CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada Controller Kathy Augustine (search) was impeached by the state Assembly Thursday for using her state-paid office workers and equipment to help run her 2002 re-election campaign.
In a series of 42-0 voice votes, the Assembly sent three articles of impeachment to the state Senate, where a trial will be held to determine whether Augustine will be removed from office.
Augustine admitted in September to three violations of state ethics laws and was fined $15,000 by the state Ethics Commission, which then turned the case over to lawmakers.
The Senate was expected to convene Friday to accept the Assembly's report. At that point, the two-term Republican controller must temporarily step down from the post she's held since 1998.
The Senate could hold a trial starting later this month or in early December. If the Senate decides on a lesser penalty, Augustine would return to office for the remaining two years of her term.
Augustine has said she should have known her employees were doing the campaign work during state office hours, but claims she told them to do the work in their free time.
The impeachment was the first of any public official in the state's 140-year history.
Augustine's attorneys questioned whether she got fair treatment, saying the Assembly limited defense efforts during its two-day proceedings. They also said they might appeal her impeachment through the courts.
Augustine through her attorneys declined to comment on the Assembly's action.
Nevada Deputy Attorney Gerald Gardner testified Wednesday that Augustine's offenses amounted to malfeasance and were supported by extensive evidence, including computer records.
In the year leading to her re-election, Augustine "literally ran her campaign headquarters out of the Nevada State Capitol," Gardner said.
Employees who didn't help her "were berated, belittled and ultimately shunned from Kathy Augustine's inner circle," he said.