Ask Joe: Ethics commission responds to question about campaign money

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 10/29/2013 6:50 pm
Question:
From the Ask Joe file a follow up to last night's question about campaign contributions for local candidates.
Carl huth had written in on Monday, October 28th asking if Reno City Council members were allowed to vote on a Waste Management contract after accepting contributions from the company ?

Answer:
As I mentioned yesterday, Mayor Bob Cashell and Councilman Dwight Dortch both accepted $500 in contributions from Waste Management in 2010 and then each voted for the Waste Management contract last year.
   Is it a conflict?
No.   I talked to Caren Jenkins with the Nevada Ethics Commission today about this. 
The way the law is written a candidate only needs to file an official campaign contribution and expense report.  After that it is considered public record and they don't have to even disclose it before they cast a vote.
  The rules are different for personal gifts but state law does not consider a campaign contribution to be a personal gift, and therefore those contributions are not considered to be a conflict of interest.   Even though the money came from Waste Management, and Waste Management then benefitted from the council's vote not long after.
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