You’d never know it from the mainstream media puff pieces of Harry Reid’s sudden retirement, but it was a long string of corruption scandals—including a recent one involving his attorney son—that drove the veteran Nevada senator to abruptly leave public office.
For nearly a decade Judicial Watch has investigated and exposed Reid’s involvement in a multitude of transgressions and JW even warned the Senate Ethics Committee, but not surprisingly, no action was ever taken. On multiple occasions the Senate minority leader appeared on JW’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list for his role in a number of political scandals that got more serious as his seniority and clout in Congress increased.
As far back as 2006 Reid was in hot water for violating Senate rules by concealing a seven-figure payoff on a suspicious land deal orchestrated by a longtime friend known for political bribery and mob ties. The influential senator secretly collected a $1.1 million profit on land he hadn’t personally owned for years. To hide the deal, Reid transferred ownership, legal liability and tax consequences to a company owned by a former casino lawyer who has been investigated by federal authorities. Months earlier Red got busted for accepting gifts from a state agency trying to influence him. In that scheme the lawmaker quietly took very expensive ringside boxing tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission while that state agency was trying to influence him on the sport’s federal regulation.
In 2012 Reid made JW’s corrupt politician list because he was embroiled in an influence-peddling scandal involving a Chinese “green energy” client of a Nevada law firm run by his son Rory. The senator was one of the Nevada projects most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on its behalf, according to a mainstream news report. Reid’s son was an attorney at the prominent Las Vegas firm that represented the Chinese Company, ENN Energy Group, and helped it locate a 9,000-acre desert site for well below its appraised value from Clark County.
In 2013 Reid was again named to JW’s most corrupt politician list for taking more than $130,000 in illegal campaign funds from a shady donor, Harvey Whittemore, who eventually went to jail. Whittemore hired four of the senator’s sons at a law firm in which he served as senior partner and worked with Reid on huge land deals that required federal legislation. Additionally, Reid sponsored at least $47 million in earmarks that directly benefitted organizations with close ties to one of his sons, Key Reid. The legislator also colluded with President Obama to nix a proposed nuclear waste dump in Yucca Mountain Nevada after U.S. taxpayers spent $15 billion on the project.
More recently Reid abused his authority to pressure the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite a $115 million foreign investor visa deal critical to his son’s casino client. Reid got the DHS to override agency procedures to rush through hundreds of visa applications from foreign nationals who helped fund a Las Vegas hotel and casino that hired Rory Reid to provide legal representation for the project, according to a recent news report. The article goes into tremendous detail about the illicit scheme that evidently served as the straw that broke the camel’s back. A few days later Reid said he wouldn’t run for a sixth term in the Senate. His hometown newspaper called it a “surprise announcement.” On his government website, Reid posted a goodbye video saying he did his best though hasn’t been perfect.