Harry Reid wants me to clean up Washington

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dear MORGAN,

I have been in public service for over 40 years and never been as disillusioned as I am today. In 1977, I was appointed chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. It was a difficult time for the gaming industry and Las Vegas, which were being overrun by organized crime.

During the next few years, there would be threats on my life, FBI stings and even a car bomb placed in my family's station wagon. What is happening today in Washington is every bit as corrupt as when Las Vegas was run by the mob, but the consequences for our country are worse. These Republicans have created the most corrupt government in our history. Their "K Street Project" is a shakedown machine that would make the mafia blush. We cleaned up Las Vegas, and we will clean up Washington DC.

Today, Democrats from Howard Dean in Ohio to Nancy Pelosi and me in Washington are declaring our commitment to a government as good and honest as the people it serves. To achieve that vision, this morning we introduced the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. Our tough, real reforms go beyond the public relations fixes Republicans suggest.

For example, a key proposal in the Act, known as "The Jack Abramoff Rule," will ban staff and members from receiving gifts, meals and travel from lobbyists. This is not just about talking the talk; we are going to walk the walk, right now. Last night I told my staff that even though this bill is not yet law, our office will follow its provisions starting today. I am going to lead by example, and I challenge George Bush to do the same.

Join me, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and hundreds of Democratic elected officials from around the country by signing the Honest Leadership Pledge. Our goal is to have one million Americans join us in this commitment to honest government:

http://www.dscc.org/honestleadership

Republicans will be introducing their own ethics legislation. Quite frankly, having Republicans trying to clean up the mess in Washington would be like asking John Gotti to clean up organized crime.

There is a price to pay for the culture of corruption, and we can see it in almost every major issue facing our country. Big Oil, protected by Republicans, reaped $100 billion in profits in 2005 while middle class families are paying more for gas, heat and other needs. Take the state of health care. There are the HMOs that benefited from the $10 billion slush fund in the Medicare bill. On the other side are seniors who face gaps in their coverage and skyrocketing prescription drug costs.

And then there is our national debt. On one side are the special interests and the multimillionaires who have received tremendous tax breaks over the last five years. On the other side are our children and grandchildren who will pay for these tax cuts when they inherit billions in debt.

We are seeing what happens when lawmakers and lobbyists conspire to put the needs of special interests before the needs of the American people. Democrats will put a stop to the culture of corruption -- period.

Join us and sign the Honest Leadership Pledge today by visiting:

http://www.dscc.org/honestleadership

Thank you,



Harry Reid

P.S. I know similar emails are being sent today by a variety of Democratic organizations. If you are receiving multiple emails on the same topic, it is only because this issue is so important, we are banding together, as a party, to address this issue in one voice.

http://www.dscc.org/honestleadership



I feel so... needed.

21 comments:

Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, boy. Gonna be a fun year.

Barry Dauphin said...

He could be a leader in learning how to make distinctions, such as distinguishing the Republicans from the mob or, frankly, politicians in general from the mob. Sure, there are corrupt politicians and from time to time we often talk as if they are all nothing but sleazeballs. Hyperbole has a long tradition in the general political discourse of America, in both the media as well as the kitchen table or local tavern. But when the Senate Minority leader can't make such distinctions, he's a follower, not a leader. And he, apparently, is choosing to follow the baser elements of his party. Are the Republicans putting bombs in his car? One would think that when a person has lived through that, he wouldn't blur such boundaries. His letter reveals that he values money so much, he's willing to lie to himself. He's simply passing that lie onto others. Maybe Vegas had a bigger influence on him than he had on it.

Buddy Larsen said...

True. The way the House works, lobbying is always heaviest on the majority party--that's the one that can deliver the legislation the lobbyists are after, after all.

To gin their big opening, Dems are going to have to find some legislation that was 'bought'--just like to gin their NSA bit, they're gonna have to find an injured party.

markg8 said...

I think we can all agree special interests have too much influence in Washington. Here's an interesting proposal from the left, Begala and Carville specifically, on how to clean up the K Street Project and free up politicians to actually do the people's business instead of fundraise day and night.

It'd be a radical change and I'm sure it has it's flaws but what do you guys think?

markg8 said...

For injured parties you only have to look to terrye's home healthcare clients and the 20 and counting states that have had to step in to provide their Medicaid patients with life saving drugs under the Medicare Plan D
fiasco.

Peter UK said...

Anyone who starts his spiel with a lie,has to be a wrong 'un.Meyer Lansky saw the possibilities in 1941,Bugsy Seigel was sent in after the war,although the latter was not the founder of Mob influence in Vegas,her was certainly influential.
So overrun by organised crime should be already wholely owned by organised crime,when Reid took office organised crime ran Las Vegas.
He will certainly have been vetted by a local capo.Reid may talk tough,but if he had been an impediment he would have gone just like Jimmy Hoffa.

