FBI Director Brian Sandoval? Nevada Governor’s Reputation Could Make Him Viable Option

Posted on: May 11, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: May 11, 2017, 12:58h.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) will be out of a job when his second term officially concludes in January of 2019. And while his office denies being under consideration, at least one unlikely liberal media outpost thinks the Silver State leader would be a good option for the agency’s now empty top spot.

Brian Sandoval Nevada governor FBI director
Fresh off convincing the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is seen as a legitimate possibility in some camps for the next FBI director. (Image: Brett Le Blanc/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Sandoval has been a rumored candidate for numerous prominent positions in Washington, DC over the years, and his name is once again being thrust into the national spotlight. Following President Donald Trump’s unexpected announcement that he had fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, the Republican Silver State governor was almost immediately speculated to be a possible replacement.

Sandoval would be the ultimate choice for the gambling industry. With former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) retiring from Congress, casino companies no longer have a powerful voice “Inside the Beltway.” The governor, who previously served as a member and chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission, has done nothing but support Las Vegas since taking office in Carson City in 2011.

Of course, the FBI director isn’t a legislative authority, but a position that oversees the enforcement of federal crimes relating to domestic intelligence and national security. Still, Sandoval’s appointment could theoretically provide great benefits to gaming, particularly when it comes to online.

President Trump is staying mum on potential successors. “James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige to the FBI,” he tweeted.

Sandoval to the Rescue

The next FBI boss will face a multitude of pressing issues, which is why the subject of online gambling isn’t expected, at least in the immediate future, to garner much attention in Congress. But when, or if, it should, two persons who presumably won’t like who they see testifying before a congressional hearing regarding internet casinos would be US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

When asked during his Senate confirmation hearing by Graham about the Department of Justice’s 2011 opinion on the Wire Act that essentially allowed states to legalize internet gambling, Sessions said he was “shocked.” The former Alabama senator told Graham, “I would revisit it and I will make a decision on it based on careful study.”

Sandoval, however, supports online gambling, as Nevada is one of three states where the market is in full swing, albeit only for internet poker at the moment. In late 2015, the governor blasted his Attorney General Adam Laxalt for backing Graham’s RAWA (Restoration of the Wire Act) legislation that sought to reverse the DOJ’s judgment.

“As a former attorney general, Gaming Commission chairman and someone who worked with the industry and the Legislature on Nevada’s online poker legislation, I am very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law,” Sandoval said at the time.

Having a pro-gaming powerhouse in Washington would likely be a welcomed development for much of the industry.

Just Rumors, for Now

The governor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday that the Trump administration hadn’t reached out in regards to the FBI post. However, in an NBC News blog jointly managed by its chief political director Chuck Todd, the media outlet says Sandoval is indeed a strong contender.

“His (Trump) instinct would be a Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie, but both would be incredibly controversial (then again, Trump never avoids controversy; he runs to it),” the post opines. “If he tries to pick someone above reproach, the names would include former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Michael Chertoff (former US Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush and Barack Obama), or Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.”