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Harry Reid went on offense yesterday ... of a sort. Claiming that his failure to properly disclose his partnership with Jay Brown -- an attorney with ties to a zoning-commission bribery case and reported links to organized crime -- amounted to a Republican plot to make him look dishonest, Reid filed amended disclosures five years after the fact to note the transfer of his properties into his and Brown's LLCs. His big offensive ground to a halt, though, when he revealed two other land transactions that had never been disclosed, and another mini-scandal erupted involving his use of campaign funds:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton, where he lives in an upscale condominium. Federal election law bars candidates from converting political donations for personal use.
Questioned about the expenditures by the Associated Press, Mr. Reid's office said yesterday that he was personally reimbursing his campaign for $3,300 in donations he had directed to the staff holiday fund at his residence.
Mr. Reid also announced he was amending his ethics reports to Congress to more fully account for a Las Vegas land deal, highlighted in an AP story last week, that allowed him to collect $1.1 million in 2004 for property he hadn't personally owned in three years.
In that matter, the senator hadn't disclosed to Congress that he first sold land to a friend's limited liability company back in 2001 and took an ownership stake in the company. He collected the seven-figure payout when the company sold the land again in 2004 to others.
Let's get this straight. Reid's failure to follow the Senate rules on disclosure in 2001, when he sat on the Ethics Committee, somehow got set up by the Republicans. Reid's connection to an attorney involved in a bribery case that directly related to zoning decisions in Clark County, where they both owned property, was a Rovian plot set in motion in 1998. And now Reid's new disclosures of property in an area where he has taken an intense legislative interest somehow relates to Republicans, when no one even mentioned the parcels in question -- because Reid failed to disclose them during his entire time as Senate Minority Leader, while he has castigated Republicans for alleged ethical lapses.
The only reason he's coming clean is because the AP caught him breaking the rules earlier, and it pointed out the extensive connections between Reid, Nevada land developers, and the legislation he has championed that has benefitted all of them.
As far as the Christmas bonuses go, it pales in significance to Reid's land deals and rule breaking on personal finances, but they still have some significance as an indicator of Reid's indifference to the rules. No one much cared how the money wound up in the hands of the hotel staff, so the "clerical error" explanation makes some sense. In Reid's organization, the rules don't apply, and this rule means a lot less to the taxpayers than Reid's manipulation of federal land deals. I doubt many will begrudge staff their Christmas party, but for a man who likes to demand strict compliance to regulations from his opponents, he has a strange allergy to adhering to them himself.
Besides, the man made $700,000 in profits in 2004 on that one sale of land that, according to his disclosure statements, he didn't even own at the time. He couldn't even part with $1200 of it from his own pocket in gifts and a Christmas party for his staff? He had to stick his contributors with the bill? Perhaps he figured it all came from the same source and didn't make much difference.
UPDATE: The bonuses were for the hotel staff, not Reid's staff -- which makes the petty book-cooking even more laughable. Apparently Reid can't tip from his own pocket. Thanks to CQ commenters for the clarification.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on October 17, 2006 8:03 AM
» Senator Reid’s sinking ship of lies - III from Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
Let’s see, we have Harry and the Land Deal….Which he said he was going to talk to the Ethics Committee (until they told him that they would talk to him later….hint, hint, after which he furiously filing corrections. Sorry Harry won... [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 8:52 AM
» Reid’s Troubles from Blue Crab Boulevard
Well, the MSM may be pretty well leaving Harry Reid alone on his ethical problems, but Ed Morrisey sure isn't. It turns out that Reid had more land parcel dealings that were not disclosed, not just the first one the AP reported. Harry Rei... [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 9:51 AM
» Captain Ed’s Take On The Latest Reid Revelations from Hang Right Politics
It’s incumbent upon those of us in the blogosphere to expose Democratic hypocrisy and corruption so that voter’s know who and what they are dealing with. After all, Democrats have pulled every last dirty trick out of their hats in order to... [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 10:25 AM
» Which Republicans Have Criticized Reid? from Sensible Mom
Reid hits the podium faster than Superman outrunning a speeding bullet whenever there's a whiff of scandal among republicans. I haven't heard of any news conferences by republicans denouncing him, but yet he claims it's a republican plot. [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 11:11 AM
» Quick links from Sister Toldjah
News and notes from the MSM and the blogosphere: – The talented RightWingSparkle is leaving the blogosphere, to pursue volunteer work, which is - as you’ll see from her post - something she finds immensely rewarding. Here’s wishing h... [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 12:28 PM
» How Dare You Attack Me, And By The Way, Here Are A Couple More Disclosures from Bill's Bites
Harry Reid went on offense yesterday ... of a sort. Claiming that his failure to properly disclose his partnership with Jay Brown -- an attorney with ties to a zoning-commission bribery case and reported links to organized crime -- amounted [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 12:53 PM
Tracked on October 17, 2006 2:12 PM
» Return of the Grinch from thinkinboutstuff
I’m beginning to feel like Senator Reid is the Grinch and we are all being treated like we are as naive as Cindy Lou Who. You remember…. Cindy Lou: Santie Claus, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree, why? Grinch: Why my sweet little... [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 3:15 PM
» Ethical Lapses Ignored from Flopping Aces
So Senator Reid has now disclosed that not only did he fail to report the fact that he sold land to a friends LLC in return for an ownership stake in the company, but that he failed to report two other land deals: Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid an... [Read More]
Tracked on October 17, 2006 5:28 PM
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