Western Journalism By Steve Baldwin
Senator Harry Reid claims to be an ethical politician and he often employs his Mormon religion in order to demonstrate his alleged immaculacy. However, the reality is that he is, in fact, one of the most ethically challenged politicians in office today. This report will review his alliances with corrupt individuals, his support of ACORN, his ties with organized crime figures and his chronic failure to comply with campaign finance laws.
Harry Reid’s Alliance with Jack Abramoff
Soon after the Jack Abramoff scandal broke, Reid took the lead in attacking Republicans for fostering a “culture of corruption.” (1)
But shortly after making these comments, it was reported that Reid took almost $68,000 from Abramoff’s firm, its PAC and its Indian casino clients. (2)
Reid then tried to distance himself from Abramoff, stating, “[D]on’t lump me in with Jack Abramoff. This is a Republican scandal. Don’t try to give any of it to me.” (3)
Here’s the key passage:
Harry Reid wrote at least four letters helpful in Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and Reid’s staff had frequent contact with the disgraced lobbyist’s team about legislation….Reid collected nearly $68,000 in political donations from Abramoff’s firm, lobbying partners and clients…Abramoff’s firm also hired one of Reid’s top legislative aides as a lobbyist. (4)
The bulk of the donation money came from Indian tribes who were Abramoff’s clients, most of whom owned casinos in the region. Reid’s letters were meant to influence the Interior Department to reject applications that would allow certain Indian tribes to open up new casinos. Reid was not acting in opposition to gambling, but was rather protecting the existing Indian casinos (Abramoff’s Clients) from having new competition in their regions. (5)
Reid Protects ACORN from Investigation
There is little doubt that ACORN is used by the Democrat party to fabricate voters and register illegal aliens in order to benefit their politicians. What’s more, there is little doubt that ACORN efforts benefited Reid’s campaigns.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the Las Vegas office of ACORN has been engaged in massive fraud. At least 48% of the registrations turned in by ACORN are fraudulent.
Indeed, it was so obvious that the ACORN Las Vegas office was raided by authorities. They found that 59 inmates from a work-release program at a nearby prison were employed by ACORN and found numerous irregularities. Its field director, Christopher Edwards, pled guilty to two gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy.
Despite these findings, when the US Senate voted 83-7 to block ACORN from bidding for additional federal grant money, Reid refused to hold a hearing on ACORN’s activities. Even after the scandal broke revealing that ACORN was assisting an underage prostitution operation, Reid claimed such an investigation of ACORN by Congress might distract attention from more important issues. (6)
Another publication reported that Reid wrote Senator Vitter to inform him that his call for an ACORN investigation was driven by his political bias!
In his letter to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the majority leader said he would rather not “ask our committees or this Congress to do anything that would detract from efforts” to address bigger priorities, including healthcare reform and economic recovery. He also expressed his concern that Vitter’s “interest in this matter is driven, at least in part, by partisan political views.” (7)
Perhaps Reid’s attitude here is due to the fact that the group which seems to be running ACORN, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), contributed nearly $50,000 to Reid’s campaign committee and leadership PAC. (8)
Reid’s Relationship with George Soros
George Soros is a foreign-born billionaire who is the single largest funder of many Anti-American groups: Move-On.org, Democracy Alliance, Media Matters, Health Care for America Now, Center for American Progress, and Campaign for America’s Future, just to name a few. Soros wants to destroy the principles America was founded upon and turn it into a “socialist paradise.”
Soros is a convicted inside trader who supports open borders, gay rights, abortion rights, increased union power and is hostile to the free enterprise system, even though he made billions off of it. He made his money in a very unethical and, many believe, illegal way – international currency speculation and manipulation. Some believe his fortune was made from drug smuggling since his empire is based offshore in the Netherlands Antilles; the CIA describes this location as “a transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money–laundering center.” (9)
But Soros’s shady background did not dissuade Reid from taking money from him. Since becoming the Senate Minority leader in 2005 and then the Majority leader in 2007, Reid has had operational control of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. While fundraising for the DSCC, Reid took over $220,000 from Soros, the Soros Fund Management, and various Soros family members. (10)
Reid Violated Federal Election Law by Using Campaign Funds for Christmas Bonuses
In 2006, it was reported that Reid paid Christmas bonuses to staff at the luxurious Ritz Carlton where he lived, using campaign funds. Federal Election law prohibits candidates from using campaign funds for such activity. (11)
Reid Uses his Office to Financially Benefit his Sons
Harry Reid has four sons who all work for Nevada’s largest law firm, Lionel, Sawyer & Collins. All of them have benefited from Reid.
