The j3 STRATEGIES firm employed current Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt's sister Tessa as a lobbyist while he was the attorney general of Nevada.
Nevada Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt, who served as the state's attorney general from 2015 to 2019, frequently aided the clients of a lobbying firm, founded by a political adviser, that employed Laxalt's sister.
Laxalt is challenging Democratic Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in the midterm election that ends on Nov. 8.
Throughout his political career, Laxalt has relied on Robert Uithoven, a registered lobbyist and Republican strategist, for strategic advice. Uithoven managed Laxalt's successful 2014 campaign for attorney general; served as president of his Morning in Nevada state PAC; and has worked as a consultant to Laxalt's current Senate campaign in his current position with the Republican political consulting firm Axiom Strategies.
Uithoven founded the lobbying firm j3 STRATEGIES and served as its president from 2007 to 2021. During Laxalt's time as attorney general, j3 employed Laxalt's younger sister, Therese Laxalt, known as Tessa. She began as an intern and was later promoted to lobbyist and associate.
According to state lobbying disclosure records, both Uithoven and Tessa Laxalt represented the Las Vegas Sands corporation and its owner, the late billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, and his family during Adam Laxalt's time in office.
Adam Laxalt aided Adelson, according to a 2017 report by the Nevada Independent, by asking A.G. Burnett, the chair of Nevada's Gaming Control Board, to have the board intervene on Adelson's behalf in a civil lawsuit in 2016. The board did not intervene.
Adam Laxalt also co-authored a December 2015 letter from eight state attorneys general to congressional committee leaders urging them to enact restrictions on Internet gambling. Adelson, through his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, pushed the bill. He called competition to his casino businesses "a threat to our society — a toxin which all good people ought to resist." The U.S. Senate did not act on the bill.
The National Rifle Association paid Tessa Laxalt, Uithoven, and the j3 team to lobby on its behalf during that time. The NRA put Uithoven in charge of its unsuccessful effort to defeat a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to strengthen background checks of gun purchasers.
Laxalt starred in an ad for the NRA's Nevadans for Freedom campaign against the background checks proposal — the spot was still visible on the j3 Strategies website as of Thursday — and then refused to enforce the new law after voters approved it in August 2017.
Laxalt also aided two fossil fuel industry groups represented by j3.
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a trade association for the coal industry, opposed the 2015 Clean Power Plan regulations promulgated by the EPA under President Barack Obama. In February 2016, Laxalt filed a friend of the court brief in support of a multistate lawsuit challenging the rules as beyond the agency's authority.
The Retail Energy Supplier Association, which represents electricity and natural gas providers, promoted a 2018 Nevada Energy Choice ballot initiative to allow consumers to select from multiple electricity companies. Laxalt publicly endorsed the effort, which was heavily bankrolled by Adelson's Las Vegas Sands, saying, "I hope choice will make our state dynamic and give people more options." Voters rejected their proposal 67%-33%.
A Laxalt campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
Asked about his firm's relationship with the former attorney general, Uithoven responded by emailing an emoji of a clown.
Cortez Masto has been endorsed for reelection by the Nevada Conservation League, the Sierra Club, the NRDC Action Fund, and Everytown for Gun Safety.
She has prioritized efforts to address climate change and favors "commonsense measures to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings like the one at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in my hometown of Las Vegas."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.