(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, cleared earlier this month on charges that he mismanaged a college savings program while serving as state treasurer, said today he plans to run for reelection as lieutenant governor next year.
“It is absolutely my intention to run for reelection as lieutenant governor,” he said.
Krolicki announced his intentions during an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television program.
During the interview, Krolicki said he will continue to press for an explanation from Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto on why she sought to prosecute him criminally in a case that he said never should have been pursued to begin with.
Krolicki said defending himself against what he called politically motivated charges over the past year has cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Masto spokeswoman Edie Cartwright said she did not see the program and did not anticipate that there would be any comment from the attorney general’s office.
Krolicki was accused of violating the state budget act by misusing $6 million of a $3 billion college savings plan, but this issue was not even mentioned in the indictment, according to a ruling dismissing the four felony counts against him issued by a Clark County District Court judge earlier this month.
Masto then announced she would not appeal the ruling or seek a new indictment even though she believes Krolicki was guilty of criminal wrongdoing, citing limited resources in her office.
In the interview, Krolicki said the attorney general’s office was responsible for reviewing and approving the contracts that specified how the college savings funds were to be used. The attorney general also sits on the Board of Examiners and voted to approve the contracts, he said.
“We heeded their advice from the very beginning,” Krolicki said. “For the attorney general to turn around after negotiating and approving these contracts and say, ‘Oh, I don’t like that’ – how does a lawyer prosecute their own client for heeding their advice? That’s the one thing that I will never understand in all of this.”
Krolicki said that is why the case was dismissed for the first time earlier this year – because the attorney general‘s office was determined by a judge to be an “aider and abettor” in the way the funds were used as specified in the legal contracts.
The lesson should have been learned then and the case should not have been pursued at that time, he said.
Krolicki said Masto is more fortunate than he is with the ruling by the judge to dismiss the charges.
The facts that would have come out at trial would have, “embarrassed her so greatly that I think she got a great Christmas present, too, because now some of these just incredibly damaging things to the prosecution will not be known fully,” he said.
Krolicki said three of the top 10 college savings programs nationwide are in Nevada. They were created without taxpayer dollars and are helping over half a million families pay for college.
“We made a profit doing it, and it was balanced to the penny,” he said. “I’m proud of that. I don’t know what else to say.”