From: PBS: NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Transcript
NEWSMAKER: SENATE MINORITY LEADER HARRY REID
January 18, 2006
JIM LEHRER: First, why has it taken so long for everybody to move on lobbying reform?
SEN. HARRY REID: Jim, it's taken a while for this culture of corruption the Republicans have developed to come into fore. The Republican leader in the House, four ethics convictions in one year, money laundering indictment, the Republican leader being investigated criminally and civilly, we have for the first time in 135 years, someone who works in the White House indicted. Safavian, who is in charge of government contracting, the president appointed him, hundreds of billions of dollars a year, led away in handcuffs because of sweetheart deals he had with Jack Abramoff and then you have, as has been talked about earlier in your program, the K Street Project. Think about this, the "pay and play" program. You as a lobbyist, you pay, and we Republicans will take care of you legislatively. That's why it hasn't come to the forefront. The arrogance of power, the culture of corruption has not come to the attention of the American public as it has the past several months.
Amazingly from the LA Times:
It's hard to buy undeveloped land in booming northern Arizona for $166 an acre. But now-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid effectively did just that when a longtime friend decided to sell property owned by the employee pension fund that he controlled.
In 2002, Reid (D-Nev.) paid $10,000 to a pension fund controlled by Clair Haycock, a Las Vegas lubricants distributor and his friend for 50 years. The payment gave the senator full control of a 160-acre parcel in Bullhead City that Reid and the pension fund had jointly owned. Reid's price for the equivalent of 60 acres of undeveloped desert was less than one-tenth of the value the assessor placed on it at the time.
Six months after the deal closed, Reid introduced legislation to address the plight of lubricants dealers who had their supplies disrupted by the decisions of big oil companies. It was an issue the Haycock family had brought to Reid's attention in 1994, according to a source familiar with the events.
If Reid were to sell the property for any of the various estimates of its value, his gain on the $10,000 investment could range from $50,000 to $290,000.
It is a potential violation of congressional ethics standards for a member to accept anything of value — including a real estate discount — from a person with interests before Congress.