OCTOBER 12, 2006
A Democrat Congressional leader who earlier this year accepted gifts from a state agency trying to influence him, has again violated Senate rules by concealing a seven-figure payoff on a suspicious land deal orchestrated by a longtime friend known for political bribery and mob ties.
With the help of a well-connected and shady friend, Nevada Senator Harry Reid secretly collected a $1.1 million profit on land he hadn’t personally owned for years. To hide the deal, Reid transferred ownership, legal liability and tax consequences to a company owned by Jay Brown, a former casino lawyer who has been investigated by federal authorities.
The deal involves undeveloped residential property in the outskirts of Las Vegas that Reid supposedly purchased for $400,000 in 1998 from a developer who benefited from a government land swap that Reid supported.
Three years later Reid sold the land for the same price to a corporation created by his buddy, Brown. Reid violated Senate rules by failing to disclose the sale in his annual report and lying about his stake in his friend’s newly created company. In 2004, after local officials rezoned the area for a shopping center, the land’s value increased tremendously and was sold to developers allowing Reid to nearly triple his investment.
Senate ethics rules are clear in stating that members must disclose all investments, for profit or loss, on their annual reports. They must also report all financial stakes in companies, which Reid clearly didn’t do.
Besides the blatant violation by a party leader, it doesn’t shed a favorable light on the Senator to surround himself with mob-connected friends not to mention let them handle million-dollar business transactions. A longtime Nevada power broker, Brown’s name has for decades surfaced in federal investigations involving organized crime, casinos and political bribery.
Reid’s other recent ethics violations include accepting, over the years, very expensive ringside boxing tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission while that state agency was trying to influence him on the sport’s regulation. The good Senator also accepted donations from tribal clients of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and he held separate meetings in his Senate offices with them.
Perhaps this is why one political blog calls the Senator “Dirty Harry” and another asks where is the media outrage regarding the Democrat culture of corruption and, more importantly, where are Reid’s righteous and outspoken Congressional pals like Californian’s Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi?
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