Accused of Misusing Campaign Funds, Nevada Senate Majority Leader Resigns

"In this most difficult of circumstances, I have been treated respectfully by the prosecutors and investigators," he said. "And I have no one to blame for this but myself in this situation."

By John Sadler

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson resigned today, saying he would plead guilty to charges he used campaign funds for personal use.

"Due to mistakes I have made, I will be vacating my seat immediately," he said on the Senate floor. Atkinson thanked those who worked with him and listed accomplishments he was proud of during his time in the Legislature.

"In this most difficult of circumstances, I have been treated respectfully by the prosecutors and investigators," he said. "And I have no one to blame for this but myself in this situation."

Atkinson said he hoped the charges against him are not what defines his legacy.

"I do hope to have the opportunity to prove someday that this is not who I am, just something I did wrong," he said.

Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement that he was "extremely disappointed" and that the alleged behavior "goes against the integrity every elected officer in the state of Nevada should uphold."

Senate Democratic Executive Director Cheryl Bruce called the resignation "appropriate" and said Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro would take over as acting leader.

The resignation leaves an open senate seat from Clark County, which will be filled by the county commission.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson said in a statement he was unfamiliar with the details of the investigation but he was glad Atkinson was taking responsibility.

Atkinson was the first openly gay man to serve as Senate majority leader in Nevada. When Cannizzarro takes over, she will be the first woman to lead the Senate.

(c)2019 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)