The AP's John Solomon, the go-to guy at the Associated Press for any anti-Democratic efforts, and this piece
is absolute crap. The crux of the claim:
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
Actually, he did own that land. It just so happened that three years ago, he transfered the property from his own personal name to that of an LLC.
It'd be kind of like me selling Daily Kos, and someone claiming I reaped a windfall from it because I "sold it three years ago". I didn't. Daily Kos became an LLC. As did Reid's piece of land.
And btw, this was all disclosed to the ethics committee. The place were things got sloppy is that Reid continued to disclose ownership of the land as a personal asset rather than ownership in the LLC which owned the land. But that's it. Fact is, the LLC had no other assets other than this piece of land, and Reid disclosed ownership of the piece of land.
Solomon is either being dishonest or an idiot. But watch the wingers and GOP try to gain traction off this story to divert from their coddling of a sexual predator.
Update: Note that there is no charge or evidence or anything that would suggest that Reid used his position of authority to boost the value of the land. That would be troublesome. As it is in NC-11 where Rep. Charles Taylor (R) used earmarks to line his pockets:
New Report Shows Taylor's Earmarks Benefit Land he Owns.
According to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, Charles Taylor, a
wealthy businessman and banker, was able to get millions of dollars in
earmarks for his district to improve land where Taylor owns thousands of
acres and where he has even developed. The report shows that Taylor
owns at least 14,000 acres of prime land in his district, some of which
is near the main highway in Maggie Valley which, last year, received
$11.4 million in federal dollars. Taylor's companies own thousands of
acres near the highway and had already developed a subdivision called
Maggie Valley Leisure Estates. Another earmark last year sent $4.8
million to widen a highway through timber tracts that Taylor's companies
own. He also got millions for a loan for long-time contributors and
millions more for improvements to a park that sits directly in front of
his flagship bank in the district.
Or, let's shoot even higher:
House Speaker Dennis Hastert denied Thursday that he pushed for federal funding for a proposed highway in northeastern Illinois so he and his wife could reap about $1.8 million from land deals near their home in Kendall County.
The Sunlight Foundation, a newly created group whose declared aim is to inform the public about what members of Congress do, has accused Hastert of not divulging connections between the $207 million earmark he won for a highway, the Prairie Parkway, and an investment he and his wife made in nearby land.
There are others -- Reps. Jerry Lewis, Richard Pombo, and Gary Miller for starters. This isn't a case of "everyone does it". It's a case of projection -- accusing Reid of doing something Republicans have made a habit of doing.
That they got the gullible or ideologically compromised Solomon to bite on the non-story was a nice touch, but has no bearing on the reality of the matter.
Update II: To refresh your memories, Solomon is this guy:
Associated Press writer John Solomon reported that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) had attended three Las Vegas boxing matches as the guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission while the agency "was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing." But Solomon failed to inform readers that, rather than taking any actions favorable to the NAC, Reid allowed the specific legislation that the agency had opposed to pass.*
Subsequent info made Solomon's story even more ridiculous:
The Las Vegas Journal-Review and TPM Muckraker reported several facts that appear to undermine the thrust of John Solomon's Associated Press article suggesting that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) acted improperly by accepting free tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission to, as Solomon claimed, three boxing matches at a time when the agency "was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing."
Some of those facts? The fact that state law prohibited Reid from reimbursing the commission for those fight tickets.
And that's not all. There's much more.
Update III: A tax lawyer reader writes:
FYI, I am a tax attorney. A single member LLC (i.e. an LLC owned 100% by a single person) is treated by the IRS as non-existent for tax purposes. The LLC owner continues to treat himself as the direct owner of the property for tax purposes as if the property were never transferred to the LLC. That could explain why someone might continue to consider himself the owner of property which he has transferred to a single member LLC.
A multiple member LLC is treated as a partnership for tax purposes. Again, if an existing partnership transfers property to an LLC owned by the same partners in the same percentages, the LLC will usually be treated as the same entity as the orignal partnership, and again an individual might reasonably believe that no transfer has taken place.
The latter paragraph is relevant to this discussion. Reid owned a 75 percent interest in two plots of land, his partner 25 percent. They created the LLC in the same exact percentages.
Ultimately, there might be a technical violation of Senate rules -- Reid has asked for clarification from the ethics committee. But bottom line is that Reid followed the spirit of the law. He disclosed his ownership of the land -- down to the exact plots -- which would allow for watchdogs to monitor any potential conflicts of interest. That is better than disclosing ownership in a shadowy private LLC, with no public access to its assets. (Which is, btw, essentially what Hastert did.)
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