Here’s how the Los Angeles Times puts it:
But Harry Reid is in a class by himself. One of his sons and his son-in-law lobby in Washington for companies, trade groups and municipalities seeking Reid’s help in the Senate. A second son has lobbied in Nevada for some of those same interests, and a third has represented a couple of them as a litigator.
In the last four years alone, their firms have collected more than $2 million in lobbying fees from special interests that were represented by the kids and helped by the senator in Washington.
Apparently such activities are not illegal. They should be. They are certainly unethical. The article details half a dozen examples of specific legislation pushed by Reid which benefited his sons. (12)
The Coyote Springs Land Deal Reid accepted donations from a key Chinagate fundraiser: John Huang.Huang was responsible for arranging illegal contributions for the Clintons; in return their administration signed off on hi-tech exports that helped China upgrade its weapons systems.
Indeed, part of it was originally intended for target practice for a defense contractor, part of it was a habitat for the endangered desert tortoise, part of it was for a power line right of way, and much of the property contained a fragile system of streams important to the local ecosystem.
But Whittemore was also a large donor to Reid. Whittemore and his family gave over $50,000 to Reid and his leadership fund over the last decade. Reid’s sons also received contributions for their campaigns. (13)
So they obviously came to an agreement: Whittemore poured money into Reid’s campaigns and Reid cleared the obstacles, allowing Whittemore to develop land for housing that was previously thought impossible to develop.
Reid inserted language in a land management bill that reallocated the power line corridor. Regarding the tortoise issue, he persuaded the Bureau of Land Management to swap that part of the property for land adjacent to the property. Then he persuaded the EPA to lesson their opposition to the project on grounds that it impacted the ecosystem of the area.
The Los Angeles Times covered the story:
Yet the valley – an hour northeast of Las Vegas – is on its way to becoming a real estate development of historic proportions, with as many as 159,000 homes, 16 golf courses and a full complement of stores and service facilities. At nearly 43,000 acres, Coyote Springs covers almost twice as much space as the next-largest development in a state famous for outsized building projects.
Helping make Coyote Springs come alive was an alliance between a multimillionaire developer and one of the highest-ranking members of Congress: Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader and a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
The relationship between developers such as Harvey Whittemore and politicians such as Reid is especially close in Nevada, home to a small fraternity of movers and shakers, powerful demands of
rapid population growth and a huge amount of federally owned land.
Over the last four years, Reid has used his influence in Washington to help the developer, Nevada super-lobbyist Whittemore, clear obstacles from Coyote Springs’ path. At one point, Reid proposed opening the way for Whittemore to develop part of the site for free – something for which the developer later agreed to pay the government $10 million. As the project advanced, Reid received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Whittemore. The contributions not only went to Reid’s Senate campaigns, but also to his leadership fund, which he used to help bankroll the campaigns of Democratic colleagues. (14)
Reid Collects $1.1 Million Windfall on Property he didn’t Own
In 2006, it was reported by the Associated Press that he collected $1.1 Million on land he hadn’t owned in three years. As the AP reports:
Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn’t personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show. In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.
The Nevada Democrat’s deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. ….In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn’t disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown’s company. (15)
The Del Webb Land Swap
A corporation called Del Webb wanted to acquire and develop 4,700 acres of prime federal land outside of Las Vegas. In order to make this transaction work, Del Webb wanted to use a federal program that swaps federal land for private land that is supposed to be environmentally sensitive. However, the land being offered by Del Webb for the swap was inferior land and not even close to the value of the federal land that he desired. Thus, the taxpayers would take a loss with such a swap.
There were also a lot of other obstacles and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opposed it for numerous reasons. Once again, Reid intervened with Federal agencies to make it happen; and once again, Reid’s campaign received over $50,000 from Del Webb for his efforts.
Indeed, Del Webb hosted a fund-raiser for Reid at its Phoenix headquarters. As Human Events reported:
In the early 1990s a helpless corporation, Del Webb, wanted to realize its personal dream and develop some land outside Las Vegas. There was just one problem: the government owned much of it and it wasn’t for sale! Employing the simple Reid Estate wealth building system, Del Webb hired a former Reid aide, donated $18,000 to Harry Reid’s campaign fund and then did the obvious
next thing: it purchased “environmentally sensitive” lands 400 miles away near Lake Tahoe.
