Lawmakers Tix Trouble

A request for an investigation into the way Nevada lawmakers handled free Rolling Stones tickets and other comps was filed February 2nd with the secretary of state’s office.

Chuck Muth, head of the nonpartisan Citizens Outreach, filed the request that said the legislators didn’t necessarily break the law by accepting the tickets, but might have failed to “properly and fully disclose them in a timely fashion on the proper reporting form.”

State law requires legislators and other elected officials to report all gifts worth more than $200 on financial disclosure statements.

Ten legislators accepted tickets in the $400 range to a November Rolling Stones concert in Las Vegas. The tickets were given by Ameriquest, the national mortgage lending company that sponsored the Stones tour, and included admission to a pre-concert VIP party, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Four legislators also took $300 tickets to a Las Vegas concert with Luis Miguel.

Muth said some legislators failed to report free luxury skybox tickets to the 2005 Nascar Nextel Cup. They defended their actions, saying it’s impossible to place a dollar amount on the tickets because they weren’t available for public sale, according to the Review-Journal. The tickets included seats in the owner’s suite and are said to have included a helicopter ride above the speedway on race day.

Most legislators reported the Stones tickets, but Muth said in his complaint that such instances as the Stones and Nascar events “may well be only the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to violating financial disclosure laws.

Muth said he heard some legislators might have received similar gifts, such as tickets to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and the Reno Air Races. He also heard of plane rides to casino openings and Celine Dion concerts.

Muth included in his complaint a request for possible legislation defining penalties for not fully disclosing gifts in financial reports.

“Nevada has very liberal laws as to contributions, gifts, etc,” Muth told the paper. “All that’s really required of public officials is that they disclose them and tell the truth. Is that really so burdensome on those that expect to have the public trust?”