Home>Feature>Study: Top Dem Officials Travel Internationally As Nevadans Struggle

Assembly Leader Steve Yeager tackling climate change over a pint of Guinness (Photo: Steve Yeager)

Study: Top Dem Officials Travel Internationally As Nevadans Struggle

AG Ford and Assembly Leader Yeager accepted nearly $100,000 in travel from outside groups in 2023

By Megan Barth, February 20, 2024 1:04 pm

An eye-opening report from Sean Golonka shows that top Democratic officials Attorney General Aaron Ford and Assembly leader Steve Yeager received nearly $100,000 for international and domestic travel from outside groups in 2023. Over eight years, the two officials have accepted nearly $200,000 on travel from special interest groups.

AG Ford celebrates President Joe Biden’s victory in the Nevada Primary (Photo: AG Ford)

Among nearly 70 lawmakers and statewide elected officials, no one was more well-traveled than Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas), who recorded trips to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Bayeux, France; Oslo, Norway; Dublin, Ireland; and Mexico City, Mexico, as well as a half dozen other trips and events within the United States — altogether valued at nearly $39,000.

Just one person had a larger amount paid for across such travels: Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat whose reported trips to South Africa, Poland, Israel and South Korea came at a value of $45,000 paid for by the Attorney General Alliance, a nonprofit group of state attorneys general who work together to tackle legal and policy issues.

In 2023, the groups that contributed the most value for trips and other events to Nevada officials were the attorneys general group ($45,000, all to Ford), the National Conference of State Legislatures (about $33,000) and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (nearly $25,000).

Over eight years, “Forty-two Democrats in the analysis reported an aggregate value of $242,000 (nearly $5,800 on average) on provided travel and events, compared with a total value of nearly $39,000 reported by 25 Republicans (nearly $1,600 on average).”

Assembly Leader Steve Yeager pops the champs (Photo: Steve Yeager)

How do trips involving champagne tasting in France or anti-semitism conferences in Israel benefit Nevadans? In a statement, Yeager cited his work on “clean energy, affordable housing and healthcare.” Ford said the trips will assist him in “successfully fighting crime and other issues.”

“At the end of the day, there’s a lot of transnational and international crime that — fentanyl has been a prime example of that — very well may originate in an East Asian country and work its way through our southern border up into Nevada. And so we talk about opportunities for coordination and cooperation,” Ford said.

Ford continued, “I’m the top law enforcement officer in the state. I’m the top customer protector in the state,” he said. “And we have 50 attorneys general that work together as frequently as we can, and sometimes those trips take place internationally because we’re also working with democracy projects that we have in Mexico or in Africa or in Asia.”

As reported by The Globe, the Democratic legislature in 2019 passed AB 236 which decreased penalties for drug trafficking.

During the last legislative session Ford fought against Governor Joe Lombardo’s crime bill which would have increased the penalties on fentanyl trafficking. During legislative testimony, Ford claimed that Lombardo’s approach would take us back to the “failed” war on drugs. During a hearing Ford testified, “I’m not trying to recreate the war on drugs from the crack era.”

Ultimately, a compromise was reached between the Democratic majority, Ford, and Governor Lombardo when the Governor signed Senate Bill 35.

“Democracy projects” weren’t identified by Ford, yet Nevadans are struggling with costly projects ushered in by the Democratic majority which include soaring energy costs, increasing violent crime, homelessness and inflation.




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