Former Republican Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt may be facing new scrutiny over potential connections to Russia via convicted Rudy Guiliani associate Lev Parnas.
Laxalt, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump for U.S. Senate, testified at Parnas' federal trial about meeting Parnas in 2018 and having been promised $10,000 in campaign help by Parnas for his gubernatorial campaign that year, according to reporting by the Las Vegas Sun. Parnas "was found guilty Friday of funneling more than $100,000 in Russian money into U.S. political campaigns during the same election cycle," the paper reports.
Laxalt is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Nevada Democratic incumbent Sen. Cortez Masto in the 2022 midterm elections. The Nevada Democratic Victory Fund has filed a public-records request today with the state seeking details about Laxalt's 2018 campaign, the Sun reported.
"Laxalt testified for about two hours Oct. 15 in New York regarding a $10,000 campaign donation from Parnas' colleague to Laxalt, the Sun reported. "Parnas and other co-conspirators had used a Russian backer's money to fund political contributions they hoped would win them political favor and help with their plans for a joint marijuana venture, federal prosecutors allege."
"During his testimony, Laxalt detailed how he met Parnas in 2018 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. There former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani invited Laxalt to a balcony where some people were smoking cigars and having drinks. Parnas was on the balcony and "immediately offered" to help Laxalt's campaign, saying he would like to help raise money in the final months of the race, Laxalt told the jurors during trial.
Parnas pledged $10,000 and offered to stage a fundraiser for Laxalt. But in the weeks that followed, the fundraiser never materialized, and Laxalt seemed increasingly desperate to see a contribution from Parnas.
When Laxalt pressed for money just days before the election, he received a text from Parnas referencing Federal Election Commission litigation and saying his lawyer would not let Parnas or his wife make a contribution in their names.
Finally, a $10,000 check from "Global Energy Producers" arrived. Prosecutors maintain the money was really from the Russian financier, Andrey Muraviev.
They also made campaign contributions to Nevada Republican attorney general candidate Wes Duncan, who also lost in the general election. Both Duncan and Laxalt said they returned the money.
The Democratic group did not waste time pouncing, according to the Sun.
"This is familiar territory for Laxalt, who was constantly embroiled in pay-to-play scandals while serving as Nevada's attorney general, just like (former President Donald) Trump," Andy Orellana, senior communications adviser for Nevada Democratic Victory, said in a statement. "Now that he is running for U.S. Senate, he will have to explain to the people of Nevada why they should trust him when he has shown that he will do literally anything to benefit himself and his shady political donors."
"Laxalt's campaign did not return requests for comment, "the Sun reported.You can read the Sun's full report here.