What Really Happened to Harry Reid? Part 2 [Updated]

Scott wrote here about Harry Reid’s announcement that he will not run for re-election, a decision which, Reid was quick to say, was not the result of his “elastic exercise band” accident. In January, I wrote OK, So What Really Happened to Harry Reid? I noted the injuries that Reid suffered on New Year’s Day, in Las Vegas: multiple broken bones around his right eye, damage to the right eye, severe facial bruising, broken ribs, and a concussion. Was all of this really the result of losing his balance because an elastic exercise band broke? That seems unlikely, to say the least.

Anyone who saw Reid would say that he looked like he had been beaten up by a guy with a hard left, maybe using brass knuckles:


Even now, Reid apparently doesn’t have the use of his right eye:


When a guy shows up at a Las Vegas emergency room on New Year’s Day with severe facial injuries and broken ribs, and gives as an explanation the functional equivalent of “I walked into a doorknob,” it isn’t hard to guess that he ran afoul of mobsters. Yet the national press has studiously averted its eyes from Reid’s condition, and has refused to investigate the cause of his injuries. To my knowledge, every Washington reporter has at least pretended to believe Reid’s story, and none, as far as I can tell, has inquired further.

This hasn’t stopped people from wondering what happened. Every day, thousands of people Google “What happened to Harry Reid?” or “What really happened to Harry Reid?” So far, more than 90,000 such searchers have found their way to my “OK, So What Really Happened to Harry Reid?” post, which is typically the first thing that comes up on Google:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 3.32.55 PM

A friend of mine was in Las Vegas a week or two ago. He talked to a number of people there about Reid’s accident, and didn’t find anyone who believed the elastic exercise band story. The common assumption was that the incident resulted, in some fashion, from Reid’s relationship with organized crime. The principal rumor my friend heard was that Reid had promised to obtain some benefit for a group of mobsters. He met with them on New Year’s Day, and broke the bad news that he hadn’t been able to deliver what he promised. When the mobsters complained, Reid (according to the rumor) made a comment that they considered disrespectful, and one of them beat him up.

Is that what really happened? I have no idea, but it is a more likely story than the elastic exercise band yarn.

What happened to Reid is not just a matter of curiosity. Everyone knows that the Reid family has gotten rich, even though Reid has spent his entire career as a public employee. It is known that a considerable part of his fortune came from being cut in on sweetheart Las Vegas land deals that included at least one person associated with organized crime as a principal. Was the Senate Majority Leader in the pocket of the Mafia? That seems like a question worth exploring, and yet, to my knowledge, not a single investigative reporter has chosen to look into the matter, even with the obvious clue of Reid’s face in front of them.

The deliberate blindness of Democratic Party reporters hasn’t stopped people from speculating about what really happened to Harry Reid, but so far, at least, it has prevented the story from exploding into a major scandal.

UPDATE: The left is pushing back against this post and its predecessor, most significantly this post by David Weigel at Bloomberg News. Weigel asserts two propositions: first, that the news media did a good job of investigating Reid’s curious accident, and second, that Reid really did injure himself when an elastic exercise band broke. But Weigel’s account does not suggest that any reporter carried out any investigation other than asking either Reid or his office what happened. That’s it. Some investigation! The press devoted more resources to Mitt Romney’s high school days than to an apparent beating inflicted on the Majority Leader of the Senate.

I think I have been clear about this, but just in case, here it is, one more time: I don’t believe that the severe injuries inflicted on Reid were caused by a snapping exercise band. To the casual observer, it appears that he was hit repeatedly in the face and the ribs with a hard left hand. But there are other possibilities; an automobile accident, for instance. Further, at this point I have no idea who assaulted Reid, if in fact that is what happened. Given the Las Vegas venue, Reid’s shady financial dealings, and his unwillingness to tell the truth about what happened, an encounter with organized crime has been an obvious focus of speculation by many. But there are other possible explanations for Reid’s reticence. We may have more on this before long.