Perhaps ethics complaint against Reid should be updated

I mentioned the other day that a conservative-leaning watchdog group had filed a letter of complaint with the Senate ethics panel concerning acts by Nevada senior Sen. Harry Reid that constituted a conflict of interest.

The group, Cause of Action, pointed out that Reid and his staff urged the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant special EB-5 visas to a group of Asians planning to invest in the renovation of the old Sahara Hotel, now called SLS Las Vegas. Such visas are granted to foreigners who invest more than $500,000 in American projects that create jobs. The agency had turned down the visa applications due to “suspicious financial activity.” Though that decision was ineligible for appeal, the head of the agency reversed it.

Alejandro Mayorkas

Cause of Action noted that Reid’s son Rory and his law firm, Lionel, Sawyer & Collins are legal counsel to SLS and Senate rules demand that senators avoid conflicts of political, personal or financial interest.

Perhaps, Cause of Action should amend its letter. Four days after filing the complaint, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, to become the second in command at the Department of Homeland Security. The vote was 54-41.

Had Reid not just changed the Senate rules the nomination would have failed to achieve the previously required 60 votes.

Mayorkas was confirmed despite the fact he was under investigation at the the time for — wait for it —  expediting EB-5 visa applications for certain applicants despite the rejection of those visas by career staffers. Among those seeking foreign investors were now-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Anthony Rodham. They were after visas for investors in an energy-efficient car company.

Do you see a pattern?

Career staffers reject visas for foreign investors in a Las Vegas hotel project represented by the senator’s son. The senator makes a personal call to Mayorkas, according to an email obtained by The Washington Times, and Mayorkas promises the senator his agency would take a “fresh look” at the visa request. Fresh look results in visas being expedited. Hotel project has groundbreaking. Senator changes filibuster rules for presidential nominees so only a simple majority is required. Fresh looker wins confirmation on a simple majority vote.

The Latin term is quid pro quo, something for something.

So far as I can find, no Las Vegas news media outlet has bothered to report on the ethics complaint against Reid, which was filed in mid-December.

Perhaps the state Gaming Control Board should investigate the SLS foreign investors’ “suspicious financial activity.”

46 comments on “Perhaps ethics complaint against Reid should be updated

  1. Anonymous says:

    You’re a media outlet. Glad you reported it.

  2. Steve says:

    The RJ is an example,,,even if it was not Reid,,,it still works just as though it was Reid who took out the leadership of the real RJ.
    If Sherm wanted to retire that was fine. It did not require the whole senior staff be ejected…twice.

  3. nyp says:

    You know, Mr. Mitchell, it really is a small world. I happen to know Ally Mayorkas. Not as a friend, but as an adversary. He was on the opposite side of a transaction several years ago. I recall thinking at the time that he was one of the most straight-forward, honest and reliable lawyers I had every met. And, believe me, it is hard to form such an opinion about someone on the other side of a very contentious matter.

    Having sat across the table from the man, the idea that Alejandro Mayorkas would participate any any kind of corrupt act is completely preposterous.

  4. Good poker face?


  5. Steve says:

    ” straight-forward, honest and reliable lawyer”

    Shakespeare’s bones are coming to get you, nyp.

  6. Nevada VOTERS would love to see A SELFIE of HARRY REID and former Rep. SHELLEY BERKLEY together, side by side dumping in the buff, instead of dumping more taxes on us ….lol…ha, ha, ha…lol..LMAO …THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES -Twin toilets? ‘Tandem’ stall @ Sochi Olympics goes viral via @reviewjournal

    Twin toilets? ‘Tandem’ stall at Sochi Olympics goes viral
    BBC reporter Steve Rosenberg went to use the bathroom at the cross-country skiing and biathlon center in Sochi and found two toilets but only one stall. His tweeted picture instantly became a national joke.

  7. nyp says:

    Not a “poker face” at all. When you deal closely with people you make a judgement about their character. This guy was one of the most straight-forward lawyers I have ever dealt with. So much so that I still remember our dealings, even though it has been many years. And we never had any kind of personal friendship. But he is an honest guy and I don’t like to see honest guys subject to smears and innuendo.

  8. Steve says:

    And yet,,,he’s a lawyer in a powerful position under investigation for “expediting” certain EB-5 visa applications…. go figure.

    He would have mopped up the poker room floor with you, nyp.

  9. nyp says:

    It wasn’t poker, but I happened to beat him. However, he did a very good job in hedging his downside.

  10. Milty says:

    Nyp, are you disputing the allegations in the Washington Times article?

    If the details in the article are correct, wouldn’t you consider Mr. Mayorkas’ actions to at least be unethical?