After two letters to the Interior Department from Sen. Reid and a personal meeting organized by him, at which a government employee said he felt “pressured” by Reid, the Interior Department allowed Del Webb and its partners to swap that environmentally valuable land near Lake Tahoe for the environmentally worthless (but commercially valuable) land in Las Vegas. Reid claims to have done nothing unusual. (16)
Harry Reid Tied to Chinagate Figure
Reid accepted donations from a key Chinagate fundraiser: John Huang. Huang was responsible for arranging illegal contributions for the Clintons; in return their administration signed off on hi-tech exports that helped China upgrade its weapons systems.
Reid then later pushed for the Senate confirmation of the judge who let Huang off with just a “slap on the wrist.” As NewsMax reports:
In June 1999, Huang’s case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard Paez, who had six months earlier been nominated to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by President Clinton. Critics says the assignment presented a massive conflict of interest for Judge Paez, a concern fueled by the sentence he meted out to the Clinton donor in Aug. 1999.
Sen. Reid’s former donor received a mere $10,000 fine, 500 hours of community service and one year probation. When Paez’s 9th Circuit nomination came up for Senate confirmation, Republicans cried foul. Sen. Jeff Sessions complained that Paez had violated Justice Department sentencing guidelines that required Huang to serve jail time, calling the plea bargain “a dangerous agreement” and “a debasement of justice.”
But Sen. Reid went to bat for Huang’s judge, after being asked to reach out to other Mormon Senators by Mrs. Paez, a fellow Mormon. “That’s what I did,” Reid told the New York Times. (17)
Reid Accepted Free Boxing Tickets while a Related Bill was Pending
The AP first reported this ethical lapse:
Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) accepted free ringside tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission to three professional boxing matches while that state agency was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing. Reid took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 as he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission that Nevada’s agency feared might usurp its authority. (18)
Reid – A First Class Porker
In 2009 alone, Harry Reid requested money for pork projects that ended up costing taxpayers $229,773,429. Reid was responsible for diverting taxpayer money to all kinds of projects that should have never been the responsibility of the Federal Government. A few examples include:
Local transportation projects
Private research institutes
Research on water
Research on job training
Lake Tahoe bus facilities
Economic development projects for the town of Wells
Copper wire theft protection programs for Las Vegas
Lighting demonstration projects
Wastewater improvements for city of Henderson
Water treatment for city of Goldfield
School counseling projects for Las Vegas schools
Arts center for Las Vegas
While many of these projects may have merit, they should be funded at the city, county or state level. Forcing taxpayers nationwide to fund projects in Las Vegas or for sewage improvement for Goldfield is outrageous. (19) These projects alone were just in 2009!
One project Reid obtained $54 million for was for a “Magnetic Levitation Train.” The train would go from Disney Land to Las Vegas, but the project was opposed by the Department of Transportation. Nonetheless, numerous companies and individuals tied to this project gave Reid a total of $28,749.
One taxpayer group denounced the project as:
“[A] train to nowhere….We’re wasting tens of millions of dollars on a project nobody believes will be built except Harry Reid.” (20)
As Business Week Writes:
But Reid has pressed ahead, earmarking $9 million between 2000 and 2004 and winning a $45 million authorization in last year’s federal transportation bill. It’s just one small example of how congressional leaders can keep projects alive and how difficult it will be for reformers to stamp out earmarks — the hidden pots of cash that lawmakers tuck into spending bills for favorite projects or constituents. (21)
Reid’s love of pork knows no limits—most of the time it ends up benefiting him in some way or another. One earmark funded a bridge that was to be built in Laughlin, Nevada. The bridge would increase the value of all the property in that area, but what Reid played down, however, was the fact that he owned 160 acres of the land where the bridge was to be built. (22)
Reid even diverted money from the 2009 Defense Budget appropriation bill. So instead of defense funding going to our soldiers to help fight terrorism, Reid diverted this money to projects such as a Reno fire station, a “renewable energy” plant for the National Guard, and ammo “recycling.” (23)
Incredibly, when Reid first became Senate Minority Leader, he vowed to reform earmark abuse. Since then, not only has he failed to reform the abuse, he has become one of the biggest earmark abusers in the Senate.
Reid’s Positions On Issues
Some believe Reid is a moderate, but there’s really nothing to substantiate that, except for perhaps his stance on the issue of gun control. Regardless, his most recent ratings are fairly liberal:
His ACU ratings have ranged from 26 in 2003 to 0 in 2007, but since 2002, the average has been 12. His ACLU rating is 44; his ADA rating is a perfect 100; his League of Conservation Voters and NARAL ratings are also perfect 100s; and his pro-Union vote, according to SEIU, is 92.
