Senate Democratic 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. He’s never been charged with wrongdoing — except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.
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The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown’s company without public knowledge, but still collect a seven-figure payoff nearly three years later.
Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.
This certainly seems like more of a case of political wrongdoing than did Reid’s utterly unsubstantiated charges that Mitt Romney did not pay any income tax. You remember those charges; they were the ones that Reid said he did not have to prove, and that Romney had to disprove, because in Harry Reid’s world, people are guilty until proven innocent and have to prove negatives–assuming that those people are Republicans.
In any event, given that the media gave far too much credibility to Reid’s completely substance-free accusations against Romney, it would be nice to see the media pay some attention to this story. There is, after all, a great deal more evidence that Harry Reid was involved in unethical–and possibly illegal–shenanigans, and he owes the public an explanation for this behavior. To help him out, I am willing to extend to him the presumption of innocence–the very same presumption that undergirds the American justice system, and the one that Reid refused to extend to Mitt Romney. After all, just because Harry Reid is a McCarthyite does not mean that the rest of us should be.