Motorola Solutions, Inc., has backed Sheriff Joe Lombardo of Clark County, Nevada, in his race for governor. In 2013, Lombardo helped Motorola Solutions win a multi-million dollar contract with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The company is supporting Lombardo despite his vocal support for Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election.
Motorola donated to a previous Lombardo campaign one year after that contract, and helped him win this year’s Nevada Republican gubernatorial primary. Despite Lombardo’s support for the Big Lie, Motorola Solutions donated $5000 to his campaign in this election cycle – directly, not via its PAC – according to campaign filings with the Nevada secretary of state’s office.
Filings show that Motorola has donated that way, rather than through a PAC, to Lombardo for years. Unlike federal law, Nevada state law lets independent entities like corporations donate directly to state-level political candidates.
Motorola is the only big company to support Lombardo, dating back even before he was the county sheriff. The company did not back off or even distance themselves when Lombardo made his support for the Big Lie remarkably clear.
”I personally believe there was probably fraud on both sides. We had an environment where it was easy to commit fraud,” Lombardo told the Reno Gazette Journal last July, without offering evidence.
Nevada’s field of GOP nominees was packed with Big Lie supporters but Lombardo ended up with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Lombardo has spent months sowing doubts about the state’s election integrity.
Nevada’s slate of electors must be certified by the governor. Lombardo’s rival in this year’s election, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D-NV), certified Nevada’s electors in the 2020 presidential election, after Joe Biden won 50.1% of the popular vote and Trump won 47.7%.
Voter fraud was looked into in Nevada, however there was no evidence to support the claims that fraud was widespread. Lombardo’s claim of 2020 fraud is not entirely a lie, but there was no systemic fraud and individual fraud was limited and came from his side of the aisle. Last year, Republican Donald Hartle was charged with voting using his dead wife’s ballot. Hartle reportedly worked as the CFO for companies owned by Nevada’s Republican Party finance chairman.
Attorney Bradley Schrager represented the Biden campaign against Trump’s legal efforts to challenge Nevada’s 2020 election results and told TYT, “There has never been any corroborated evidence of anything other than one of individualized errors with elections, most usually committed by registered Republicans who either think they can get away with or are trying to show that there are holes in the system and then get arrested for doing it.”
Lombardo is also a “longtime friend” of Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, who allegedly facilitated a “fake elector scheme” in the 2020 election. His phone was recently seized by the FBI.
Lombardo’s positions on “election integrity” embrace well known voter suppression techniques. He says as governor he will eliminate ballot harvesting, despite the lack of evidence that the practice has been problematic in any way.
“Lombardo is someone you would expect to stand up for the rule of law and the need for evidence-based accusation, he hasn't been able to do that,” Schrager said.
Lombardo has also vowed to end universal mail-in ballots, which are actually very popular among Republicans despite Trump’s lies about fraud. And Lombardo also wants voter ID laws. Those disproportionately deter marginalized communities from voting.
Despite Lombardo’s positions on elections, voting rights, and the 2020 vote, Motorola has stood by him. Motorola has played a key role in the trajectory of Lombardo’s career. In 2013, when Lombardo was an assistant sheriff, he brokered a deal for the Chicago-based telecommunications company to implement a new radio communications system for the Las Vegas Police Department. The contract was worth $26 million to Motorola.
Not long after, Lombardo ran for Clark County sheriff and won. In the 2014 election cycle, Motorola Solutions (directly, not through its PAC) donated a combined $10,000. Motorola was the only publicly traded company to donate to Lombardo.
Motorola’s radio system with the Las Vegas police went live the following year, during his time as the county sheriff.
Motorola was then awarded a second contract from the Las Vegas police department for $31 million. That deal was for “lifecycle management and support services.”
What can look like a relationship of political favors is perfectly legal in the state of Nevada
“That falls into the category of really unfortunate, but also commonplace. We have essentially normalized political favors for contributions,” Schrager said when told about the contract.
Motorola’s continued support for Lombardo, even after he started touting the Big Lie and voter-suppression tactics, shouldn’t be too surprising. The company through its PAC has donated to a plethora of Senate and House candidates who support the Big Lie and/or voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which Biden won by a significant margin.
In March, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported that less than a year after suspending congressional donations in the aftermath of Jan. 6, Motorola Solutions began donating again. By the time of CREW’s report, Motorola had donated more than $60,000 to 14 members who voted against election certification.
Neither Motorola nor Lombardo’s campaign responded to our requests for comment.
Andy Hirschfeld is a freelance reporter. You can find him on Twitter @andyreports.