In 2002, the Nevada Democrat paid $10,000 to a pension fund controlled by Clair Haycock, a Las Vegas lubricant dealer and his friend for 50 years. The payment gave the senator full control of a 160-acre parcel in Bullhead City that Reid and the pension fund had jointly owned. Reid’s price for the equivalent of 60 acres of undeveloped desert was less than one-tenth of the assessed value at the time.
If Reid were to sell the property for any of the various estimates of its value, his gain on the $10,000 investment could range from $50,000 to $290,000.
Six months after the deal closed, Reid introduced legislation to address the plight of lubricant dealers who had their supplies disrupted by the decisions of big oil companies. It was an issue the Haycock family brought to Reid’s attention in 1994, according to a source familiar with the events. Reid’s legislation was unsuccessful.
It is a potential violation of congressional ethics for a member to accept anything of value–including a real estate discount–from a person with interests before Congress.
In a statement, Reid’s spokesman Jon Summers said the transaction was not a gift and that the price was due to the property’s history and the fact that only a partial interest was sold. Reid’s action on the lubricant issue was unrelated to the sale and reflected the senator’s interest in fairness for small businesses, Summers said.
Because an employee pension fund owned the land Reid purchased, a below-market sale raises additional questions, labor law experts said. Pension fund trustees have a duty in most cases to sell assets for their market value, the experts said.
This story will die a peaceful death I’m thinking. If a Republican had done this, it’d be a whole different story.
Brian at the Iowa Voice puts the Reid thing in perspective alongside the lefts other ethics and corruption problems. He also points out this somehow only surfaced “after the Democrats have been safely elected.”