A powerful Nevada real estate developer was convicted Wednesday of making illegal campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Harvey Whittenmore, 59, was found guilty, by a federal jury, on three counts of passing money to Senator Reid’s 2007 election campaign by illegal means. The illegal contributions totaled almost $150,000. Whittenmore, a major power-broker in Reid’s home state of Nevada, could receive up to 15 years in prison and fines up to a maximum of $750,000 dollars for the three counts combined.
Whittenmore, a former lobbyist, had a reputation as an influential Nevada power-broker. His ties to Reid go back many years.
Senator Reid, who has a number of scandals attached to his name, maintains that he did not knowingly take illegal campaign contributions, since he had no knowledge about the source of the contributions in question. He also pointed out that those contributions represented a small fraction of the total amount he raised for his 2007 senatorial election campaign. “I received $25 million. He raised $150,000,” Reid had told the Las Vegas Sun when the case first came to light. “I had money coming in from other places.”
According to an Associated Press report, prosecutors said Whittenmore had donated the maximum allowed amount directly to Reid’s campaign, but then promised Reid additional contributions and proceeded to funnel $150,000 to the Senator’s campaign by gifting $5000 checks to employees and family members, who then donated the maximum $4,600 dollars each to Reid’s campaign. Whittenmore was found guilty of making excessive campaign contributions, making contributions in the name of another and causing a false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The case did not involve Majority Leader Reid directly. No charges of excepting illegal campaign contributions have been brought against him.
Reid, who has served as Senate Majority Leader since 2007, had a personal net worth of up to $10 million as of 2010, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics. During the 2012 Presidential election race, he constantly berated Republican candidate Mitt Romney for his (Romney’s) vast personal fortune. Despite this, Reid had no qualms about receiving campaign contributions from extremely wealthy individuals, such as Whittenmore.
He also accused Romney of not paying taxes for a decade. In August 2012, on the Senate floor, Senator Reid said of Romney “So, the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t,” Reid said. “We already know from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and a Swiss banking account.” When challenged on the issue, Reid failed to provide any evidence or witnesses to corroborate his statements. Questions were subsequently raised as to how Senator Reid obtained information from Romney’s personal income tax returns before they were released.
In light of recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been targeting Conservative groups and, in some cases, leaking their tax information to far-Left media organizations, speculation is mounting that Senator Reid may have been provided with details of Governor Romney’s tax returns by the IRS.
Reid himself has constantly refused to release his own tax returns. It is not required of members of Congress that they do so; neither is it required that Presidential candidates release their personal tax information.
In 2010, Reid defeated Tea Party-backed challenger Sharron Angle, sparking suspicions of electoral fraud. Angle was widely predicted by polls to win by a margin of up to 5 points, but Reid won the election with a 9-point margin. There were numerous reports of Reid’s name being automatically checked by the electronic voting machines in Clark County, Nevada, where Reid’s son, Rory, was County Commissioner. Rory also worked for Whittenmore’s lobbying firm, whilst – at the same time – chairing the Nevada Democratic Party. Family and business ties between the Reid and Whittenmore families are tight and go back many years. To use Harry Reid’s own standards of proof; the word is out there that the Democratic Senator accepted illegal campaign contributions. If he didn’t, let him prove it.
Written by Graham J Noble