberts, Gansert and Titus — did receive $5,000 contributions. The remaining 20 recipients received $3,000 or less. 

No other single insurance came close to Farmers’ spending. The next largest, USAA, gave just $25,500 (of which most, $17,000, went to Democrats), while small business insurer Employers EIG Services gave $24,000 (including $13,500 for Republicans and $10,500 for Democrats). The remaining 20 insurance donors gave $13,000 or less. 

Though the payday lending industry at large gave comparatively little — $128,000 split across 37 legislators — the single largest industry donor, TitleMax, was among the biggest spenders of any industry as it contributed $93,000 to 35 lawmakers. 

Most of that went to 20 Democrats, who received $56,500 to the Republicans $36,500. TitleMax’s largest individual contributions similarly went to Democrats, with Frierson and Cannizzaro each receiving the $10,000 maximum. Gansert followed with $7,500, while the remaining 32 legislators received $5,000 or less. 

Other payday lending donors gave little in comparison to TitleMax. Dollar Loan Center was next-closest with $23,500 contributed, followed by Purpose Financial with $8,500. The remaining three donors gave marginal amounts, including $1,250 from Advance America, $1,000 from the Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg and $750 from Community Loans of America.

Breaking down the smaller industries

Dozens of donors categorized as “other” combined to become the 14th largest category, with donors who could not be classified as industry-specific — 357 in all — contributing a combined $247,761. Many of these donors were retirees or private citizens, and most, 262, gave $500 or less. 

Lobbyists and lobbying firms were the next-largest donor group trailing payday lenders, with 56 donors contributing $126,401 combined. There were few major donors in that group — all but 10 gave less than $3,000. The only exception was the Ferraro Group, which gave $32,500 spread across 33 lawmakers. The group’s donations were relatively small, however, and the single-biggest recipient — Cannizzaro — received just $3,500. 

Roughly three dozen education companies, teachers and other individuals combined to contribute $83,272, with the biggest sums coming from charter school company Academica Nevada ($28,500), education management company K12 Management Inc. ($13,500) and for-profit college University of Phoenix ($11,000). Notably absent in this category are major teachers unions, such as the Nevada State Education Association and the Clark County Education Association, as both of those organizations are covered in our analysis of union spending. 

Spending slightly less than they did in 2018 were 15 marijuana companies or related individuals, who combined to spend $86,500 (down from more than $91,000 spent in 2018). Most of that money was concentrated in the three biggest spenders: An LLC linked to The Grove dispensary ($24,750), Nevada Can Committee ($23,000) and a company linked to the Planet 13 dispensary ($15,000). 

The remaining two categories were the smallest of all: Nevada tribes, but only the Reno Sparks Indian Colony reported major campaign contributions with $30,500 across 37 legislators, while just seven agricultural donors combined for $10,950 (of which nearly half, $5,000, came from the PAC Nevadans for Families & Agriculture). 

Tim Lenard, Riley Snyder and Sean Golonka contributed to this report.

As part of our Follow the Money series The Nevada Independent has published deep dives into the industries that dominated legislative campaign spending in the 2020 campaign cycle. To see any of the previous installments, follow the links below: 

Higher education faculty push to expand collective bargaining rights

unlv campus

Faculty across the state’s higher education system are pushing for a new law this year that would expand the state’s nascent public collective bargaining infrastructure to include professors and other professional staff — a sharp break from years of control of the process by the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).

Though faculty already maintain bargaining rights under NSHE code, they have long complained that any bargaining structure led by their employers — administrators, the Board of Regents and the chancellor — necessarily creates a power imbalance that has favored institutions in the long term. 

“That means that management writes the rules for collective bargaining and interprets the rules,” Kent Ervin, vice president of the Nevada Faculty Alliance (NFA) and UNR chemistry professor, said. 

Faculty, largely through the NFA, have spearheaded a push to create a “level playing field” through SB373, which would expand collective bargaining laws for public employees to include professional staff employed by the Nevada System of Higher Education.

The measure passed through committee early this month in a 4-1 vote, and now, having been waived through legislative deadlines, awaits a vote on the Senate floor. 

Ervin says the push to move collective bargaining out of the hands of the system and under the umbrella of state law comes after years of stop-and-start bargaining from faculty at the College of Southern Nevada that, he said, could have been avoided through a third-party labor board. 

“It took them three years to come to contract negotiations with their administration,” Ervin said. “And then with NSHE, it became apparent that the very limited rules which you can find in NSHE code are just not adequate. If either side thinks the other side is not bargaining fairly, there's nobody to go to.”

However, where many collective bargaining fights center in part on issues of salaries and pay equity, faculty who spoke to The Nevada Independent said the primary utility of a measure such as SB373 would be injecting fairness into dispute arbitration and adjudication that is, as of now, handled exclusively by the employer. 

“It really provides better due process for the faculty member involved, but also ultimately reduces the possibility of litigation and things escalating to where litigation is a possibility,” Ervin said. “I have seen the Board of Regents when they talk about settlement packages, how much money they're spending every year on settlements. Well, if you nip some of those issues in the bud and work out amicable solutions between the employee and their supervisors, you often could avoid those things.” 

Doug Unger, a UNLV English professor and the president of UNLV’s NFA chapter, said that these disputes have become even more common in the wake of the pandemic, and that core of the issue comes in redistributing some of the lingering power that has been entrenched in administrative hands since the very inception of the first universities in medieval Europe. 

“You have this medieval authority established in the universities, it’s why we have the names we have — chancellors, deans, provosts, regents — and the idea to elect a regent, someone who has absolute power over a system,” Unger said. “This idea of a medieval authority of an administrator is entrenched in the university system; they don’t want to give it up.”

