Friday, February 10, 2006

Reid had ties to Abramoff

Stones, glass houses, and whatnot. From CNN:
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid wrote at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and the senator's staff regularly had contact with the disgraced lobbyist's team about legislation affecting other clients.

The activities -- detailed in billing records and correspondence obtained by The Associated Press -- are far more extensive than previously disclosed. They occurred over three years as Reid collected nearly $68,000 in donations from Abramoff's firm, lobbying partners and clients.
Reid, D-Nevada, has led the Democratic Party's attacks portraying Abramoff's lobbying and fundraising as a Republican scandal.

But Abramoff's records show his lobbying partners billed for nearly two dozen phone contacts or meetings with Reid's office in 2001 alone.
But hey, just because Abramoff's partners bought access to Reid doesn't mean Reid did anything wrong, right?
Reid also intervened on government matters at least five times in ways helpful to Abramoff's tribal clients, once opposing legislation on the Senate floor and four times sending letters pressing the Bush administration on tribal issues. Reid collected donations around the time of each action.

Ethics rules require senators to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in collecting contributions around the times they take official acts benefiting donors.

Abramoff's firm also hired one of Reid's top legislative aides as a lobbyist. The aide later helped throw a fundraiser for Reid at Abramoff's firm that raised donations from several of his lobbying partners.

And Reid's longtime chief of staff accepted a free trip to Malaysia arranged by a consulting firm connected to Abramoff that recently has gained attention in the influence-peddling investigation that has gripped the Capitol.

Looks like the slimy influence-peddling Abramoff was "shrewd" enough to know not to put all of his eggs in just one basket!

Before Reid lectures anyone on ethics, he may want to clean out his own closet first.