Top reporter failed to disclose ties to Dem AG candidate


Adam Laxalt, left, shakes hands with Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller before their debate last week in Las Vegas.

By Ciara Matthews |

Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston has used his television show and blog to slam Republican attorney general candidate Adam Laxalt.

It’s possible the heat in Ralston’s anti-Laxalt reporting is generated by Ralston’s undisclosed personal and professional relationship with former Gov. Bob Miller, father of Laxalt’s opponent, Democrat Ross Miller.

In his autobiography, “Son of a Gambling Man,” the former governor thanked Ralston for his writing assistance:

Importantly, I also thank my friend Jon Ralston… I am so honored that Jon agreed to help me in this endeavor. He provided immense help in shaping my unrefined vision of the parallels between my life’s progression and that of Nevada. He played an invaluable role in transforming a very raw draft into my life story. I deeply appreciate his help… I certainly owe him thanks for his instrumental assistance in the pages that follow….

Ross Miller also proudly tweeted about the help Ralston gave to his father.

I called Ralston and both Millers to ask whether Ralston ought to disclose their relationship in his work. No one responded.

Most of Ralston’s coverage of this race has consisted of fact-checking television ads for each candidate. Time after time after time Ralston has criticized Laxalt, accusing him of providing no evidence for the claims made in his campaign ads.

Ralston cast ads from the Republican Attorneys General Association as trying to “rescue” Laxalt, while ads from the Miller campaign and the Democratic Party are said to “torch” Laxalt.

Ralston’s posts seem to dismiss endorsements Laxalt has received from 15 of Nevada’s 17 sheriffs, saying, “those are all Republicans in rural Nevada.” He has even called into question Gov. Brian Sandoval’s support for Laxalt.

“His support has nothing to do with Laxalt’s military record… it’s because he’s a Republican,” Ralston said.

In August, Ralston obtained what he called a “brutal” performance review of Laxalt’s work at the Lewis and Roca law firm two years ago.

The law firm has said the evaluation summary was selective because it did “not include other highly favorable feedback Adam received during his tenure with the firm,” and that “release of these documents was not authorized by the firm.”

Ralston sent up a fanfare around his publication of that document, but dismissed as “selectively leaked documents” Laxalt’s favorable military performance reviews.

Ralston even boasted in one tweet that his reporting might be responsible for killing Laxalt’s campaign:


Myers’ observation may prove prophetic. As one of Nevada’s most influential political reporters, Ralston’s coverage of political campaigns has the potential to significantly influence their outcome. The question is whether his integrity can survive his multiple failures to disclose his relationship to a candidate he has done nothing but cheerlead.