Expanding the collective bargaining process, Unger said, would serve to chip away at that “medieval” authority by democratizing the process itself.  

And though salaries may not be the central issue behind the push for SB373, they still remain top-of-mind for faculty members who have gone more than a decade without a merit-based pay raise outside of promotions. 

“The only way to get annual raises is to threaten to leave,” Jeffrey Waddoups, a labor economist and chair of the UNLV economics department, said. “And if you threaten to leave, and it's a credible threat, and they want to keep you around, then they'll give you a raise. And the reason for that is because there's no system set up to give annual raises, and we have no power to establish such a system.”

Efforts to allow merit-based raises through a 1 percent pool of institutional funds have continued outside of efforts to pass SB373. But, Waddoups said, without bargaining power and without a union, efforts to return to pre-Great Recession pay raises would be hampered “because there’s no real way to do it.”  

Nevada’s system — where final rules-making authority lies with the higher education employer — is relatively rare in the U.S., according to Risa Lieberwitz, general counsel for the American Association of University Professors.

“Where a state law provides for collective bargaining for public employees that would normally state who's covered, you know, what employees and so if faculty are covered by the state, faculty in the State University are covered, they would either be under that general law, or there could be a separate law, but it would be most unusual to see that the collective bargaining system is controlled by the employer.”

Lieberwitz, who is also a professor of labor and employment law at Cornell and testified in favor of SB373, said that consistency in the way public sector bargaining agreements are carried out generally would broadly “enhance the stability of relationships” between administrators and faculty.  

In testimony so far, NSHE has remained formally neutral on the bill. In testifying on the measure on April 7, system General Counsel Joe Reynolds reiterated to lawmakers that NSHE code already provides for collective bargaining, and that they were “still reviewing this complex bill” and “do have questions about its scope, reach into board governance over personnel matters and costs.” 

Though Chancellor Melody Rose was unavailable for an interview before publication, she said in a statement late Tuesday that the board's position had not changed from neutral, and that it maintained the same concerns raised by Reynolds two weeks ago.

Still, the issue has so-far been inseparable, among some legislators, from broader issues of higher education governance and funding. 

“I think NSHE needs some major, major financial overhauls,” Sen. Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) said during a committee vote on the measure. “I think those guys have been spending money like drunken sailors with no oversight for decades … I realize this has to do with individuals, but the whole collective bargaining process, especially for those guys — financially, it’s out of control. I think we need to do some serious reining in of how they behave, so I’ll be a no.” 

Hansen’s remarks come as multiple legislators have expressed skepticism of the governance of NSHE by the Board of Regents, as well as of a renewed push to approve a constitutional amendment, SJR7, that would remove the board from the Constitution entirely. 

Though a similar measure, Question 1, was narrowly rejected by voters last year, legislators have so far broadly approved of SJR7. The measure was passed unanimously out of committee before being passed by the full state Senate, 20-0, last week

Hansen was opposed to SB373 on the grounds that collective bargaining does not “represent the taxpayer,” saying in an initial hearing on April 7 that the measure — like all public bargaining measures — creates a system in which one government agency collectively bargains with another government agency. His concerns were echoed by the Vegas Chamber, which testified against the bill on the grounds that it would create an undue tax burden, a complaint first leveled against public employee bargaining laws by the group during the 2019 session. 

Ultimately, Hansen was alone in opposing SB373 in the Senate Government Affairs Committee, whose three Democratic members all voted in favor. Sen. Pete Goicoechea (R-Eureka) — the committee’s only other Republican — also voted for the bill, though only with a reservation of his right to change his vote when it comes to the Senate floor. 

Outside committee Democrats, the bill also found support among a handful of other unions, including the public employee’s union AFSCME, the state teacher’s union NSEA and the service employee’s union SEIU.

Having been waived through legislative deadlines, it is not clear when SB373 will receive its first floor vote in the Senate. Delaying the bill in part: outstanding fiscal notes totaling $1.7 million through the next biennium for the attorney general’s office and the Department of Administration. 

Ervin said Tuesday that those notes will likely be removed, however, through a forthcoming amendment that acknowledges NSHE already bears the cost for bargaining infrastructure, and therefore no new costs would be created for the state.

State to consider contracts totaling $600,000 for firms that would help with education funding formula

The back end of a Clark County School bus

Update at 10:50 a.m. on 11/12/19: The Board of Examiners approved the contracts for Applied Analysis, APA Consulting and WestEd on Tuesday morning with little discussion, aside from a wording change within one contract.

***

The Board of Examiners on Tuesday will consider approving three $200,000 contracts for companies that could play a key role in implementing the state’s new education funding formula.

The companies recommended by the Department of Education to receive the contracts are: Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas-based fiscal and data research firm; Augenblick Palaich and Associates, a Denver-based consulting firm specializing in school finance; and WestEd, a nonprofit education research organization headquartered in San Francisco. Each contract would run through June 2021, with a combined price tag of $600,000.

There are no other companies competing for these sole-source contracts, a situation education officials described as necessary given timing constraints within Senate Bill 543, which created the new education funding formula. The firms will be involved in cost modeling — showing the effect funding formula variables will have on school districts — as well as overall guidance and research related to how other states have handled a similar transition.

“Valuable time will be lost if the Department must go through the competitive bid process,” education officials wrote in the Applied Analysis funding request. “As noted previously, the workload to be completed within the next year, in order to be compliant with SB543, are tremendous.”

