Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, Nevada

Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, Nevada

Nevada looked poised to join other states in limiting what is known as "civil asset forfeiture." The practice allows police to seize cash and other goods if they believe they were involved in a crime, then keep the proceeds or share them with other law enforcement agencies, such as district attorneys’ offices.

But the bill died this year, and some proponents of the reform blame Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, a freshman Democratic legislator and a deputy district attorney for Clark County, who had sharp questions for the speakers who testified in favor of the bill.

“It presents a clear conflict of interest," said Lee McGrath, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit that supported the bill. “It begs the question as to why there are not better recusal laws.”

Cannizzaro declined to comment. Sen. Tick Segerblom, a Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said he did not think Cannizzaro had a conflict. “We all bring to the table what we know, what our jobs are,” he said.

Reporting by the Center for Public Integrity’s Liz Essley Whyte and David Jordan; The Associated Press’ Summer Ballentine, Ryan J. Foley, Michelle Price, Holly Ramer, Gary Robertson, Mark Scolforo, Brian Slodysko.

Check out the full series: