John on May 4, 2007 at 8:50 am
In 2004, Reid got $1.1 million â€” three times what he paid for it â€” for residential property on the outskirts of Las Vegas even though he had not owned the land for three years.
The mastermind behind Reid’s sweet deal was one Jay Brown, who brags he’s been Reid’s friend “for over 35 years.” The one-time casino lawyer’s name has been connected to federal probes of organized crime and political bribery going back to the 1980s.
Brown’s scheme worked this way: Reid bought the land in 1998 from a developer and beneficiary of a federal land deal Reid supported. In 2001, Reid “transferred” the land at cost to a corporate entity established by Brown, not bothering to include it on his required yearly ethics report, and misleading Congress that he still owned the property. Brown then got local authorities to rezone the land for commercial use and sold it, slipping Reid a cool million and change.
The deal allowed Reid to avoid taxes as well as public scrutiny, and was a clear violation of Senate ethics rules. No wonder Reid hung up on the Associated Press when it tried to interview him before breaking the story last year.
Reid also violated federal election law by using campaign funds to pay for more than $3,000 in Christmas bonuses to staff, and slipped an earmark into the 2005 highway bill for a bridge between Nevada and Arizona that would hike the value of 160 acres he owns nearby.
But Reid’s take is small potatoes compared with the wheeling and dealing of another leading Senate Democrat, Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California. In her six years as ranking Democrat on the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies subcommittee, she “may have directed more than $1 billion to companies controlled by her husband,” according to American Conservative Union head David Keene, writing in the Hill, a Washington newspaper, on Monday.
URS and Perini Corp., under the control of Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, apparently got more than $1.5 billion in government business largely from Feinstein’s subcommittee.
“Interestingly, she left the subcommittee in late 2005 at about the same time her husband sold his stake in both companies,” quips Keene. The sale appears to have increased the combined net worth of the power couple by 25%, to a total in excess of $40 million.
Is the SEC â€” not to mention another SEC, the Senate Ethics Committee â€” allergic to investigating Democrats?
Add these to the Dem’s secret sex-scandal and you have quite a few things which — had they been done by Republicans — would be front page news. As it is, they don’t seem to register at all while the Alberto Gonzales non-scandal and the Paul Wolfowitz non-scandal enter their second (or is it third?) month of wall-to-wall coverage.
Category: MSM & Bias |