Augustine won't seek reduction in fine

Nevada Controller Kathy Augustine said Thursday she's dropping a bid to reduce a $15,000 fine imposed by the state Ethics Commission for offenses that led to her impeachment last year.

Augustine was scheduled to appear April 13 in Henderson before the commission in efforts to have the fine cut to $5,000 and get two of three self-admitted ethics violations dismissed.

"I withdrew my request because I think it's better to let sleeping dogs lie," said Augustine. "I'm looking at running for office next year, and it's better to put time and distance between myself and the horrific events of last year."

Augustine, a Republican, said she's considering bids for Congress or lieutenant governor, but has made no decision yet. She has been paying off her Ethics Commission fine at a rate of $500 a month since last September."

"I don't like paying it," she said. "I think it was excessive."

Augustine had said her appeal to the Ethics Commission was based on her impeachment trial in the state Senate in December, when lawmakers found her guilty of using state equipment for her 2002 campaign. She was acquitted of the other two charges, including using a computer and using staff to help her win a second term as controller.

When she appeared before the Ethics Commission in September, she admitted to three willful violations of state ethics law. Augustine said she had no choice but to acknowledge the three violations to the commission because the alternative was to face criminal charges through a grand jury indictment sought by the attorney general's office.

The admissions led to the legislative impeachment proceedings against her in November and December. She was censured by the Senate for the single violation, but wasn't removed from office.

Augustine is the first official to be impeached and convicted in Nevada's 140-year history. The Senate censure came after senators voted 14-7, the bare two-thirds majority needed, to convict her on the least serious of the three impeachment charges against her.


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