A report released by a new political action committee called “Harry Reid Votes” alleges that Reid is guilty of “pay for play” because he obtained two large earmarks for Arcata Associates, a Las Vegas engineering services firm with owners who are long-time financial supporters of the Reid campaign.
In fiscal year 2010, Arcata won a 1.36 million dollar contract for the Continuous Threat Alert Sensing System (CTASS) according to OpenSecrets.org after spending $50,000 to lobby the Senate. What the site fails to mention are the multitude of Arcata donations to Harry Reid and the Nevada Democrat Party. In addition, Arcata stands to gain another two million dollars in 2011, also a no-bid earmark directed by Senator Reid. The requests for these earmarks can be found here and here.
According to Senate records, the Wong family of Las Vegas, owners of Arcata, have since 2000 donated over $138,450 to Reid, his political action committee, the Nevada State Democratic Party and other Democratic organizations. Company president Tim Wong is also on the steering committee of “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Harry Reid.”
The report from the PAC questions the timing of contributions from the Wong family to Reid and the Democratic Party which have sometimes occurred just as Senate Appropriations bills were filed.
“Harry Reid became Senate majority leader by promising to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington,” said Audrey Mullen, a spokesperson for Harry Reid Votes. “Notwithstanding his rhetoric, Harry Reid has steered millions of taxpayer dollars to large donors.”
In February of this year, the Army recommended the Arcata project no longer be supported. But Reid still requested $3 million, and the Senate Appropriations Committee last week agreed to set aside $2 million.
“Everything is completely legal but it is questionable when you see money earmarked for a project that couldn’t be funded through normal channels based on merit,” said Mullen.
The Angle campaign today told Battle ‘10 they are disturbed but not surprised by the news.
“The fact that Harry Reid is raking in massive amounts of money in campaign contributions from the same company that he is sponsoring earmarks on behalf of is very disturbing,” said Angle communications director Jarrod Agen.
“With all the trouble the Democratic Party has gotten into over the past year with ‘pay to play’ politics, you would think the majority leader would be more careful picking and choosing which companies he went to bat for,” he added.
Agen said that while “this type of behavior may be politics as usual in Washington, the voters of Nevada are sick and tired of it, which is why they will vote for Sharron Angle in November.”