Reid Goes Beyond Ethics Requirements, Disarms GOP Smear Campaign

That’s the title of the press release that Harry Reid put out to announce his response to the Associated Press story about his real estate dealings that we commented on in The Culture of Corruption in Las Vegas. I sense an effort to change the subject. Reid’s press release begins:

Last month, Republicans openly boasted that they would engage in a campaign of personal attacks and smears to hold onto power in Washington. In recent days, we witnessed their latest attempt to do just that.
Republicans may believe in cover-ups. I believe in ensuring all facts come to light.

That’s humorous on several levels. What Republicans “openly boasted that they would engage in a campaign of personal attacks and smears”? None, obviously. And Reid apparently believes in “ensuring all facts come to light” only after the Associated Press has blown the whistle.
Reid’s press release doesn’t get any more substantive; he never acknowledges, let alone answers, the key questions about his $700,000 real estate profit. How was he able to buy the land for $400,000 in the first place? Was it a payoff for helping the seller circumvent environmental regulations on a major project elsewhere in Nevada? Why did he go into partnership in this real estate deal with a lawyer whose name keeps coming up in organized crime investigations involving Las Vegas casinos? If his relationship with that lawyer is legitimate, why did Reid carefully structure his Senate ethics filings to eliminate any reference to their partnership or the corporate entity they jointly owned? Reid’s real estate interest appreciated by $700,000 in a very short time after his unacknowledged partner used Reid’s name to help obtain a rezoning that allowed a shopping center to be built on the site. Did Reid knowingly peddle his influence in Nevada and Washington to feather his own nest to the tune of $700,000?
You can scrutinize Reid’s press release for a long time without realizing that these questions are being asked. Needless to say, they aren’t being answered. Reid’s account ends the same way it began:

Nonetheless, I am reimbursing the campaign from my own pocket to prevent this issue from being used in the current campaign season to deflect attention from Republican failures.

I think that in reality, there is quite a different deflection going on here.

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