Friday, March 28, 2014

Democrat Harry Reid: Nevada’s Dirty Money + DC’s Swamp

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Harry Reid is going after the billionaire Koch brothers, David and Charles, spending $3 million of PAC money on anti-Koch TV ads and on the Senate floor, attacking the two as “un-American.”

Matthew Continetti, writing in the conservative Washington Free Beacon, finds this all ironic, especially when Reid says the Koch brothers “rig the system to benefit themselves.” Reid “should know,” Continetti writes, then proceeds to document how thoroughly Reid has turned the system to Reid’s advantage:
  • the “Clark County Conservation of Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002” delivered a “cavalcade of benefits” to real estate developers, corporations, and local institutions that were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees to Reid’s sons’ and son-in-law’s firms. 
  • Firms tied to the Reid family, the Los Angeles Times reported, earned more than $2 million from 1998 to 2002 “from special interests that were represented by the kids and helped by the senator in Washington.” How much more have they earned in the 11 years since--9 of which Reid has been Senate Democratic leader? 
  • After a 2011 trip to China, Reid began touting the virtues of ENN Energy Group, a Chinese firm that sought to build a $5 billion solar farm in Nevada. Reid’s son Rory represented ENN, and commissioners friendly with Reid’s family agreed to sell property to ENN for one-sixth of the land’s appraised value. 
  • Reid pressured Homeland Security officials to approve the visas of Chinese casino investors represented by Rory Reid. 
  • Reid has “sponsored at least $47 million in earmarks that directly benefited organizations that one of his sons, Key Reid, either lobbies for or is affiliated with.” 
  • Reid sponsored a $22 million earmark to buy a bridge over the Colorado River connecting Laughlin, Nev. gambling resorts to Bullhead City, Ariz., where Reid owns 160 acres. 
  • Reid benefitted from Nevada lobbyist Harvey Whittemore using associates as “straw donors” to run more than $130,000 in dirty money to Reid’s campaign. (Whittemore unfortunately was sentenced to two years in prison for violating campaign finance laws.) 
Ryan Elisabeth Reid
  • Reid used $31,000 in campaign funds to buy “gifts for my staff and supporters” provided by granddaughter Ryan Elisabeth Reid, Rory Reid’s daughter, a “performing arts professional” living in Brooklyn. 
  • Ryan Reid is the artistic director of the Sprat Theatre Company, which benefits from Caesar's Palace--a Reid supporter--funding a proposal to bring Ryan Reid’s play to Vegas, “because she needs the help.” 
 Continetti concludes:
“I must study politics and war,” John Adams said, “that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” In Harry Reid’s America a man must win political office so that his sons may have the liberty to practice law and register as lobbyists, engage in rent-seeking and government relations and crisis management and communications, in order to give their children a right to live in Brooklyn, to enroll in the New School, to visit the Vermont Studio Center, to have cronies finance their off-off-off-Broadway shows, to enjoy their allowance from grandpa.

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