Similar explanations appeared in the two other funding requests as well. 

If the companies sound familiar, that’s because they’ve all had some connection to the Nevada education world in recent years. Jeremy Aguero, a principal with Applied Analysis, became a regular face in the legislative hallways while helping craft SB543; Augenblick Palaich and Associates, sometimes referred to as APA Consulting, in 2018 conducted a Nevada school finance study, which informed lawmakers during the development of SB543. And the state education department has worked with WestEd over the years, sometimes in a professional development-like capacity, department spokesman Greg Bortolin said.

Some education stakeholders had raised questions  about Applied Analysis’s role in crafting SB543 — specifically, who was paying the company. Aguero addressed that concern during a Commission on School Funding meeting earlier this month, saying he had separate contracts with the Clark and Washoe county school districts. He said both were relatively broad in scope.

Aguero said his involvement with the funding formula overhaul came about because state Sens. Joyce Woodhouse and Mo Denis asked for his assistance, and the analyst — a product of the Clark County School District, where his three children attend and his wife works as a teacher — considered it a worthy cause.

Asked by The Nevada Independent whether the state or anyone else was paying for his SB543-related work, he responded “no” via email. Much of the firm’s work on the legislation led to a “significant amount of uncompensated time,” he wrote.

The Nevada State Education Association was among those that had expressed concerns about Applied Analysis’s pay arrangement during the session, but the union’s lobbyist, Chris Daly, said it supports the approval of the three new contracts. He noted that the companies — one local and two out-of-state — already have laid some of the funding formula groundwork.

“We think that it’s important that the funding commission has access to the research and support that they need to do the work in front of them,” he said.

The three companies stand to aid — and really jumpstart — the work of the Commission on School Funding, which SB543 created to guide the implementation of the new K-12 funding formula. The legislation outlined the parameters of the new formula, such as placing revenue streams in a single funding pot and moving toward a weighted funding model, but some of the key calculations haven’t been determined yet. 

For instance, the legislation calls for “cost adjustment factors” that take into account the cost of living and labor in various districts. 

Heidi Haartz, the state’s deputy superintendent for business and support services, said Applied Analysis, APA Consulting and WestEd likely will run various models to show the commission how certain decisions — such as the cost adjustment factors — affect education funding distribution throughout the state. Ultimately, the commission is charged with providing recommendations to the Legislature and Gov. Steve Sisolak by July 15. 

The Commission on School Funding has met three times so far and has received presentations from both Applied Analysis and APA Consulting. It has more meetings scheduled Thursday and Friday. If the contracts are approved, more information about the firms’ role likely will emerge later this week. The commission plans to discuss its expectations for subject-matter expertise, including what information and resources members anticipate needing.

SB543 included an appropriation worth roughly $6.6 million to the Interim Finance Committee’s contingency account for the purpose of implementing the new funding formula. The state education department has hired two full-time staff members to assist with the transition, in addition to the contracts it would be entering into with Applied Analysis, APA Consulting and WestEd, which are considered subject-matter experts.

The Board of Examiners, which consists of the governor, Attorney General Aaron Ford and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, reviews payments authorized by the Legislature.

Amended education funding formula bill nixes requirement that governor raise school funding in line with inflation

Members of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee reviewed and approved an amendment late Monday that waters down parts of an ambitious bill that overhauls Nevada’s 52-year-old education funding formula and moves toward a “weighted” funding model.

The amendment to SB543, unveiled with two hours left in the legislative session, removes a “maintenance of effort” requirement that education funding keep up with both enrollment growth and inflation unless there’s an economic downturn. Instead, it calls for funding “to the extent practicable,” giving the governor wide latitude to adjust the funding levels in the budget as he or she sees fit.

“If the Governor determines that it would be impracticable to prepare the proposed executive budget as described in subsection 1 or 2,” the amendment says, “the Governor may instead include in the proposed executive budget a recommendation for such funding for the public schools in this State as he or she determines to be appropriate.”

The amendment, which passed the committee with Republican Assembly members Robin Titus and Jim Wheeler voting no, also adds significant checks and balances for a Commission on School Funding. Some critics had raised concerns that the unelected board, which includes members with technical expertise and would make major policy decisions such as the levels of “weights” for students with extra needs, had too much power.

In the amendment, the Department of Education adopts regulations that make adjustments so districts and schools of different sizes do not suffer as a result of the formula.

"I think some of the tenets in the amendment actually make it stronger by working together with the department,” said Democratic bill sponsor Mo Denis. “If this was an easy thing to do, it would've been done a long time ago and one of the things we learned is this is not an easy thing to do. It's very hard. But I think that everybody knows that we need to work together to do what's best for our kids.”

Members of the Senate voted 18-3 last week to approve the bill, with rural Republican lawmakers opposing it. The bill would streamline the convoluted, existing funding system by putting 80 different streams of school revenue into a single pot so it’s easier to see where the money goes, and implement a system of weighted funding.

“This is one of those things that’s going to change people’s lives for generations,” Denis, who has been working on the project for years, said last week before voting in favor of the bill.  

Rural senators raised concerns about “hold harmless” provisions that will prevent rural districts from dropping below current funding levels during the transition to the new formula, which generally boosts urban district funding. But it also won’t allow for funding growth for several years, and critics have dubbed it a “freeze and squeeze” for rural districts.

"It takes money from the rural areas, which cost more money per child, and ships that money to the urban areas and that's not fair to the rural areas," Republican Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler said about the bill on Monday.

