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’s office acknowledged Thursday having “routine contacts” with Abramoff’s lobbying partners and intervening on some government matters such as blocking some tribal casinos in ways Abramoff’s clients might have deemed helpful. But it said none of his actions were affected by donations or done for Abramoff.
“All the actions that Senator Reid took were consistent with his long-held beliefs, such as not letting tribal casinos expand beyond reservations, and were taken to defend the interests of Nevada constituents,” spokesman Jim Manley said.
Once and for all, lobbying and fundraising is an issue that affects CONGRESS in a variety of ways, some positive, some clearly negative. It’s not just a Republican problem. It needs to be address seriously, but an outside organization and not by the perpetrators themselves. More importantly, the Democrats should immediately repudiate Reid and refrain from attempting to use this issue as a weapon against the Republican party.