Oct 13 2006
Ran across this little tidbit on how hard Reid worked to set in motion his $1.1M dollar windfall. Remember this all begins with a land swap in the Lake Tahoe region, from which he gets his land purchase in Nevada, which is then rezoned to make maximum profit.
When Larry Paulson went to the Las Vegas District Office of the Bureau of Land Management the first week in December and asked to see the case file on Phase 1 of the Del Webb land-swap, he was told the appraisals on the land exchange were “confidential.â€
So, on December 8, the former research professor and director of UNLV’s Lake Mead Limnological Research Center, wrote Nevada’s senior U.S. Senator, Harry Reid.
“Can they do that?” asked Paulson, who had visited the BLM office in his role as water consultant for the Nevada Seniors Coalition.
“It doesn’t seem right that we can’t find out what the property is worth,” he wrote. “Is that the way the so called “Olympic” land swap that involves 3,800 acres and the “American Land Conservancy” deal for another 6,002 acres in the southwestern portion of the valley will be handled too?” It is four weeks later now, and if Dr. Paulson has not yet heard from Senator Reid, it may be because Reid doesn’t know quite what to say.
That’s because, Electric Nevada has learned, Nevada’s senior senator is himself a major source of in-state BLM officials’ anxiety that nothing at all should interfere with the Del Webb land swap.
Reid is now, because of his ranking status on the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the single most powerful Democrat in the Senate when it comes to either natural resource issues or power over the U.S. Department of Interior — of which the BLM is a part.
And, for some reason, the Del Webb land swap is very much something Harry Reid wants to go through.
“The Senator was very clear that Del Webb was to be a priority” for the office, said the source, adding Reid said that Del Webb was “‘to be put on the top of the pile and not have to go to the end of the line.'”
Nevada’s senior senator also told assistant district manager Ryan to “take a personal interest and assist Del Webb in any way possible within the regulations.”
Was this pressure to ‘assist’ with ‘the regulations’ simply an effort to speed along the process? Why were things being closed to the public? Why was there no transparency? Well, some hefty donations were coming in for Reid as he applied the pressure
Del Webb — according to Electric Nevada’s search of Federal Election Commission records — had given Nevada’s senior senator $22,000 in his first Senate re-election bid, in 1992. But it gave him nothing in 1993 or 1994. Yet in July and then November of 1995, the “Del Webb Employee Fund for Better Government” — a PAC â€“ suddenly found occasion to gave Reid a total of $40,000.
And apparently Reid was personally active with Del Webb’s efforts. So is anyone going to believe he lost track of this effort, or did not know when and where the land would become available for purchase? Del Webb traded their land at Tahoe for Federal Land in Nevada, but we are supposed to believe Reid had no contact with the ‘onwer’ of the land he bought??? Just because it went through another set of hands doesn’t make it innocent… It makes it more questionable.
Update: The more you read about the reporting at the time this deal was being consumated on the Nevada end, the more you realize Reid was into the details for years. More here from 1997 as Del Webb becomes irate their huge campaign donations were made public. I thought that was liberal gospel: donation from large, rich companies had to be made public?