  11. Steve says:

    Not to forget the Washington Post article. The WSJ one is behind they paywall.

  12. nyp says:

    No, I would not.

  13. Steve says:

    Ahh then. You support replacing one person under investigation with another one under investigation.
    You would not do well in a HR hiring department.

    We’ll have to take you at your word on the outcome of your transaction, though it appears he is doing rather well in light of losing that one.

  14. nyp says:

    Look – everyone plays this scandal game. My side as much as yours. But you have to realize that sometimes — just sometimes — people are straight-forward and honest, yet become pawns in one side’s effort to score points. I’m sure there are dozens of Republicans who have been vicitimized the same way. But a lot of this is simply a game.

  15. Steve says:

    Nothing to see here folks.

    move on

    dot org.

  16. nyp says:

    Look at it this way: As Sigmund Freud once said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

  17. Vernon Clayson says:

    Thanks to our very own Harry Reid, as long as the Democrats have the majority in the Senate, confirmation of their own kind is guaranteed. Sometimes I wonder if the Republicans really want to gain the majority, why should they confound things by gaining the majority? Can anyone imagine them attempting to undo anything the Democrats have done, e.g., undo Obamacare, reduce spending, undo hundreds of Obama’s executive orders? Very few of the Republicans challenge the new status quo, that is Obama, his czars and backers deciding what’s good for the political elites and the rich, ordinary American people are only incidental in the game.

  18. Steve says:

    After the young woman in the blue dress I would think a cigar reference is a mistake.

  19. Yeah, it took six years to clear Tom DeLay. Democrat-run DOJ was in no hurry.

  20. Nyp says:

    I believe Delay’s indictment was a state matter, not a federal one.

    BTW – it appears that Freud did not actually make that statement about cigars.

  21. “The Justice Department has informed former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) that the government has ended a six-year investigation of his ties to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to DeLay’s lead counsel in the matter, Richard Cullen, chairman of McGuireWoods. “The investigation lasted through two presidents and four attorneys general. Its demise provides a stark footnote to the lobbying scandals that helped Democrats regain the House majority they held for 40 years and lost in the Republican revolution of 1994, which eventually made the pugnacious DeLay one of Washington’s top power brokers.”

  22. Milty says:

    “I believe Delay’s indictment was a state matter, not a federal one.”

    An indictment that actually was a state matter was the indictment of Nevada Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki in 2008 on trumped up charges of mismanagement of the state’s college savings program while he was the state treasurer.

    Being the good Reid lacky that she is, state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed the charges to taint Krolicki’s reputation enough to remove him as a viable candidate to challenge Senator Reid in his 2010 reelection bid.

    The judge presiding over the case dismissed the charges in late 2009, but mission accomplished, Krolicki’s reputation was tarnished enough that Senator Reid didn’t have to worry about him any more.

  23. Steve says:

    Nyp, Alejandro Mayorkas may well be the man you describe (even though being a lawyer makes that questionable at best, he’s more likely a very good player). You have to remember this is about Harry Reid. And Alejandro Mayorkas is now inside that circle of influence Harry Reid exerts with aplomb.
    Milty’s example and one Brian Sandoval being appointed to a federal bench just in time are two items that show Read actually picked his likely opponent for the 2010 election. Then along came Sue Lowden with her chickens and Reid couldn’t have been happier, he one with .3% of the vote over Sharron Angle. ANY of the other Republican candidates would have taken Reid’s Senate seat.

    I wish Sue Lowden would get out of this primary and out of Hutchinson’s way, she is doing it again.

  24. Steve says:

    “one”? try “won”

  25. Milty says:

    “I wish Sue Lowden would get out of this primary and out of Hutchinson’s way, she is doing it again.”

    I don’t know if Sue Lowden actually said this, but earlier today Jon Ralston posted on Twitter: “This happened: @SueLowden just said on radio that when she gave $ to Harry Reid 25 yrs ago he was a ‘Reagan conservative.'”

  26. Steve says:

    25 years ago Nevada Democrats made Massachusetts Republicans look like leftist liberals. It was one the reasons I decided to move here after my time at Nellis. (Along with the noticeable lack of snow)
    I used to like Harry Reid, he actually impressed me appearing live and taking random phone calls on low power channel 19 when it was owned by Harry Tootle…on reflection that probably should have been my first clue. Still, he fielded a good number of really strong comments and answered all of them in real time.
    Reids true colors came out once he achieved his goal. I am not certain about Sue Lowden’s intent but her actions are very suspect. And it was a much smaller state back then, friends from those days would stick together…some things don’t change.

    If memory serves me, she has said that before.

  27. Nyp says:

    I stand corrected on the fed investigation of Tom Delay.

