The Many Scandals of Harry Reid (Part 4)


In May 2006, it was discovered that had Reid 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. He 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.

He defended the gifts, saying that they would never influence his position on the bill and he was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry.

“Anyone from Nevada would say I’m glad he is there taking care of the state’s number one businesses,” he said. “I love the fights anyways, so it wasn’t like being punished,” added the senator, a former boxer and boxing judge.

Senate ethics rules generally allow lawmakers to accept gifts from federal, state or local governments, but specifically warn against taking such gifts, particularly on multiple occasions, when they might be connected to efforts to influence official actions. Two senators who joined Reid for fights with the complimentary tickets took markedly differently steps.

Senator John McCain of Arizona insisted on paying $1,400 for the tickets he shared with Reid for a 2004 championship fight. Senator Ensign accepted free tickets to another fight with Reid but already recused himself from Reid’s federal boxing legislation because his father was an executive for a Las Vegas hotel that hosts fights.

Reid defended his decisions to accept the tickets and to take several actions benefiting former lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s clients and partners as they donated to him.

“I’m not (a) goodie two shoes, I just feel these events are nothing I did wrong,” Reid said.

On September 4, 2008, a Washington court found Abramoff guilty of trading expensive gifts, meals and sports trips in exchange for political favors, and U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle sentenced him to a four-year term in prison, to be served concurrently with his previous sentences. Abramoff cooperated in a bribery investigation leading to 21 people either pleading guilty or being found guilty, including White House officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian, U.S. Representative Bob Ney, and nine other lobbyists and Congressional aides.

Reid, who voted in support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, had changed his mind by March 2007, when he voted in favor of “redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008”.

Reid said on April 19, 2007, “I believe, myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense, and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows — this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday.”

He also said, “As long as we follow the President’s path in Iraq, the war is lost.”

A year later, while speaking about Senator Obama as a presidential candidate, Reid stated that Obama was a viable candidate because he was “light skinned” and had “no negro dialect unless he wanted one.” Although Republican leaders called for his resignation, Reid apologized to President Obama and African-American leaders and remained in power.

In July of 2012, Reid was interviewed by the Huffington Post. In that interview, he asserted that he had been contacted by a source whom he found to be credible and told that Mitt Romney had not paid taxes for a ten year time period while he was employed at Bain Capital.

Reid also stated that Romney’s father would be ashamed at the fact that his son had released only two years of tax returns as compared to his father’s decision to release 12 years when he ran for President.

Senator Reid continued by stating that a person who used to work at Bain capital had contacted him and stated that Governor Romney did not pay taxes for at least a 10 year span while working at Bain.

“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” reports the Huffington Post. (His source called and told him) … Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years. He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain. But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”

Reid adds, “You guys have said his wealth is $250 million. Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”

The interview caused a media problem for Reid, so he spoke on the Senate floor on August 2, 2012 about the matter, reapplying his opinion.

“When we’re talking about trust, we need to look no farther than my friend the Republican Leader wants to be president of the United States,” Reid said. “He’s refused to release his tax returns, as we know. If a person coming before this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn’t be if he did the same refusal Mitt Romney does about tax returns.”

“So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years,” Reid continued. “Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t. We already know from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account. Not making that up, that’s in the partial year that he gave us.”

Meanwhile, Reid is busy rewriting both Nevada and U.S. history. When asked about renaming Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport during a ceremony in August 2012, at the airport’s new Terminal Three, he said he was for it — but that’s not all he had to say.

“Pat McCarran was one of the most anti-Semitic — some of you might know my wife’s Jewish — one of the most anti-black, one of the most prejudiced people who has ever served in the Senate,” said Reid, “It’s not a decision I’m going to make, but if you ask me to give my opinion, I don’t think his name should be on anything.”

McCarran was a United States Senator from Nevada from 1933 until his death in 1954. He was also Nevada Chief Justice, chairman of the Nevada State Board of Parole Commissioners, chairman of the Nevada State Board of Bar Examiners and district attorney for Nye County.

The only thing he was “anti-” on was Communism — which he hated with a passion.

This is the second time Reid has attacked a deceased Nevada politician. In 2009, he released his biography, “The Good Fight,” a play on words referring to his boxing background, claiming Nevada U.S. Congressman Walter Baring told him President John Kennedy’s assassination was “a good thing.”

The book comes with pictures. They fall between pages 116 and 117.

One of the photographs shows Reid in his Capitol policeman uniform, next to the Nevada Cherry Blossom Princess. Next to her is Nevada’s Democrat Congressman Walter Baring.

Baring was Nevada’s only Congressman at the time. Reid claims that on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated Baring told him it was good thing as JFK was leading the U.S. into Communism.

“There is no way my dad would have said anything like that, much less to Harry Reid,” said Jeff Baring, son of former Congressman Walter Baring, “Simply, no way.”

Then in April 2013, Reid nominated Las Vegas attorney Jennifer Dorsey to become a federal judge, however two senior partners at the law firm where Dorsey works made large contributions to the political action committee ‘Majority PAC’ founded by Reid to electing Democratic Senate candidates.

Records show Will Kemp made a $100,000 contribution, while J. Randall Jones made a $50,000 contribution. Critics are now questioning whether Reid’s support was “bought” with the law partners’ donations.

Dorsey donated $2,500 to Reid’s PAC in March 2012 after mentioning her interest in becoming a judge. That donation was also reportedly returned by Reid and his office took her name into consideration, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal: “Dorsey’s personal contribution to Reid’s campaign was returned as the senator weighed her possible nomination and wanted to avoid an appearance of conflict,” said Reid spokeswoman, Kristen Orthman.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Dorsey along a party-line vote after the Federal Elections Committee determined the donations didn’t violate any laws. She received her commission on July 9, 2013.

Lastly, there are rumors that Reid is suffering from a mental illness, saying something, then denying it. If he is not mentally ill, then as one national radio talk show host put it, “Senator Reid is a liar.”

“We heard about the evils of Obamacare,” Reid stated from the Senate Floor in late February 2014, “about the lives it’s ruining in Republicans’ stump speeches and in ads paid for by oil magnates, the Koch brothers. But in those tales, turned out to be just that: tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements…There’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”

However, by late March of this year, Reid, again from the Senate Floor claimed he didn’t call anyone a liar.

“I have never come to the floor, to my recollection, I’ve never said a word about examples that Republicans have given regarding Obamacare and how it’s not very good,” said Reid. “Mr. President, the junior senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently talking about the fact that examples that he and others Republicans have given dealing with Obamacare, examples that are bad, I’ve called lies. Mr. President, that is simply untrue…”

Either way, Reid has remained unscathed through all of this.

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