Monday, May 15, 2006

Minority Leader Harry Reid is:
(a) a hypocrite
(b) a dimwit
(c) clueless
(d) all of the above.

Harry Reid has again and again and again characterized Republicans in general and the Bush Administration in particular as a “culture of corruption.” Dutifully, the MSM has disseminated that charge with nary a look at the accuser’s own political ethos and roots.

No so the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid’s hometown paper; they take a more objective view. Here are two of their recent stories. [Ed. - The italics and color highlights below are mine]

Reid disappointed in Herrera

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Tuesday said he does not regret his relationship with Dario Herrera, a former Clark County commissioner who faces a federal prison sentence after being convicted Friday of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion.

"I'm not going to pound on Dario," Reid said. "He's had enough pounding."

But Reid said he was disappointed in Herrera, who was Reid's handpicked candidate to run for the congressional seat won by Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., in 2002.

"I talked to him and specifically asked him during the congressional race if he was doing anything wrong because I had heard some rumors, and he said, 'No,'" Reid said.

"I said, 'Are you taking any money from anyone you shouldn't?' (Herrera answered) No," Reid said. "And of course the evidence came out that he did some very bad things."

Reid said he has kept in touch with Herrera "during all his travails." He described Herrera, 32, as having "great talent" and a "tremendous intellect."

"I think he's young enough when he finishes whatever punishment the court metes out to him that he can still contribute to society," Reid said.

Reid said his comments about Herrera also would apply to Erin Kenny, whom he encouraged to run for lieutenant governor in 2002.

Kenny, also a former Clark County commissioner, has pleaded guilty to accepting cash and campaign contributions from Michael Galardi, the owner of three Southern Nevada strip clubs. She is awaiting sentencing.

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, blasted Reid's comments on Herrera.

"At what point does Harry Reid's absurd hypocrisy on corruption become plain disconnect? His refusal to denounce convicted felon Dario Herrera is second only to his relentless attacks on corruption despite his own ties to Jack Abramoff," Bounds said.

Abramoff, a former Washington lobbyist, has pleaded guilty to bribing members of Congress and has been sentenced to almost six years in prison.

Reid has acknowledged receiving almost $61,000 from Abramoff's clients and colleagues but none from Abramoff. Reid said the contributions are lawful and he will not return them.

Reid's aide helped exit

An aide to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid escorted former Clark County Commissioner Dario Herrera out a secured private courthouse exit Friday, shortly after Herrera was convicted of several counts of political corruption.

Reid's director of veterans affairs, Charvez Foger, used his security-access card to help Herrera avoid dozens of reporters who had gathered outside the only public entrance to the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse.

"The employee had access to certain corridors, and he used that access to help out Mr. Herrera," U.S. Marshal Fidencio Rivera said Tuesday. "It's contrary to our policy, but we have no oversight over Senator Reid's office."

Jurors returned guilty verdicts against Herrera and co-defendant Mary Kincaid-Chauncey about 4 p.m. Friday. The jury was excused from the courtroom at 4:20 p.m., according to court records. At 4:41 p.m., Foger's security card was used to gain access to a parking garage reserved for federal employees, Rivera said.

Sharyn Stein, a spokeswoman for Reid, said the senator was unaware that Foger had helped a felon leave the courthouse. She said Foger and Herrera have been friends for years, and Foger was simply doing Herrera a favor. Foger has acknowledged it was a mistake, Stein said.

"An old buddy of his was having a bad day and asked for a ride to his car," Stein said. "I don't think he thought it through at all. I'm not sure he would have any idea this would create a misperception."

In 2002, Herrera was considered Reid's protégé and the Democratic Party's future star. Reid handpicked Herrera, then 28, to challenge Republican Jon Porter for U.S. Congress. Herrera ultimately was tripped up by a series of ethical lapses.

In 2003, Herrera and Kincaid-Chauncey were indicted on charges they accepted cash bribes -- and in Herrera's case, sexual favors -- supplied by strip club owner Michael Galardi. In exchange for the bribes, the two commissioners voted favorably on Galardi-related matters.

After an eight-week trial, Herrera and Kincaid-Chauncey were convicted of the charges Friday. Sentencing was set for Aug. 21.

After the court reporter announced the verdict to a packed courtroom, Kincaid-Chauncey exited the front door and spoke at length with reporters.

Herrera's attorneys also emerged from the public exit.

Reporters waited for Herrera until they were told he had left through a separate exit.

"He should have walked through the front doors like anybody else," Rivera said.

Rivera said only witnesses who feel their lives are in danger are escorted through secured areas. If an employee of the U.S. Marshal's office had walked Herrera out a secured exit, disciplinary action would be taken. He said because Foger's action was not "egregious," Rivera's office has no intention of limiting Foger's building access.

"Our preliminary feedback is we had an individual make the mistake of allowing Mr. Herrera to go out the back door," Rivera said. "He knows he made an error and he's been apologetic to us."

Reid's office also has no plans to punish Foger.


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