Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reid gets $1.1 million windfall

We may have a prospective new Democratic candidate for the Hall of Shame.

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 deal itself isn't quite as bad as it sounds -- Reid didn't directly own the land, but he owned a stake in the partnership that did.

However, his failure to report the sale of the land appears to be a clear violation of disclosure rules. And the "informal" arrangement with a rather shady partner sure doesn't polish his ethical resume.

he joins Rep. William Jefferson in the Democratic on-deck circle. Stay tuned.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't this point to a distinct possibility that if the GOP gets voted out of congress that America will just be trading one group of crooks for another?

10/11/2006 8:35 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

To some extent. But as I've written elsewhere, Democratic crookery appears to be an individual failing, while much of the GOP shenanigans were group efforts.

And the more I read about this Reid deal, the less impressed I am. As I said above, all we've got at the moment is a failure to disclose a change in ownership of the land and a slight underpayment in his share of property taxes. Unless evidence of actual malfeasance shows up, we're talking small potatoes.

10/12/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Marc Schneider said...

The problem is, though, when your campaign is based on "throw the rascals out" you better be clean yourself. Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Granted, this is probably not to the level of the other scandals, but running on cleaning out corruption is a dangerous strategy because it can so easily be undercut by revelations of your own corruption, just like the GOP running on morality and then having their own skeletons in the closet.

The fact is, though, that the party in power is always the most susceptible to corruption and, right now, that's the GOP. Although I'm a Democrat, I refuse to subscribe to the notion that Democrats are inherently less corrupt than Republicans. We should all know better than that. I think, unfortunately, that a lot of Dem supporters actually think that. (And Republicans, conversely, think that Democrats are inherently immoral.) This is the kind of thinking that leads to the nasty politics that we have today, IMO.

10/12/2006 4:23 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Marc: I entirely agree. The whole purpose behind my Hall of Shame is to debunk people who wish to claim that one party or the other is "cleaner" or "more moral" than the other. They're not, in any meaningful long-term sense. Both parties are equally susceptible to the temptations that surround the halls of power, especially given the financial imperatives of campaigning and lobbying.

The Dems have a momentary advantage in the corruption sweepstakes, but they're overplaying their hand and may well end up shooting themselves in the foot in classic Dem fashion.

But perhaps it's a good thing for both parties to be exposed for the hypocrites they are. Once we recognize that both are run by fallible humans, we can get rid of this worst sort of polarization and actually divide ourselves by issues instead of by caricatures.

10/12/2006 7:48 PM  

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