Harry Reid, the United States Senate Majority Leader from Nevada, could be implicated in a corruption investigation that is taking a look at state politicians and online gambling interests, according to Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill - as reported by ABC News on Thursday. The Utah officials claim the evidence in the investigation relates to suspect financial transactions including campaign contributions to state - as well as federal politicians - which is where Sen. Harry Reid's name comes up in the investigation.
When looking at federal-level officials like Sen. Harry Reid, Rawlings suggests that the United States Department of Justice get involved with the investigation. Rawlings said that the federal government basically should look at their own – to look at allegations of conduct or misconduct involving this federal official.
Gill agreed totally. He says there could possibly be an innocent explanation for the evidence that has cropped up, but he says there could also be a more sinister explanation. According to Gill, that’s what needs to be figured out.
Both Rawlings and Gill took over the investigation two years ago.
Utah Attorney General John Swallow was the first to face allegations of corruption, and he resigned his state position last November – after not having been in his elected position for even a year.
When it comes to Harry Reid, Rawlings and Gill are disappointed that the Department of Justice declined to take on the investigation last year – even though local officials consider the allegations to be very serious.
While the investigation – assisted by the FBI – has focused on state officials, Rawlings and Gill want the federally-elected official, Harry Reid, to be included.
Curiously, however, the United States Department of Justice thwarted the FBI's plan to include Harry Reid in the investigation.
Rawlings said, “If somebody commits crimes and there’s a nexus to the state of Utah and we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, it doesn’t matter who they are - even a U.S. senator.”
“And no,” he asserted, “we’re not afraid of that. That’s our job!”
Utah became the home of one of the world’s largest online poker companies for a brief time in late 2009. Reportedly, poker interests had entered the political arena in an effort to prevent a crackdown on the processing of poker profits. It is that situation that led to huge contributions made to state and federal politicians' campaigns – allegedly including United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Jeremy Johnson, a key figure in the bank portion of the Utah gambling transactions who has had his own legal problems, alleges that Reid was involved in a 2010 fundraiser event at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas where online poker industry officials hosted him. He also says that Reid promised to introduce federal legislation to legalize online poker if he was elected again.
Reid introduced a bill to legalize online poker about a month after he was reelected in 2010. Quite curiously, two months after he was reelected, he withdrew the bill.
A Reid spokesperson said that the senator always opposed broad-based online gambling, but over time, he had decided to alter his longstanding opposition. The spokesperson denied that campaign contributions had anything to do with Reid’s change of heart on the online gambling issue.