Reworking the funding formula was considered one of the most consequential acts the Legislature attempted in the 2019 session, although drafters drew criticism for not revealing it until about three weeks before the session ended and not sufficiently including certain stakeholders in the process.

With about 90 minutes left in the session and other work to do, the committee did not allow people to speak for or against the amended bill. Asked to stand to express their stance, about half of the audience in Carson City stood in support — including representatives from large school districts — and half stood in opposition, including representatives from the Nevada State Education Association (NSEA).

"Ultimately, the process that blocked insight and perspective of key stakeholders resulted in legislation with too many policy flaws and political liabilities to be successful," NSEA said in a statement. "The bill is flawed because the process was flawed. "

In her presentation of the bill, state Superintendent Jhone Ebert described the measure as one that would move the state toward becoming a national model for school funding. Gov. Steve Sisolak also praised the amended bill.

"Today’s amendment to Senate Bill 543 provides more flexibility in the budgeting process to ensure we are using funds in a responsible way as we implement a new school funding formula for the first time in over 50 years," he said in a statement. "I am committed to working throughout the interim to ensure the new funding formula is equitable for every student in every county.”

Updated at 11:05 p.m. on June 3, 2019 to add comments from governor, Jim Wheeler and NSEA.

SB543 Amendment by Michelle Rindels on Scribd

Bill still under wraps, but details emerging about proposed school funding formula overhaul

Select education, business and political leaders who attended private briefings this week about the long-awaited bill to modernize the state’s K-12 funding formula had mixed reactions about the plan, with some saying it looks promising and others going so far as to suggest it would be “devastating” to some rural school districts.

The bill has not been unveiled publicly and reporters were not allowed to attend briefings or review the PowerPoint presentations; Democratic bill sponsor and Sen. Mo Denis said again Thursday that the bill would be coming “any day now.” But analyst Jeremy Aguero, who has been crafting the funding formula overhaul, discussed key concepts during invitation-only meetings over the past week.

“There’s a ton of questions and we only got to the tip of the iceberg,” said Republican Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, who was briefed on the bill with Republican colleagues Wednesday and said it appeared a lot of work had gone into the proposal. “I think we’re all going to end up in the position of Nancy Pelosi and the Affordable Care Act. We have to pass it to know what’s in it, and that’s a scary place to be when we’re dealing with the single largest policy bill any of us will probably ever face.”

The forthcoming bill seeks to dramatically transform the 52-year-old Nevada Plan, which details the complicated existing funding formula that operates like a seesaw, with state funding to districts decreasing as local funding increases. But the decades-old formula has been widely panned as an inadequate model that focuses too much on sparsity vs. density and doesn’t take into account the needs of today’s students.

Clark County Superintendent Jesus Jara, who met with Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday, said he hasn’t seen a draft of the bill but feels “confident” about it based on the concepts that have emerged. The proposed new formula, he said, includes a base per-pupil guarantee and weighted funds for specific student populations.

“This is a long game for us,” he told reporters ahead of an event in Las Vegas on Thursday. “This is really a marathon. We’ve got to make some immediate changes now and, in the long run, we’ll be able to transform our public education in K-12 here.”

So what lies within the pages of, arguably, the most anticipated bill this session?

Those briefed in the private meetings described to The Nevada Independent a “student-centered” approach that sends extra dollars toward students who are learning English as a second language, living in low-income households, have special-education needs or are gifted and talented. That’s in contrast to the existing model, which provides extra funds for entire schools with high English-learner or low-income populations.

Although it’s set up as a weighted formula that multiplies the base funding by a multiplier for students in specific need categories, the full transition would require additional money over time.

The proposal doesn’t include new revenue, which doesn’t come as a surprise in spite of calls for more education funding. Denis has repeatedly said the bill seeks to fix the allocation method only — re-dividing the pie but not expanding it.

“It is a step in the right direction in the sense that there’s an overhaul in the system that acknowledges that they have to distribute funds not just more equitably but also more efficiently,” said John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association (CCEA). “There’s an acknowledgement in the new plan that Southern Nevada has essentially been subsidizing the rest of the state.”

The new model also reworks the seesaw dynamic between local and state funds.

The existing formula could be visualized as a Venn diagram, with the state and local tax revenue supporting schools but some local funds residing “outside of the Nevada Plan” and providing a boost to schools in just their home county. Under the new formula, according to people who have seen the plan, all local revenue for schools would go into the same pot and be redistributed to schools statewide.

That could be a potential sticking point for certain mining-rich rural counties, which are able to supplement the funds they’re designated as part of the Nevada Plan with thousands more per pupil in local revenue. Under the new model, they would remit that to the benefit of the whole state.

The model also aims for more simplicity and transparency.

Some lawmakers have taken issue with the fact that when people only look at the “basic school support guarantee,” they aren’t counting funds from the federal government, “categorical” programs like Zoom School grants, class size reduction allocations or additional local revenues that counties kick in. The amount Nevada puts toward schools seems especially low using just the basic support guarantee figure, which stands at $5,967 this school year, as opposed to the $8,165 in total annual per-pupil student expenditures, according to the National Education Association.

The new formula would combine many of those disparate streams of funding into a single pot. On the plus side, that would give the public an easier view of whether education funding overall is going up. A potential pitfall is that it could be harder to tell whether funding approved for specific purposes, such as class size reduction, is accomplishing those policy goals.

It’s unclear how categorical funds would fare in the immediate future if lawmakers approve the bill. In the long run, though, they’d likely disappear as the weighted funding formula reaches full implementation.

“Categoricals and weights can’t coexist,” Vellardita said.