  28. Milty says:

    One thing about Harry Reid is he’s a survivor. He was 30 years old when he was elected lieutenant governor in 1970. Lost a US Senate race by a razor thin margin in 1974. A couple of years later, he lost the mayor’s race in Las Vegas, after which everyone in Nevada wrote his political obituary. He worked his way back from that to what he is today.

  29. Vernon Clayson says:

    Okay, he’s a survivor but doesn’t he owe the citizens of Nevada for his successes, most of the time it seems more like he’s exacting revenge. I’m not exactly a newcomer, I’ve been here most of the time since 1983 and watched him go from local boy makes good to a domineering bully with socialist inclinations. There really should be a two term limit for members of the Congress, if for nothing else some new and positive ideas.

  30. Steve says:

    Back when I first got here and discussed my origin state of Massachusetts, one of the first questions I was asked was about Ted Kennedy. Usually it was “who votes for the guy?”
    We all know how he “retired” from the Senate. I have since been asked the same thing about Harry Reid today, once people find I am from Las Vegas… the Déjà vu is entertaining. I would prefer it ends,,,in 2016 instead of its predictor.

  31. Steve says:

    1983,,you and me arrived the same year Vernon.

  32. Good catch, Milty.


  33. Athos says:

    Harry Greid is not alone in his corruption due to absolute power. There are no human beings I can think of (at this late hour) that aren’t corrupted in one way or another by the siren song of absolute power (think Masters, petey). Remember Robert Byrd? Or Dan Rostenkowski?

    And how is old Blago doing in prison, these days?

    I agree with the idea of strict term limits. One and done. We are suppose to have “citizen” legislators.

    Not emperors for life!

  34. Former U.S. Rep. Majority Leader Congressman Tom Delay founded a “COALITION FOR A CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY (CDM)”…and, I am the President for the Las Vegas Chapter.

  35. Harry Should Know says:

    D&C 121:39-40
    “39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
    40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.”

  36. Milty says:

    I agree that term limits are a good idea, but we need to recognize that there are people like Senator Menendez out there who have exceptional talents for corruption. In Senator Menendez’ case, he was totally corrupted well before serving two full Senate terms.

  37. Vernon Clayson says:

    We in Nevada didn’t elect Menendez but some of our taxes likely found its way to him and his causes. Forget him, what do we do with our own senators that show damned little interest in ordinary Nevada citizens.

  38. Milty says:

    What do you propose to do with our own senators that show damned little interest in ordinary Nevada citizens, Vernon?

  39. Vernon Clayson says:

    The obvious thing is to vote them out and replace them with someone, anyone, but it will be difficult. In today’s LVRJ Harry Reid dared Governor Sandoval to run against him, even reminded him and readers of New Jersey Governor Christie’s stumble. He even reminded Sandoval he made him a judge, inferring that Sandoval owes him. Hope some traffic congestion on one of our highways doesn’t screw up Sandoval.

  40. Steve says:

    Spot on, Vernon!

  41. Milty says:

    I agree with you, Vernon. However, you put the word “anyone” in your posting (“The obvious thing is to vote them out and replace them with someone, ANYONE, but it will be difficult”), and that’s the key word.

    We saw in last year’s presidential election that a group of people in the Republican Party (the Ron Paul supporters) placed a higher priority on getting their man elected than in ensuring that the incumbent lost. I knew some die hard Ron Paul supporters who told me, “I’ll never vote for Romney.” Before the Bridgegate scandal set his presidential aspirations back, I had a lot of people tell me, “I’ll never vote for Christie.” I’d respond, “So you’d rather see Hillary Clinton as our next president?”

    In his three years in office, Governor Sandoval has done some things that I disagree with. And I’ll admit that I’d prefer to see Joe Heck as our new senator in 2017. But if the 2016 race is Reid vs. Sandoval, I’ll enthusiastically vote for Sandoval. However, there are a lot of conservatives (possibly Chuck Muth?) who don’t feel that way. If enough conservatives sit out the election because they don’t think Governor Sandoval is conservative enough, and Governor Sandoval loses the 2016 election to Senator Reid (assuming Governor Sandoval runs), then it would be validation of the saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

  42. […] days after that complaint was filed, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to become the second in command […]

  43. […] broke the rules of the Senate to end the filibuster on certain nominations? Is the same Harry Reid used that filibuster rule to confirm a Homeland Security nominee he had strong armed for a Las Vegas […]

  44. […] see, four days after that complaint was filed, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to become the second in command […]

  45. […] days after that complaint was filed, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to become the second in command […]

  46. […] fact, four days after that complaint was filed, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to become the second in command […]

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