In other words, he’s hard left on abortion, environment, and union issues. Some commentators have tried to claim that Reid is pro-life because he says he is “personally” opposed to abortion. Well, so is Ted Kennedy and the fact of the matter is that Reid has perfect ratings with all pro-abortion groups.
Even concerning gun control, much has been made of the fact that Reid is allegedly conservative on that issue. However, that’s not totally accurate.
While the NRA gave him a “B” in 2004, Gun Owners of America gave Reid an “F” four out of the last six years. Moreover, the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence gave him a perfect 100 in 2000 and the Brady Gun Control Group gave him a 71 in 2003. Indeed, just within the last year Reid supported these anti-gun actions:
* Voted for the Stimulus Bill which contained anti-gun language
* Voted for legislation that expanded the amount of land covered by the national parks gun ban.
* Voted to confirm Attorney General Eric Holder who doesn’t believe the 2nd Amendment is an individual right.
* Voted to confirm dozens of other anti-gun appointees, including the Sotomayor nomination
to the US Supreme Court, even though she wrote an opinion that the 2nd amendment did not apply to the states.
* Voted to block legislation to repeal the unconstitutional gun ban in the District of Columbia
On Homosexual issues, Reid told gay rights activists that he opposes his own church’s views on homosexual marriage. He actually criticized the LDS church for backing Prop. 8, the measure which banned same-sex marriage in California.
Reid also signed a letter supporting an anti-Prop 8 march. (24)
But this shouldn’t be surprising since Reid has always voted for gay rights legislation and has received funding from the leading homosexual PAC, the Human Rights Campaign. (25)
War on Terrorism
On foreign policy issues, Reid appears to be clueless. He called for the United States to pull out of Iraq and then laughed about the consequences of doing so. As most experts say, a pull out of our troops would lead to total chaos and ethnic cleaning on an unprecedented level. (26)
Reid also said the surge would not work in Iraq before it even had a chance to work—There’s little doubt such rhetoric demoralized our troops. (27)
On Health care, Reid obviously supports socialized health care and has called opponents to Obama’s health care plan “evil mongers.” (28)
Indeed, Reid parroted fabricated facts given to him by the Soros-funded, pro-socialist medicine group “Health Care for America Now.” He claimed that profits for health insurance companies rose 450% since 2000:
There is no business in America that makes more money than the insurance industry – over the last 10 years their profits have increased by 450 percent. (29)
But, according to numerous studies, the average profit margin for health care insurance groups has been 3 to 3.5 % annually, a figure that is less than many industries. (30)
According to Reid: “Social Security is the most successful program in the history of the world,” even though it is headed toward collapse. (31)
Ironically, Reid, as a member of Congress, introduced a bill that would allow members of congress to opt out of social security. (32)
One of the most shocking statements made by Reid is his claim on a television talk show that the paying of income taxis voluntary.
“Our system of government is a voluntary taxation system.”
His most recent rating with the National Taxpayers Union is 7%, making him one of the most reckless spenders in congress.
Reid’s views on energy and the environment are unbelievable. He wholeheartedly believes in global warming and will support any and all legislation that will cripple American industry in order to bring us in compliance with the demands of the radical environment movement.
His attitude toward our natural resources is stunning; he told one group this:
“Coal is making us sick…oil makes us sick. Its global warming, it’s ruining our country. It’s ruining our world.”
Reid opposes all oil drilling, including drilling in ANWR. He opposes nuclear energy; His solution for American energy crisis is solar and wind energy, a ridiculous notion according to energy experts. While economical, solar and wind energy can never meet all our energy needs.
Naturally, Reid supports the Cap and Trade legislation. (33)
Reid supports amnesty for all illegal aliens and introduced a bill last January that would do just that. The bill contains provisions which are anti-border security and even cite the unification of homosexual partners as justification for the amnesty! (34)
But Reid has also been in favor of open borders. He led an effort to block an amendment that required citizenship verification for those who receive stimulus funds. (35)
When Senator John Cornyn introduced an amendment to end the “Catch and Release” policy, Reid prevented a vote on it. (36)
In 2001, Reid placed an earmark in a bill that would give $5 million to the National Council of La Raza, a radical Hispanic group that advocates open borders. (37)
Harry Reid’s Mob Connections
The connections between Harry Reid and the Mafia are quite numerous, but much of it is complicated. Ironically, Reid wants to build a $50 million dollar “Mob Museum” in Las Vegas, paid for by the taxpayers. (38) Indeed, Reid inserted this money into the Stimulus Bill. Why does Reid want to glorify a murderous bunch of thugs? Does he have fond memories of the days when the Mob ran Las Vegas?