Specter said...

This is the same Harry Reid who is under investigation for taking money from Abramoff and his clients? Makes you want to laugh....if it wasn't so sad.

Specter

markg8 said...
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Peter UK said...

Pecter,
The same Reid who refuses to return some $50,000 from Abramof.Not the same when it comes from the "Tribes" via Abramof.

Specter said...

Marky,

Before spouting off again, you might try reviewing the facts. What I said was that Reid is under investigation - he is. I refer you to this article which states:

Law-enforcement authorities and others said the investigation's opening phase is scrutinizing Sens. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican; Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat; and Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, along with Reps. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, and Bob Ney, Ohio Republican.

Further on in the article it states:

Mr. Reid has acknowledged receiving contributions from Abramoff's clients, but has said he does not intend to return the money because it represented legal donations. The sources said Mr. Reid is thought to have collected as much as $61,000 in donations from Abramoff clients, including Indian tribes.

Geez...you'd think from the way you reacted Marky that I just made this stuff up. And as for Reid saying now that he didn't take money from Abramoff - what the heck did you expect him to say? Get a grip on reality bucko.

It's kind of like Al Sharpton's spin on the comment Hillary made about the House of Rep being a "plantation" during her MLK day speech at the Caanan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem. She put her foot in her mouth, and then Sharpton tried to defend her on Hardball by saying Hillary, "did not make the comments at a Harlem church". Talk about losing traction.....

markg8 said...
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markg8 said...
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markg8 said...
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Specter said...

I did not delete anything. And the article I posted is as real as it gets pal. Why don't you click on the link and read the article?

Watsamatta? Because it isn't in your favorite paper it's a lie?

The Abramoff BS is going to hit both sides of the aisle - and rightly it should. But the whiff of taint associated with any Abramoff transaction is enough to investigate now. Here is some more, this time from the Washington Post. And while this article is indicative of the corruption on both sides, it clearly shows Reid's involvement (emphasis mine):

Typical of the many requests Abramoff made to Federici was an e-mail dated Dec. 2, 2002, in which he sought Griles's help in scuttling a casino plan by the Jena Band of Choctaw, a Louisiana tribe seen as competition by his clients: "It seems the Jena are on the march again. if you can, can you make sure Steve squelches this again? thanks!!"

And further on in the article:

Much of Abramoff's effort against the Jena tribe involved getting members of Congress to weigh in. At least 33 lawmakers who wrote letters to Norton opposing the Jena casino received more than $830,000 in Abramoff-related donations from 2001 to 2004, according to an Associated Press tally. Many of the lawmakers sent letters within days of receiving contributions from tribes represented by Abramoff or using the lobbyist's restaurant for fundraising, the AP found in its review of campaign records, IRS records and congressional correspondence.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) sent a letter to Norton on March 5, 2002, also signed by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev). The next day, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana issued a $5,000 check to Reid's tax-exempt political group, the Searchlight Leadership Fund. A second Abramoff tribe also sent $5,000 to Reid's group. Reid ultimately received more than $66,000 in Abramoff-related donations from 2001 to 2004.

And as they say on TV, "But wait...there's more". From an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal we learn:

Saying he has never met Abramoff and never received money from him, Reid has said he has done nothing wrong and does not intend to shed his funds. His office confirmed he received $61,000 from 2001 to 2004 from the lobbyist's Indian tribe clients and other members of his former lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Edward Ayoob, a Reid legislative counsel from 1997 to 2002 and assistant finance director for his 1998 campaign, went on to work at Greenberg Traurig and was an Abramoff associate, further fueling critics.


Sorry Mark, as the evidence mounts it looks worse and worse for Reid. But more than that, the original WaTimes article stated that Dorgan was being investigated also - and now we find that he was one of the lead questioners into the matter....

Specter

markg8 said...
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Buddy Larsen said...

This issue is made-to-order for the 'out' party, as the 'in' party will always be the primary target of interests. Simple matter of 'deliverability'.

Dems will be back 'in' someday, so it is good that we have a shot right now at tightening the rules of lobbying.

All that said, it appears that though two-thirds of the fish will be Pubs, the biggest single catch will be Sen. Reid.

Specter said...

And Dorgan.

vnjagvet said...

Does anyone know who coined the theme phrase "culture of corruption". It seems not a speech or letter goes out from the forces of Reid and Pelosi in which this phrase is not used several times.

Another Google project.

Barry Dauphin said...

Morgan gets results Harry Reid apologizes. There is no word on whether he has yet aplogized to Morgan. Oh, and this isn't for the letter but other smears. But, hey, it's a start.

Morgan said...

I haven't heard anything directly, only secondhand stuff.

Buddy Larsen said...

vnjag--the first I recall hearing the phrase was from Ms. Pelosi.