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Senator Dina Neal (D - District 4) (Photo: State of Nevada)

State Senator Dina Neal Under FBI Investigation

Neal adamantly denies any wrong doing and has referred to the scandal as a ‘smear campaign’

By Megan Barth, April 4, 2024 2:50 pm

Democratic Nevada State Senator Dina Neal (SD-4)  is under FBI investigation according to a follow-up report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal (RJ).

NV state Senator Dina Neal makes her Twitter account private in wake of ethics scandals. (Photo: @senator_neal)

Last May, the Review-Journal reported that Neal  was under investigation after a College of Southern Nevada professor claimed she had pressured him to direct federal money toward businesses that didn’t meet grant requirements, including one owned by her friend.

Later that month, the Review-Journal reported that North Las Vegas city officials met with law enforcement regarding concerns Neal had used campaign funds to pay a $20,000 lien on her home.

Since these scandals surfaced, Senator Neal made her X account private.

According to the RJ:

Agents have interviewed College of Southern Nevada business professor Kevin Raiford and North Las Vegas police Chief Jacqueline Gravatt regarding Neal and a Review-Journal investigation into her conduct, according to records and interviews.

Raiford said he was questioned by two FBI agents on March 6 about Neal’s involvement in the multimillion-dollar, tax-funded NV Grow grant program, which is intended to help local businesses.

Raiford previously complained to both CSN and the state that Neal worked to get him removed as the director of NV Grow after he refused to award money to unqualified companies. One of those businesses is owned by Neal’s friend, former North Las Vegas police officer Donavan McIntosh.

“Their main line of questioning was: Did she pressure me to give the funds to this company? And I said yes,” Raiford told the Review-Journal.

Neal adamantly denies any wrong doing and has referred to the scandal as a “smear campaign.”

Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager hears AB398 during committee meeting. (Screenshot)

The Globe has extensively chronicled the ethics scandals that have plagued Democratic lawmakers in the Silver State.

Democratic Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (AD-35) announced that she will not be seeking re-election in her swing district after she was exposed by the RJ for voting in favor of the pork legislation that directed $250,000 to Arc of Nevada. A month after her vote, Gorelow became the nonprofit’s director and is only one of two employees at the organization.

Adding to the grift is Gorelow’s Democratic colleague Tracy Brown-May (AD-42) who serves on the board of Arc and voted to approve the appropriation without disclosing her association with the organization.

Assemblywoman Bea Duran (AD-11), a Culinary Union activist, announced she was dropping her re-election bid in order “to spend more time with her family” after she came under pressure for voting on a “Christmas Tree” bill that allocated $25 million to the Culinary unknown for an unknown “capital improvement project.”

Senator Marilyn Dondero-Loop (SD-8) suddenly scrubbed any mention of her affiliation with the United Way of Southern Nevada from her legislative bio after the RJ exposed that she and the Chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, admitted that they “sat down and compared notes to determine which organizations would get money.”

Monroe-Moreno further admitted admitted she was “instrumental” in the formation of the Christmas Tree bill and the distribution of funds.

The United Way of Southern Nevada received $1.2 million for “public health, education, and improving economic mobility.”

Assemblyman C.H. Miller (AD-7) also announced he was dropping out of his re-election campaign after it was exposed by the Review-Journal that he failed to disclose that he was hired as the President and CEO of the Urban Chamber of Commerce before he voted to appropriate $100,000 on Chamber’s behalf.

David Colborne of the Nevada Independent did a little digging and found that Assemblywoman Venicia Considine (AD-18) is another Democratic legislator who voted in favor of bills that directed over $4,250,000 to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada where she works as the director of Development and Community Relations.

The numerous scandals have caused Governor Lombardo’s affiliated PAC to charge that the Democratic leaders Assemblyman Steve Yeager (AD-9) and Nicole Cannizzaro (AD-6) preside over a “Culture of Corruption.” To date, both Yeager and Cannizzaro have remained silent.

In line with his ethically-challenged colleagues, Leader Yeager did not publicly disclose his personal, business, or financial relationship to Watkins and Battle Born Injury Lawyers as he voted for and pushed through a bill to help his own firm and their client. Of note, Yeager serves as vice chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Ethics.

In 2015, lawmakers approved a bill cementing immunity for legislators, which shields their calendars, emails and communications from public records requests. The legislature is also exempt from open meeting laws.

In the wake of these numerous scandals, Republican Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (AD-2) has introduced three bill drafts to bring transparency measures and accountability reforms to the legislative branch.

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Megan Barth
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