Reid Pressed to Explain Land-Deal Profits

Sen. Harry Reid and a Las Vegas partner bought the land where this shopping mall now stands.

Sen. Harry Reid and a Las Vegas partner bought the land where this shopping mall now stands on the outskirts of Las Vegas eight years ago. They sold it for a profit after getting the property re-zoned. Scott Horsley/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Horsley/NPR

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised to amend his financial reports to more fully explain a profitable land deal he made with a partner in Las Vegas. The Associated Press reported that Reid's original disclosure was incomplete, in possible violation of Senate ethics rules.

Since then, Republicans have been lambasting the Democratic leader. Reid would likely become majority leader if the Democrats retake the Senate in November. But questions surround the deal that earned Reid $700,000 in profits.

Reid's partner in the deal is a friend and lawyer whose name has surfaced in organized-crime investigations.

Anxious to deflect attention from their own ethics scandals, Republicans have been hyping the Reid story. And while Reid has promised to correct his financial reports, he's clearly frustrated by the attention the story has received. When AP radio reporter Jerry Bodlander pressed Reid on the issue, the senator simply hung up.

Historian Michael Green doesn't expect the land-profit story to hurt Reid with voters in Las Vegas — where after all, a former mob lawyer is the city's popular mayor, and there's no such thing as "guilt by association," he says.

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