The weights are expected to be small allotments to students with special needs at first. While a bill in 2017 recommended that schools get 1.5 times the basic per-pupil funding for each student considered an English learner, the funding formula might start out with something low — perhaps a 1.05 weight —  simply because the state doesn’t expect to have the money to reach some of those 2017 goals.

People with knowledge of the plan say the money in the large pot meant for per-pupil support would be available for collective bargaining, while money destined for weights would not be.

Rurals vs. Clark County

Observers say the formula will provide a bump in funding to the Clark County School District, the state’s most populous.

But any funding decreases to rural school districts wouldn’t be enacted like the flip of a light switch. Instead, leaders briefed on the plan say it includes hold-harmless provisions designed to shelter those districts from any automatic money losses — essentially giving them time to adjust to the new financial reality of the model.

Still, it has some lawmakers concerned. While the state may be holding a rural school district harmless and not reducing their funding under the new model, they also may not be allowing for growth in funding should enrollment rise.

Some rural districts have stagnant or declining enrollment numbers and wouldn’t feel the pinch. But Republican Assemblywoman Robin Titus said she worries that if fast-growing Fernley drives up the enrollment in the Lyon County School District, the district would have no way to handle the influx with its frozen funding levels.

“This new formula doesn’t allow for any growth. It’s going to keep things flat, which is devastating,” said Titus, who was briefed on Wednesday. “We’re going to just put more kids in the classroom so there’d be less education? It’s just going to come from class size of 25 to 30 or something? How do we resolve that? Because we’re not getting any additional money for these pupils.”

The current plan is to approve a new funding formula this session but not have it take effect until after the 2021 session, Kieckhefer said. Districts would operate on the Nevada Plan but could calculate how their budgets would work under the forthcoming formula, and advise lawmakers of any adjustments they need enacted in 2021.

Chris Daly of the Nevada State Education Association said the Legislature’s redistribution project may not work well because there is no major influx of new funding for schools.

“I think that you would have new winners and losers,” he said. “And our position on a new funding formula is absolutely we need a new funding formula, we need greater levels of equity in our system, but overall, we need to infuse the system with new resources so that all Nevada students can succeed.”

With just 25 days left this session, lawmakers have received a fair amount of criticism for the seemingly late arrival of the funding formula bill. But it may speak to the complexity of the task. Because education funding takes up the lion’s share of state budgets, overhauling the allocation method tends to be a lengthy process, said Zahava Stadler, director of policy for EdBuild, a nonprofit focused on state funding for public education.

“I don’t think it’s that unusual for school funding bills to take a while to hash out, simply because there’s such a significant impact on all the communities in the state,” she said. “By the same token, you’ll also want a fair amount of discussion once the bill drops.”

Another education battle

While the public awaits the formal introduction of the funding formula bill, school officials, legislative leaders and Sisolak are negotiating ways to make promised teacher pay raises a reality.

The Clark County School District did not include a 3 percent cost of living raise or a 2 percent merit pay increase in its tentative budget, which was unveiled last month. Jara said the district can’t afford the pay bumps given the revenue it expects to receive from the state for the upcoming biennium. The announcement frustrated educators and further escalated demands for more K-12 state funding.

And last week the nonpartisan Guinn Center for Policy Priorities released an analysis showing that Sisolak’s proposed budget falls about $107 million short of providing enough money for the raises.

Jara told reporters that Nevada’s 17 district superintendents, State Public Charter School Authority and new State Superintendent Jhone Ebert met with Sisolak and legislative leaders Wednesday to discuss the situation. He said the group received an assurance from state leaders that they would partner with them to find a solution, even if it meant weekly meetings through the end of the legislative session.

Even so, Jara said he won’t be including the salary raises in the district’s final 2019-2020 budget, which the Board of Trustees is set to adopt May 20. If the state comes up with additional money, the district would amend the budget later.

“I’d rather add money than speculate,” he said.

Meanwhile, CCEA members are voting this week on whether to authorize a strike next school year to push for better funding. Voting began Tuesday and ends Saturday.

Jara said the district is working with its legal division and labor attorneys to take unspecified next steps should the teachers’ union vote to strike, which is technically forbidden by Nevada law.

“We are preparing; I understand where their position is,” Jara said. “I have to make sure we continue the integrity of this organization, this school system, and I will take the necessary steps to make sure our students are learning.”

Follow the Money: Lawmakers raised $11.7 million throughout 2018 election cycle

Running for office — even for a citizen legislature — is an expensive proposition.

At the low end, funding a successful bid can cost candidates tens of thousands of dollars, while competitive campaigns can be even pricier and require campaign hauls in the six-figure range.

In the 2018 election cycle, donors who contributed more than $200 to a candidate cumulatively contributed roughly $10.8 million to 63 state legislators, with total donations topping $11.7 million. Donations came from across the state and across the country, with much coming from Nevada’s usual top contributors: casinos, real estate developers, unions and law firms.

Fundraising totals increased compared to the 2016 election cycle, where the 63 lawmakers raised a combined $10.8 million over the two-year cycle.

The secretary of state makes campaign finance data available online, posting regular reports throughout every election cycle. But parsing that data and drawing conclusions can be a cumbersome task.

So, The Nevada Independent tracked and categorized more than 8,000 donations of $200 or more from January 1, 2017 to the pre-session fundraising freeze on January 15, 2019, which roughly encompasses the two-year election cycle. Donors are limited to making a maximum $10,000 contribution to a single candidate, but major corporations easily surpass that limit by contributing through various affiliated entities or businesses.

Each donation was categorized before the entire set of donations was analyzed for patterns and trends.

