Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn’t personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.
The Nevada Democrat’s deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations.
…In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn’t disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown’s company. He continued to report to Congress that he personally owned the land.
…Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.
…Senate ethics rules require lawmakers to disclose on their annual ethics report all transactions involving investment properties _ regardless of profit or loss _ and to report any ownership stake in companies.
Kent Cooper, who oversaw government disclosure reports for federal candidates for two decades in the Federal Election Commission, said Reid’s failure to report the 2001 sale and his ties to Brown’s company violated Senate rules.
“This is very, very clear,” Cooper said. “Whether you make a profit or a loss you’ve got to put that transaction down so the public, voters, can see exactly what kind of money is moving to or from a member of Congress”….