Harry Reid’s Abramoff Problem

From Harry Reid in a column entitled “Democrats will clean up Washington, focus on Americans” on January 14, 2005

“This New Year, Democrats resolve to clean up Washington, so America’s government can once again focus on the priorities

of America’s people. We have a plan to put an end to business as usual in the nation’s capitol. Democrats want to shine a bright light on the relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers, and clean up the system of quid pro quo and pay-to-play politics that gave rise to Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay.”

From the Washington Times on January 16, 2005

“Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, during a tour of Republican red states last week, was peppered with questions about campaign contributions he took from Indian tribes connected with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The five-state tour through the West and Midwest to raise money for Democratic candidates was one of a series of campaign forays the Nevada Democrat plans this year to make political inroads in Republican-held territory. But Mr. Reid also faced often sharply critical questions from reporters about the money he has received from Indian tribes and their connections to Abramoff, who lobbied for them.

“If Senator Reid’s mission was to travel to red states to get beaten like a pinata by the media about his hypocrisy on ethics and Abramoff-related funds, then he was quite successful, and we applaud his efforts,” said Brian Nick, chief spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

The level of political incompetence here is just staggering. The Democrats have been telling everyone who’ll listen that they’re going to try to make Republican corruption a major theme of the 2006 campaigns and that Jack Abramoff is going to be Exhibit A in their presentation to the American people.

So, who’s leading their campaign? Why, it’s Harry Reid who has taken “$61,000 between 2001 and 2004 from clients represented by Abramoff.” Despite the fact that a lot of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are clearing similar monies they received out of their coffers to avoid any appearance of ethical conflict, Reid is keeping the money he received and angrily trying to refute charges that he did anything wrong while he is simultaneously publicly complaining about the “relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers”.

Even by Washington’s standards, this is staggeringly hypocritical, so much so that even the liberal press is having trouble giving him a free pass. Up until this point, I haven’t liked Harry Reid, but I’ve at least given him credit for being a tough, smart leader of the opposition. After watching his embarrassingly inept handling of this whole issue, I’m still willing to concede that he’s tough…

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