This data set — as large as it may be — doesn’t capture every slice of Nevada’s campaign finance pie. Data collected does not include donations made to losing candidates, nor does it break down spending by the many PACs or political groups that spend on state elections, or small donations under the $200 threshold.

The collected data offers a picture, though, of how the most powerful and well-connected industries in Nevada — gaming, energy and organized labor — contribute to campaigns and offers a glimpse at how legislative campaigns are funded and operate. It also lends useful context as the 120-day Legislature gets underway, and lawmakers face pressure and requests from the very same businesses and entities that helped fund their campaigns.

Over the coming weeks, The Nevada Independent will do weekly deep dives into contributions from highlighted industries ranging from pharmaceutical companies to payday lenders.

Below are some highlights of the data analyzed so far.

Gaming industry, unions top the list (again) as biggest campaign donors

In total, the gaming industry and unions top the list as the largest campaign donors.

Casino companies spent more than $1.6 million over the last two years, while unions spent nearly $1.4 million in the same time frame. However, those donations were fairly spread out — on average, the gaming industry spent $2,700 per legislator, while organized labor organizations spent an average of just $1,539 — much closer to the overall average contribution of $1,337.

Top casino donors consisted of the usual suspects, with MGM Resorts properties leading the pack through contributions of $345,000 to 53 separate legislators. Other top casino donors included the Las Vegas Sands ($240,500), South Point Hotel & Casino ($160,000), Caesars Entertainment ($90,000 to 42 legislators), Wynn Resorts ($103,000) and Station Casinos ($106,500).

Organized labor also made major contributions; AFSCME contributed $153,000 to lawmakers, the Nevada State Education Association contributed more than $154,000 and the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 525 made $83,000 in contributions.

But one of the largest individual donors to legislators isn’t a casino or union — it’s “Citizens for Justice,” the political action committee of the Nevada Justice Association which represents trial attorneys in the state Legislature. In total, the PAC gave more than $305,000 to 54 individual lawmakers, including $10,000 each to lawmakers Jason Frierson, Brittney Miller, Chris Brooks, Ellen Spiegel, James Ohrenschall, Keith Pickard, Maggie Carlton, Marilyn Dondero Loop, Michelle Gorelow, Ozzie Fumo, Steve Yeager, Teresa Benitez Thompson and Tom Roberts. Nine legislators did not receive contributions from the PAC, including five state senators not up for re-election and two appointed Assembly members.

Other major contributions include NV Energy ($215,000), a PAC affiliated with Sunrise Health Care System ($162,250), Cox Communications ($110,500) and the Nevada Home Builders Association ($131,500).

Major campaign donors varied in their contribution levels between the 2018 cycle and the 2016 cycle; MGM Resorts made more than $305,000 in contributions in the last election cycle, $40,000 less than the casino giant contributed to legislative candidates in 2018.

NV Energy’s $213,000 in donations was a significant bump in contributions over what the utility company gave in the 2016 cycle, when it contributed $128,000. Rooftop solar installer SolarCity also saw a drop in contributions, going from $49,500 in donations to only $3,000 in 2018.

Democratic leaders brought in some of the highest total contributions

Leaders of the Assembly and Senate caucuses of both parties were each able to raise significant sums — a combined $2.1 million — over the two years of the reporting cycle.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson brought in more campaign funds than any other lawmaker over the 2018 election cycle, raising more than $792,000. His Republican counterpart, Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, reported just the tenth-largest fundraising haul of the 63 members of the Legislature, raising nearly $300,000.

In the other chamber, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson reported raising nearly $503,000 over the reporting period — good for the second highest total of all lawmakers. Republican Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer raised just over $318,000, the eighth highest reported total.

Other top recipients of campaign cash include a slew of state senators who won competitive races including Democratic Sens. Melanie Scheible (around $485,000) and Marilyn Dondero Loop ($479,000) and Republican Sen. Keith Pickard ($379,500). Democratic Assemblyman Steve Yeager raised more than $397,000, the second-highest total of any Assembly member.

On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest reported fundraising total of a lawmaker up for re-election was Republican Assemblywoman Robin Titus, who raised $45,700 and represents a rural, heavily-Republican district. The lowest total belongs to appointed Republican Assemblyman Gregory Hafen, who raised $1,000.

Democrats dominated fundraising in 2018

Unsurprising given their election night victories, the 42 Democrats in the Legislature raised significantly more campaign funds than the 21 Republicans — $8.3 million for Democrats and nearly $3.4 million for Republicans.

On the whole, individual Democrats typically raised more than Republicans. The median Democratic fundraising haul was more than $154,000, more than $28,000 higher than the median haul of $126,000 for Republicans.

And on the whole, Democrats had a slightly higher average donation ($1,371) than Republicans ($1,253), though median contributions for lawmakers in both parties were the same; $1,000.

$10,000 donations

Of the more than 8,100 contributions tracked, only 72 donations of the maximum $10,000 were made to legislative candidates over the two-year period.

A total of 48 separate entities, including casinos, political action committees, unions and even candidates themselves reported making the maximum contribution in one swoop. MGM Resorts gave the largest number of $10,000 checks at 10 apiece.

Legislators receiving the highest number of $10,000 contributions were Republican state Sen. Keith Pickard — who narrowly won his race by 24 votes — and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson; both lawmakers received nine maximum contributions over the last two years.

Jeremy Marsh and Jodie Snyder contributed to compiling data used in this report.

Sisolak's 2018 calendar gives detailed view into campaign, county operations

A mix of lobbyist meetings, fundraisers, campaign events and county business dominated Gov.-elect Steve Sisolak’s calendar throughout the first 11 months of 2018, according to a copy obtained by The Nevada Independent.

Sisolak, who defeated Republican Adam Laxalt in the November election and will be sworn in next month as the state’s first Democratic governor in 20 years, kept a packed schedule through most of the year, ranging from meetings with gaming executives, business leaders, top lobbyists and other candidates for office, along with debate prep, campaign events and nearly three dozen fundraisers in addition to his normal county business.

The information was obtained via a records request submitted by The Nevada Independent on Dec. 7 for a copy of the Clark County Commission chair’s calendar from Jan. 1 to the first week in December. Some caveats: just because a meeting was scheduled in the calendar doesn’t necessarily mean it happened, and the calendar isn’t a definitive record of Sisolak’s meetings and activity on the campaign trail.

With hundreds of entries, the calendar provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the relationships and schedule of the man soon to be Nevada’s 30th governor.

Jay Brown

Twenty-seven scheduled meetings, including 17 one-on-one meetings, underline the close relationship between Sisolak and powerhouse local government lobbyist Jay Brown, whose long list of clients includes Resorts World, Republic Services, Treasure Island and a host of marijuana dispensaries.

Two of the meetings were held with longtime Walters Group president Mike Luce in January and August. Another two meetings with Brown were held with developer Don Webb, the Raiders stadium chief operating officer. Brown represented the team in its business before the county commission last year.

Other participants in meetings with Brown and Sisolak included prominent Las Vegas developer Brett Torino on Oct. 10, developer-turned-cannabis company owner Mitch Wilson on Nov. 29 and prominent criminal defense attorney David Chesnoff on Jan. 9.

Brown, a top attorney and former law partner of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, has close relations with many Southern Nevada power players, including former Sen. Harry Reid and incarcerated gambler Billy Walters. Walters’ wife, Susan, contributed $100,000 to Sisolak’s gubernatorial campaign in the weeks ahead of the 2018 election.

Brown contributed $10,000 to Sisolak’s campaign through his law firm on Oct. 5, and another $10,000 personally on Sept. 1, 2017.

Eglet

In December 2017, Clark County became the first jurisdiction in Nevada to contract with the private law firm of Eglet Prince to pursue litigation against 17 pharmaceutical-grade opioid companies.

Over the next several months, close to a dozen other jurisdictions in the state would also enter into similar contracts with Eglet Prince. During that period, Robert Eglet, the firm’s namesake and senior partner, continued to meet with Sisolak and help his campaign.

Sisolak’s calendar shows meetings with Eglet on Jan. 23, a dinner with him and lawyer/businessman Peter Palivos on Feb. 2, another meeting on May 31 and an Eglet-hosted fundraiser on July 26, the same day Sisolak’s campaign reported receiving more than $107,000 in contributions, including $5,000 from Eglet Prince.

Post election meetings

So far, Sisolak has announced that a handful of Sandoval administration appointees will remain at the helm of executive branch agencies in his administration, and his scheduled meetings since the election suggest he’s considering keeping more in place.

His calendar shows meetings with current Department of Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon on Dec. 4, and a meeting with Paul Anderson, head of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, on Dec. 5. Both meetings were scheduled at Sisolak’s “Transition HQ.”

The incoming governor also met with SEIU leaders Brian Shepherd and Grace Vergara at the transition HQ on Dec. 5. The Clark County Commission approved a 1 percent salary increase for all county employees and a 2 percent Cost of Living Adjustment pay bump for union members at their Dec. 18 meeting.

Peter Palivos

Sisolak’s calendar also shows eight meetings with Las Vegas lawyer and businessman Palivos, a personal friend, between January and June of 2018. Palivos was the seller in a $7 million land deal in 2012 with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and since then has been a philanthropist and Democratic political donor.

He donated $15,000 to Sisolak’s gubernatorial bid between September 2017 and October 2018, about a quarter of the $57,000 total he has donated to Democratic candidates and causes since 2012.

Before moving to Nevada, Palivos was involved in a dubious real estate deal in Illinois which eventually saw him convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice in 2003 — though Palivos had claimed outside of court that he was framed by prosecutors for refusing to provide evidence against former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.

Other meetings

Sisolak’s calendar is peppered with other meetings with top lobbyists and political insiders.

It shows three scheduled meetings with powerful lobbyist and R&R Partners CEO Billy Vassiliadis in March, April, and a few days after the general election in November, as well as a scheduled meeting at the firm’s office on Nov. 13. The advertising firm represents some of the most powerful entities in the state, including the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Blockchains LLC and the Nevada Resort Association.

Sisolak also met with lobbyist Gary Milliken at least four times, including joint meetings with taxi executive Jonathan Schwartz and Nevada Contractors Association vice president Sean Stewart.

The calendar also shows a scheduled meeting with Station Casino owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta on Oct. 3. Both Feritta brothers and their wives individually contributed $10,000 to Sisolak’s campaign about a week earlier, according to campaign finance records.

He also reported meeting with former Diamond Resorts CEO Stephen Cloobeck on Oct. 21. Cloobeck, who in 2017 weighed a run for governor, contributed $5,000 to Sisolak in August and constantly slammed his Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt, on Twitter prior to the election.

He also met with Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox on Aug. 28, Monarch Casino Resorts CEO John Farahi on Sept. 12 and Switch CEO Rob Roy, also on Sept. 12.

Education support

Meetings recorded on the calendar also underline Sisolak’s close alliance with the Clark County Education Association and its leader, John Vellardita.

