Capt. Ed Keel-Hauls Reid In NYPost
AP notes that Brown is a lobbyist, with reported links to organized crime. And he figures prominently in a federal criminal case - which concerns the bribery of members of the Clark County (Nev.) Zoning Commission by developers seeking changes to permit retail development on land they owned, vastly increasing its value.
As it happens, in 2001, the Clark County (Nev.) Zoning Commission approved a zoning change that allowed commercial/retail development on the land that Reid owned with Brown.
Then, the next year, Reid introduced and pushed into law the Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002. The senator heralded this as vital in protecting the environment near Las Vegas. In fact, however, the law forced the Department of the Interior to sell off 18,000 acres of land around Las Vegas, spurring development and boosting the value of real-estate investments in the region. (Not what anyone normally associates with "protecting the environment.")
Normally, the government would have to sell this land at auction, as land swaps had lost the federal government millions in southern Nevada. But Reid insisted on suspending that rule in his Clark County act. The developers that hired his sons as lobbyists prospered with the lower-cost acquisitions of prime real estate through the uneven swaps. Also in the money were those - like Harry Reid himself - who'd already invested money in Clark County real estate.
The L.A. Times revealed the Reid family's extensive connections with Clark County developers in June 2003, as well as Reid's extensive legislative interest in the land, but the Brown-Reid investment had not yet come to light - thanks to Reid's failure to disclose.
Had the investment been known, voters could have made the connection. The Senate Ethics Committee might have taken an interest as well - except that Harry Reid himself sat as the top Democrat on that panel.
Obviously, a full-blown investigation is needed, with Congressional subpoena powers. This should have started last week -- where, oh where, is GOP leadership? Messing with Foley? Get real!
hat-tip: Real Clear Politics