Reid likes to claim he was responsible for chasing the Mob out of Las Vegas and portrays himself as some type of hero by claiming to have “cleaned up Las Vegas and ushered in a new era of responsibility.” (39)
The fact is that the Mob may not be as involved with the casinos as they once were, but they are still heavily involved in Las Vegas and Reid knows this. In fact, the mob has moved into sports betting. Indeed, in a report requested by the U.S. Congress in 1999, the National Gambling Commission estimated illegal sports betting generates around $80 billion; half of that figure betted on football games. (40)
I will outline the major links Reid has with the Mob; most of this is taken from a 4-part report by a mysterious author with the alias “Fedora,” all of which can be accessed in the footnotes.
What Former FBI Agent Joseph Yablonsky Says
Yablonsky was a FBI special agent in charge of the Las Vegas office for four years, until his retirement in 1983. When interviewed by journalist Del Tartikoff in 1996 Yablonsky was asked questions about many Las Vegas figures, including Reid:
Yablonsky: “Harry Reid is a mealy-mouth, and he was in their pocket just like the rest of them. Of course, there’s certain things I know I can’t speak about because of Privacy Act considerations. But he’s a worm, and he was a congressman, back there, representing Mr. Greenspun, you now, trying to agitate in terms of my removal. But all you’ve got to do is
read the pone he read when they had that phony Sinatra licensing.”
Tartikoff: “He wrote a poem?”
Yablonsky explained that, even though Frank Sinatra has lost a gaming license in the State of Nevada back in 1963 after evidence surfaced that mobster Sam Giancana was the real owner of the Cal-Nevada Lodge at Lake Tahoe and that Sinatra was merely a mob-friendly figurehead, Sinatra was back before the state Gaming Control Board in the late ‘70s, seeing a gaming license again.
“After this ridiculous hearing,” he said, “when Sinatra went up for licensing which had no adversary witnesses – McNeil-Lehrer played a half-hour of it on their program without even making a comment, it was so obvious. And when it came up to the Gaming Commission, which you know is [the top tier of] a two-tiered system, Reid was the chairman, and he read this kiss-ass poem. He’s a faker.” (41)
So here you have the former head FBI agent in charge of investigating the mob in Las Vegas admitting Reid was “in their pocket” and relating how Reid voted to return to Sinatra his license to own gaming casinos, even though the Gaming Commission had access to plenty of information indicating that Sinatra remained connected to the Mob.
The Gaming Commission, led by Reid, dismissed strong evidence presented by FBI informants and other police reports. During the proceedings, Sinatra lied about his relationship with Mobster Willie Moretti, claiming he was just “a neighbor.” Sinatra denied making a pay-off to Lucky Luciano and acted like he didn’t know Sam Giancana. When Sinatra was questioned about a 1976 photo of himself with a group of prominent Gambino family mobsters, Sinatra claimed that he didn’t even know these men and that one of them wanted a picture with him and “before I realized what happened, there were approximately eight or nine men standing around me and several other snapshots were made.” (42)
This outrageous pack of lies was accepted by Reid who told the New York Times that he found Sinatra’s defense convincing! As New York Times reporter Robert Lindsey recounted:
All the old charges appeared to have been dispensed with. Yet, at least some observers said afterward that they felt there was less to the hearing than met the eye. Mr. Sinatra was treated with a kind of awe. He and his lawyer-manager, Milton Rudin, appeared to know many of the panel’s questions in advance. Board investigators seemed to base many of their conclusions solely on the singer’s own word; on some points, their fact-finding appeared to have been naively superficial. . .
