Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Washington Post: HEAD DEM Harry Reid (NV) accepted free boxing tickets while related bill was pending

Continues.... A few months after the fundraiser, Reid did sponsor a spending bill that targeted $100,000 to another Abramoff tribe, the Chitimacha of Louisiana, (NOTE; I worked for Terry Martin of the tribe, good friend of JA), to pay for a soil erosion study for which Ayoob was lobbying. Reid said he sponsored the provision because Louisiana lawmakers sent him a letter requesting it.

Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist, has pleaded guilty in a widespread corruption probe of Capitol Hill. Reid used that conviction earlier this year to accuse Republicans of fostering a culture of corruption inside Congress.

Reid also wrote at least four letters favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients around the time Reid collected donations from those clients and Abramoff's partners, the Associated Press reported recently. (The Republicans must be sooooo happy!) Reid has declined to return the donations, unlike other lawmakers, saying his letters were consistent with his beliefs.

Senate ethics rules require senators to avoid even the appearance that any official meetings or actions they took were in any way connected with political donations.

Reid defended his actions, stating he would never change his position because of donations, free tickets or a request from a former staffer turned lobbyist.

"People who deal with me and have over the years know that I am an advocate for what I believe in. I always try to do it fair, never take advantage of people on purpose," he said.
Asked if he would have done anything differently, the Senate Democratic leader said his only concern was "the willingness of the press . . . to take these instances and try to make a big deal out of them."

###