Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) has avoided nearly $1.65 million in fines. He still faces a $20,000 fine and a censure for wearing his sheriff’s uniform and badge in campaign materials.

Executive director of Nevada Commission on Ethics Ross Armstrong claimed Lombardo violated 68 ethics laws for posting 34 videos and photos of him wearing his sheriff’s badge or uniform. A state board previously deemed that candidates cannot use government resources for their personal campaigns.

During a three-and-a-half-hour hearing, attorney Elizabeth Bassett argued that Lombardo’s sheriff’s badge was a clear example of government-owned property and thus gave him an advantage in the election. His posts suggested that Lombardo was being endorsed by his public office.

Attorney Colby Williams argued on Lombardo’s behalf. He said that it was common knowledge that Lombardo was a sheriff and he therefore had a right to advise voters of his elected position under the First Amendment.

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The commission — made up of four governor-appointed members and four state lawmaker-appointed members — ruled that Lombardi violated a statute that restricts candidates from using government resources during a campaign without a warrant for each image or video. However, they did not find him guilty of violating a statute that restricts public officers from using their current position to their advantage during the campaign.

Lombardi served two terms as a nonpartisan sheriff in Clark County. He resigned in 2023 when he won the gubernatorial election against Steve Sisolak.

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