Donations, Gun Permits Link to Facebook Security Detail

Five months after executive bodyguard Martin Nielsen donated $45,000 to an independent campaign committee supporting Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith’s re-election, she gave him a hard-to-get concealed gun permit.

On March 26, the same day the sheriff signed off on Nielsen’s permit, she authorized yet another for Rachael Paskvan—one of his colleagues at AS Solution, a multi-national firm that employs bodyguards to protect Silicon Valley’s rich and famous.

Up until this past week, Paskvan’s LinkedIn profile listed her as an “executive protection agent” for AS Solution. Sometime in the past week or so, she updated her job title to “advance security manager” for Facebook. On Sept. 2, she posted on Facebook about leaving her job at AS Solution in Bellevue, Washington.

Paskvan has a master’s degree in international security with a focus on counterterrorism, according to a video uploaded to YouTube last year by AS Solution in which she advises women to be “unapologetically ambitious” in moving ahead in the male-dominated executive protection field.

Her name showed up on a list released late Thursday afternoon by the Sheriff’s Office, which is under a months-long investigation by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen for the way it administers its concealed weapon permits.

San Jose Inside broke the story about the DA probe in early August after prosecutors served a search warrant on Smith’s Younger Avenue headquarters, the home of Capt. James Jensen and one other officer whose identity San Jose Inside has yet to confirm. Investigators seized laptops, cellphones and stacks of concealed-carry permit files.

Nielsen made his remarkably generous donation to the pro-Smith Santa Clara County Public Safety Alliance PAC in early October—just about a month before the sheriff won an unprecedented sixth term in office. Attorney Christopher Schumb and mortgage lender James Campagna served as co-treasurers of the independent expenditure committee that accepted the Nielsen contribution.

Schumb has declined to comment on the probe; Campagna previously told San Jose Inside that he has nothing to hide and shared a scanned copy of Nielsen’s check.

A source familiar with the matter said the $45,000 payment came shortly after someone deposited $70,000 into Nielsen’s checking account linked to the Santa Monica branch of Citibank. If anyone else provided the money for Nielsen’s five-figure campaign gift, that would violate campaign finance law.

San Jose Inside has kept tabs on Nielsen since spotting his donation last fall, but only learned about Paskvan from the updated concealed-carry list released this week.

The records show that 14 new names were added to said list in 2019—the rest were renewed permits. And at least two have ties to AS Solution, which boasts Facebook C-suiters Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg as clients.

In all, per the Sheriff’s Office, there are about 150 people currently permitted to carry concealed guns in Santa Clara County. Sixteen of them were given the green light since Smith’s re-election. And nine donated to her 2018 campaign.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

13 Comments

  1. Jennifer,
    That sound like she over paid, In most states you can carry for free as it is your right under the second amendment.
    There maybe an app fee to make sure your not a member of Antifa or some Communist organization, but $45,000 is just ridiculous.
    Are you sure it wasn’t just a campaign contribution to a political ally of the same gender?

  2. What is the point of any gun control? All you have to do is make a donation to Laurie Smith and you get to carry a gun. This is why people do not trust government. If people want to ban guns, fine. I will back it. But this article shows, one call to Laurie Smith, or her pet slug, Robinson, and you get a AR 15 delivered. Why do Facebook employees need guns or people around them with guns. Some 7 Eleven manager cannot have one, but some social media maven gets any revolver they want.

    • to answer your question, the point of ‘gun control’ is to completely disarm the populace, even if it needs to be done one little step at a time. history shows why tyrants and facists seek to do this.

      • The primary reason for the second amendment was to enable the people to protect themselves from an oppressive government. Registration laws and universal background checks allow the government to identify gun owners, and disarm them at their whim.

  3. the sheriff won’t issue permits to taxpaying citizens so they can defend themselves but happily grants them to large campaign donators. The essence of corruption. lock her up.

  4. Laurie Smith has been suspected of wrongdoing for ages. “In 1992, Laurie Smith took evidence in an investigation implicating her. Now, the key figures in a sexual harassment allegation against the five-term sheriff are finally speaking out.” (according to San Jose Mercury News) https://extras.mercurynews.com/harass/

  5. > In all, per the Sheriff’s Office, there are about 150 people permitted to carry concealed guns in Santa Clara County.

    The anti-gun totalitarians should LOVE Laurie Smith.

    Under the U.S. Constitutions, 150,000 people should be permitted to carry concealed guns in Santa Clara County.

    Crime would go DOWN DOWN DOWN!

    “An armed society is polite society.”

  6. Of special note is the fact these so called “high ranking” administrators who are currently being actively investigated for FELONY charges are still on the job. Why aren’t they on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation? I would assume the people of Santa Clara County would not be pleased to know potential criminals are running their law enforcement agencies. Smith has frequently abused administrative leave as a punishment for her detractors, yet nothing for her boot licking keystone cops!?!

  7. CC permits are good they show someone is responsible and can protect themselves if they have to. Now if you did some investigative report on felons buying guns on the street and how easy that process is to CC illegally that might be interesting.

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