In addition to a CCEA podcast recording in late May, Sisolak’s calendar shows a meeting with Velardita on June 27, the same month the union officially split from its parent organization, the Nevada State Education Association. Velardita held a fundraiser for Sisolak on Oct. 24, a day which his campaign reported raising more than $58,000.

CCEA was an early backer of Sisolak in both the primary and general elections, including spending more than $1.3 million on his behalf through 2017 and 2018 through the “Nevada Leads” political action committee, which ran ads attacking primary opponent Chris Giunchigliani and Laxalt.

Although the NSEA spent heavily to back Giunchigliani, Sisolak’s calendar shows meetings with the group on July 19 and a roundtable with the organization on Oct. 12, about a week before the union announced it was endorsing him for governor. He also met with Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara on the same day as the NSEA meeting, July 19.

Political meetings & fundraisers

He also had scheduled meeting with current and former Democratic elected officials over the span of several months, including Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Richard Bryan, Senate Majority Leader and attorney general candidate Aaron Ford, Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and state party chair and Assemblyman Will McCurdy.

In the heat of campaign season, Sisolak also met with a number of Democratic politicians, candidates and former politicians. That includes several primary fundraisers with state and local politicians, including Rep. Dina Titus on March 27, then-state Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson on March 27, state Sen. Yvanna Cancela on March 14, and County Commission candidate Tick Segerblom on October 25.

Sisolak’s calendar also shows a scheduled meeting with Segerblom’s primary opponent, labor organizer Marco Hernandez, on March 28 — the same day Sisolak’s “Sandstone PAC” contributed $500 to Hernandez’s campaign.

He also reported meeting with National Popular Vote, a group pushing for states to adopt an agreement to cast electoral votes toward the winner of the popular vote, on July 10. A bill adding Nevada to the compact failed to make it out of committee in 2017.

Whether fundraisers were for Sisolak, another candidate or joint was usually not made explicit in the calendar, though by the general election he had held at least 32 fundraisers exclusively for his own campaign, including at least two after the election in November. Those fundraisers include:

  • 7/18 - Ali Rizvi, CEO of Litigation Services, LLC.
  • 7/19 - Doctors fundraiser with three local doctors, including a “Dr. Prabhu,”(Rachakonda Prabhu, longtime politically connected physician) Dr. William Resh, and Dr. Nick Spirtos
  • 7/26 - Robert Eglet, partner at Eglet Prince
  • 8/15 - Phil Peckman, CEO of The Peckman Capital Corporation
  • 8/20 - Chad Christensen, former state assemblyman
  • 8/29 - Scott Canepa, attorney at Canepa Abele Riedy, and Scott Sibley, publisher and former assemblyman
  • 9/5 - Small business fundraiser
  • 9/6 - Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
  • 9/6 - Christopher Kaempfer and Anthony Celeste, attorneys at Kaempfer Crowell
  • 9/10 - Barbara Molasky, account executive at The Rogich Communications Group and President of the Neon Museum, and Jan Jones, former Las Vegas mayor
  • 9/11 - Laura Fitzsimmons, Sisolak’s longtime personal lawyer, and Mary Kaye Cashman, CEO of the Cashman Equipment Company
  • 9/13 - Rob Walsh, attorney at Walsh & Freedman, and Khusrow Roohani, owner of Seven Valleys Realty
  • 9/15 - Fundraiser, Bonefish Grill
  • 9/20 - Ozzie Fumo, state assemblyman
  • 9/24 - Mike Dreitzer, CEO of Gaming Arts LLC (the calendar entry for this fundraiser misspells the name as “Mike Drezier”)
  • 9/25 - Robert Goldstein, President and COO of Las Vegas Sands
  • 10/3 - George Harris, CEO of Alien Tequila, Don Ahern, CEO of Ahern Rentals
  • 10/4 - Robert Goldstein, president and COO of the Las Vegas Sands. Goldstein contributed $5,000 to Sisolak’s campaign on Aug. 21.
  • 10/5 - Dr. Tousif Pasha
  • 10/10 - Ash Mirchandani, former deputy director at the state Department of Business and Industry and lobbyist
  • 10/11 - Ross Miller, former Nevada secretary of state, Bob Miller, former Nevada governor, “Dr. Khan” (longtime politically connected physician Ike Khan)
  • 10/12 - Marybel Batjer, secretary of California’s Government Operations Agency, former VP of public policy and corporate social responsibility for Caesars Entertainment and former chief of staff for Gov. Kenny Guinn.
  • 10/17 - Mark James, former state senator and county commissioner, Neil Tomlinson, managing partner at Hyperion Advisors
  • 10/21 - Mark Miyaoka, Robert Song and Helen Hsueh, owner and publisher of the Las Vegas Chinese Daily News
  • 10/22 - Rita Vaswani, professional banking relationship manager at Nevada State Bank and Dr. Benito Calderon
  • 10/24 - John Vellardita, head of the Clark County Education Association
  • 10/25 - Sharon and Tick Segerblom, the former state senator and incoming Clark County commissioner
  • 10/26 - Dr. Nick Spirtos, CEO of the Apothecary marijuana dispensary, and NFL player Jerry Rice (Spirtos is Rice’s family doctor). The fundraiser was scheduled but did not take place.
  • 10/27 - William Hill CEO Joe Asher and company attorney Reed Horsley
  • 12/4 - Judy Perez, an executive with real estate development company Siegel Group
  • 12/5 - Tyre Gray, an attorney and lobbyist with the law firm of Fennemore Craig

Sisolak calendar by Riley Snyder on Scribd