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Dirty Harry

By Vincent Fiore
web posted October 16, 2006

While the political power brokers ooh and aah over the damage Foleygate has done to the GOP's chances of retaining control of Congress this election, hardly a glance is spared for the Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

Foleygate, of course, refers to the troubles of former Congressman Mark Foley, (R-Fla.), who, when last we looked, was exuberantly being feted by the mainstream media as the straw that will break the back of the Republican "Religious-Right" in November.

That may or may not happen, as unforeseen can take place between now until November 7. And as circumstances have it, something has.

Enter the Democratic Senate minority leader, Harry Reid. Outspoken, slanderous, and an accomplished demagogue as well as myopically partisan, Reid has developed an entire career outside his Senate duties in Washington. .

Harry ReidAs recent reports have highlighted -- though not by the same liberal press that devotes seas of ink to anything the reflects negatively on Republicans -- Senator Reid is turning out to be the Donald Trump of the Senate, acquiring and selling land for substantial profit. He is also a living testament to what it means to wield political influence.

But it seems a few legal questions have began to dog the senator from Nevada, specifically about those substantial and, might one say, copious amounts of money he has made over the years through less-than-transparent methods.

Now one needs to ask, has anyone heard of these ethically questionable and ongoing actions by a sitting United States senator? Has cable television devoted full segments of prime air time, or imported a panel of political "experts" to delve into Senator Reid's land grabs? Has anyone seen MSNBC's Chris Matthews blow a blood vessel in his head lambasting Reid over his behavior?

Unless you listen to talk radio such as Rush Limbaugh, or regularly use the Internet as a source of news, the answer is no. Matthews and company save their condemnations only for the GOP.

If not for the alternative or new media as the above is called, most would remain blissfully unaware to the very questionable doings of Senator Reid.

Reid's outside-the-Senate moonlighting was first bought to light on June 22, 2003, by a two-part article run by the Los Angeles Times. The article is lengthy and detailed, but here are the money lines:

"At least 17 senators and 11 members of the House have children, spouses or other close relatives who lobby or work as consultants, most in Washington, according to lobbyist reports, financial-disclosure forms and other state and federal records. Many are paid by clients who count on the related lawmaker for support.

"But Harry Reid is in a class by himself. One of his sons and his son-in-law lobby in Washington for companies, trade groups and municipalities seeking Reid's help in the Senate. A second son has lobbied in Nevada for some of those same interests, and a third has represented a couple of them as a litigator.

"In the last four years alone, their firms have collected more than $2 million in lobbying fees from special interests that were represented by the kids and helped by the senator in Washington.

"So pervasive are the ties among Reid, members of his family and Nevada's leading industries and institutions that it's difficult to find a significant field in which such a relationship does not exist."

More recently, Reid was exposed for collecting a $1.1 million dollar windfall profit on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years. Senator Reid did not bother to inform the Senate of the sale, engineered by a longtime Reid family friend, Jay Brown, a former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. He's never been charged with wrongdoing - except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.

What this all adds up to is one overly industrious senator who spends an enormous amount of time using his political clout in Washington to enrich himself, and his immediate family members. Harry Reid's son, Rory, is in fact the Clark County commissioner in Nevada. One wonders how helpful this has been when smoothing over zoning matters on federally protected or questionable parcels of land. In fact, the entire Reid family participates and benefits handsomely from papa Reid's big chair in Washington.

Reid has been involved in well over a dozen transactions from Nevada to Virginia, as a seller and a buyer. The website, The Strata-Sphere, brilliantly illustrates the buying and selling of these properties.

In the end, the possibly dirty deeds of Democratic Senator Harry Reid will probably not go much further than those of us within the new media. Expecting the mainstream press to deal evenly with Democrats and Republicans in regard to scandal is just asking too much.

For the media, the interest lies in the party out of power, and not the truth. It is this incestuous relationship between the Democratic Party and the mainstream media that enables liberal lawmakers like Harry Reid to receive a pass a kind of beltway get out of jail free card.

Senator Reid has taken on a few unusual names these days. Names like "Dingy Harry Reid" and "Harry Greed" are attached to the senator from Nevada. For my money, I will stick with the simple appellation of "Dirty Harry".

In the Warner Bros. 1971 film classic, Dirty Harry, actor Clint Eastwood forever immortalizes tough cop Harry Callahan, who was about as politically incorrect as they came. In the film, there comes a point where Callahan asks a ruthless killer -- as he points a 44 magnum at his head -- if he "feel's lucky."

Suffice to say that he was not lucky. But in Senator Reid's case, luck may indeed be with him, regardless of all the Harry Callahans of the new media shooting into the air, trying to expose the real Dirty Harry.

When you have a mainstream media that manufactures dirt in one case while sweeping it under the rug in another, you realize that politicians like Dirty Harry Reid feel lucky for a reason. ESR

Vincent Fiore is a freelance political writer who lives in New York City. His work can be seen throughout the Internet, including the American Conservative Union Foundation, GOPUSA, Human Events, and theconservativevoice. Vincent is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance and a contributing writer for NewsBusters.org. He receives e-mail at polyscivin101@aol.com.


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