January 28, 2007


A deal in the desert for Sen. Reid?: A bill he wrote could have affected the friend who sold the land. (Chuck Neubauer and Tom Hamburger, January 28, 2007, LA Times)

It's hard to buy undeveloped land in booming northern Arizona for $166 an acre. But now-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid effectively did just that when a longtime friend decided to sell property owned by the employee pension fund that he controlled.

In 2002, Reid (D-Nev.) paid $10,000 to a pension fund controlled by Clair Haycock, a Las Vegas lubricants distributor and his friend for 50 years. The payment gave the senator full control of a 160-acre parcel in Bullhead City that Reid and the pension fund had jointly owned. Reid's price for the equivalent of 60 acres of undeveloped desert was less than one-tenth of the value the assessor placed on it at the time.

Six months after the deal closed, Reid introduced legislation to address the plight of lubricants dealers who had their supplies disrupted by the decisions of big oil companies. It was an issue the Haycock family had brought to Reid's attention in 1994, according to a source familiar with the events.

If Reid were to sell the property for any of the various estimates of its value, his gain on the $10,000 investment could range from $50,000 to $290,000.

It is a potential violation of congressional ethics standards for a member to accept anything of value -- including a real estate discount -- from a person with interests before Congress.

And we thought everything would be different....

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2007 8:48 PM

Given that this is not an isolated incident but another in a series how is this guy still majority leader?

Posted by: AWW at January 28, 2007 9:33 PM


1) The Dems don't get rid of their own unless absolutely necessary (Jim Wright, Bob Torrecelli, etc.)

2) They don't have anyone to replace Reid. Durbin is damaged goods (after comparing US troops to Nazis, Stalinist thugs, and the Khmer Rouge). Schumer (a loud-mouthed Brooklyn pol) is not the public face the party wants. They aren't going to choose Barbara Boxer or Patty Murray, especially not with Pelosi as top dog in the House. Byron Dorgan has problems of his own (with Jack Abramoff, among other items). So Reid stays, unless the media decides to ride herd on him.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 28, 2007 10:28 PM

Jim - agree on the Dems but what about the GOP? What about the Nevada voters? Unless the MSM turns on Reid he probably stays and the GOP blow their chance at beating him in 2010.

Posted by: AWW at January 28, 2007 11:04 PM

The GOP should pursue that deal with loud voices and not letup. MSM will be of little help. They'll downplay it, or misreport it, or not report at all.

Posted by: Tom Wall at January 29, 2007 1:25 AM

There's more money to be made buying and selling desert land, than in cattle futures. Who knew?

Posted by: AllenS at January 29, 2007 6:29 AM