October 12, 2006

Dirty, Dirty Harry

If current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suddenly find himself on the wrong end of a full investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee for a undisclosed land deal that made him quite rich, he'll have no one to blame but himself, and perhaps, the company he keeps:

Reid's avoidance of disclosure hid two aspects of his business relationships. The first was his association with Jay Brown, who has a history of being involved in scandal. The NY Times describes him as "a prominent Las Vegas lawyer," but they never get around to mentioning his involvement in a federal bribery case in Las Vegas. Nor do they mention Brown's work as a lobbyist, as the AP did, nor do they follow up on the AP's report of connections between Brown and organized crime.

The other part Reid wanted to keep secret was the financial ties between himself and Harvey Whittemore. The AP story reported that Reid bought the parcel from "a developer who was benefiting from a government land swap that Reid supported," a perfect description of Whittemore in 1998 when Reid purchased the land. For the next seven years, Reid would work to ease Whittemore's difficulties in developing the Coyote Springs project by forcing the government to swap its right-of-way for less valuable land owned by Whittemore; he tried to get the government to literally give away more of its land to Whittemore, although he would not succeed; and in the end, he pressed federal regulators to lift a endangered-species restriction on Whittemore's Coyote Springs real estate. All of this helped give Whittemore an opportunity to make tens of millions on residential and commercial development in the former test range site.

Personally, I'm not big on covering corruption scandals, but I've been hearing for quite some time that "Dirty Harry" has long held ties with the shadiest of characters, so this wouldn't unduly surprise me. What happens next?

Time will tell.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 12, 2006 12:42 PM | TrackBack