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June 29, 2016

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State treasurer: Hutchison should drop lawsuit or resign

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Cathleen Allison / AP

Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz testifies in committee at the Legislative Building in Carson City on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015.

Updated Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 | 3:33 p.m.

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Lieutenant Gov. Mark Hutchison brings the opening session of the State Senate to order during the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev., Monday, Feb. 2, 2015.

Fighting among statewide elected officials over Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison’s controversial lawsuit regarding the state’s educational savings accounts boiled over this morning, with Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz saying his fellow Republican should either drop his suit or be asked to resign.

“Right now my request is that the lieutenant governor drop the lawsuit. If it continues, the suggestion that he would resign would be in order,” said Schwartz.

On Thursday, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt filed a motion in the Clark County District Court to dismiss a suit filed by Hutchison acting in a private capacity that named Schwartz as a defendant regarding the state’s education savings accounts.

Today, Schwartz called Hutchison’s suit a political ploy designed to boost the lieutenant governor’s bid to be elected governor. “If I sound upset, I am livid,” said Schwartz. “I am livid. It’s a travesty.”

Schwartz added that although at this point in time, he’s asking for Hutchison to drop the suit, “if he continues, he should be asked to resign. He’s using the kids of this state as a political pawn to further his career.”

In response to Schwartz’s comments, Hutchison doubled down on his position on the lawsuit in a statement this afternoon.

“The treasurer has a history of questionable decision making and inaccurate statements,” Hutchison said. “His recent comments are no exception.”

In a statement Thursday, Laxalt defended his office’s decision to file suit. “It is the job of the Office of the Attorney General to defend the Treasurer, the State and the State's legal interests. We are doing that; we are doing our job. Notwithstanding Hutchison’s attempt to turn this into a political show, my office will continue to treat this lawsuit just as it has treated every threat to Nevada’s ESA program."

As of this afternoon, Gov. Brian Sandoval declined to echo the treasurer’s call for Hutchison’s resignation. However, his office hoped for a timely resolution of the dispute.

His press secretary, Mari St. Matin, said, “the governor has always believed it was in the best interest of the state and Nevada’s education system to avoid costly legal battles by seeking an expedited hearing and, if necessary, a final ruling by the Supreme Court. Students, parents, educators, and the state need finality in order to move forward and pursue the opportunities that provide the best path to success for Nevada families.”

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