Several times, when asked a potentially embarrassing question, Mr. Sinatra said that his memory failed him; he also gave some puzzling replies. In answering a question about the incident that led to the loss of his gaming license in 1963, he firmly denied knowing that the late Sam Giancana, a Chicago mobster, had visited the Cal Neva Lodge in violation of state laws barring gangsters from casinos. But when asked if he had ever admitted knowing Mr. Giancana was there, he answered, ”I might have said almost anything; if I said it, I don’t believe I meant it because I never saw him.”. . . Whatever Mr. Sinatra’s relationships might have been with the underworld, no matter whether he had been treated unfairly by the press, as he claims, there appeared to be a desire at the hearing to reinstate him, if for no other reason than that he’s good for business. (43)
After Reid and his fellow gaming commissioners awarded Sinatra gaming rights regarding Caesars Palace, Caesars Palace donated at least $8,000 to Reid. (44)
Reid’s Ties to Mob Attorney Jay Brown
Jay Brown is a partner with Reid in a shady land deal that yielded $1.1 million for Reid, a transaction that he failed to report. Brown goes way back with the Mob mostly as one of the Mob’s main attorneys. Brown and his law firm have been counsel for numerous high profile mob cases. As the Washington Post reports:
“Brown’s name has surfaced in federal investigations involving organized crime, casinos and political bribery since the 1980s.” (45); (46); (47)
Brown was also the attorney for a mob-controlled bar called the Crazy Horse and has close ties to the Bononno crime family.
Brown is also a huge donor to Reid, giving him or to his leadership fund close to $60,000. (48)
Reid has Four Sons who Work for a Law Firm that Defends Mobsters
All four of Reid’s sons have worked for Lionel Sawyer & Collins, a firm that also employs John Dawson, an expert in transferring assets offshore. It is believed that Dawson is involved with hiding the assets of convicted Mobster Rick Rizzolo, who was in trouble with the law for using his Crazy Horse bar to engage in illegal activities. Many people were beaten in this bar, some died, but those suing Rizzolo had a difficult time getting their money due to Rizzolo’s assets being hidden. John Dawson’s brother Kent was appointed to the Federal Bench by Senator Reid. And Kent Dawson, as Judge, has a history of giving out lenient sentences to mob connected people. Both Kent and John Dawson are heavy donors to Harry Reid. (49); (50); (51)
The Reno managing partner of Lionel Sawyer & Collins is Frederick Whittemore, whose clients have included casino mogul Steve Wynn, identified in a Scotland Yard report as a front man for the Genovese Mob family and connected to some high profile drug dealers. (52)
Moreover, Rory Reid and Mob attorney Jay Brown both acquired stock in American Enterprises, a company that operates the Table Mountain Indian casino near Fresno, California and Brown became an agent for this company. A short time later, Brown and other officers of this company gave Reid campaign contributions. (53) Is it illegal for Harry Reid’s son to invest in the gaming business along with Mob lawyers and then used their connections to donate to Harry Reid? No, but it certainly raised the question of why so many mob-connected people want to keep Reid in power.
Reid was Investigated for Accepting Mob Bribes as Head of the Nevada Gaming Commission
While Reid was cleared of this charge, lots of questions remain. Federal authorities were unable to prove Reid was being bribed. However, the main evidence for this was a tape recorded conversation involving Kansas City Mobster Joe Agosto. Unknown to Agosto, the FBI was taping him:
“I’ve gotta Cleanface in my pocket.”
Cleanface was the codename Agosto gave Reid. At the time, Reid was chairman of the all powerful Nevada Gaming Commission.
But there was other evidence that Reid favored the Mob while serving as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. One of his first acts was to approve the sale of the Hacienda Hotel/Casino to an individual named Paul Lowden despite objections by the state’s Gaming Control Board having to do with “hidden associates” of Lowden’s. Lowden later gave $6,000 in campaign contributions to Reid. (54); (55)
Reid also led the Nevada Gaming Commission in approving a deal that allowed associates of Agosto to skim money from the Tropicana. What’s more, Reid also approved applicants for some projects proposed by the Del Webb Corporation, also known to be connected to mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. (56)
Indeed, Reid’s tenure on the Nevada gaming Commission appears to have involved approving quite a few projects for people with mob connections. Moreover, it was Jimmy Carter’s Justice Department which “cleared” Reid of the charge of accepting mob bribes. This was a highly politicized department that was also unable to come up with any prosecutions in the Billygate, KoreaGate, ABSCAM, or BCCI scandals, despite massive evidence of corruption. (57)
It was Mob attorney and sometime Reid business partner, Jay Brown, who was accused of funneling casino money to Reid to influence his votes on the Gaming Commission. FBI informants had fingered Brown but when the grand jury questioned him, he took the fifth and refused to turn over the financial records for the Tropicana Casino, for whom he served as counsel. As a result of Brown’s obstructionism, the Justice Dept probe ended up going nowhere. For years after this, Brown was a heavy donor to Reid. (58); (59)
Essentially, Reid now has a political career and is able to claim he was never charged with bribery, all because the jury refused to believe an FBI information AND due to his buddy, Jay Brown, taking the fifth. No exactly a ringing endorsement of Reid’s honesty.