Fellow Republicans urge Nevada controller to resign

Some top Nevada Republicans urged state Controller Kathy Augustine on Thursday to resign rather than go through legislative impeachment proceedings for using state staffers and computers in her 2002 re-election campaign.

U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., said he spoke with the Republican controller by phone and urged her to step down "for the good of everyone involved in this case and in order to put it behind us as quickly as possible."

"An impeachment proceeding would be embarrassing and distracting for the state, the Legislature and our constitutional officers," Ensign said.

Secretary of State Dean Heller, also a Republican, said Augustine should resign immediately. If she doesn't, he added he favored an immediate special legislative session for the impeachment proceeding.

"I don't think we should keep someone on the payroll for the next six months just because the boys and girls (state lawmakers) aren't in town," Heller said.

GOP Gov. Kenny Guinn plans to meet with Augustine next week to discuss her next step, Guinn spokesman Greg Bortolin said.

"It's fair to say the governor will discuss Kathy's future with her," Bortolin said. "The governor wants the dust to settle and give Kathy some time to reflect on what happens before he makes any public statements."

Augustine and her attorney, John Arrascada of Reno, didn't immediately return telephone calls on Thursday. Augustine also declined to talk to reporters who tried to question her following a state Board of Finance meeting.

Attorney General Brian Sandoval, who filed a complaint that led to a state Ethics Commission finding Wednesday that Augustine broke the law with her political activity, said it would be inappropriate for him to comment.

"We have a role in the matter presently and may very well be asked to prosecute in an impeachment proceeding," Sandoval said.

State Treasurer Brian Krolicki, also a Republican, said he had "a very strong opinion" about Augustine but added caution is needed given the potential for harm to the state's finances should Augustine quit without a replacement being named immediately.


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