Harvey Whittemore, bagman for Harry Reid, who paid friends and relatives to contribute to Harry's reelection campaign in 2007, was sentenced to 2 years in prison, fined $100,000, and given 100 days of community service, after being convicted of campaign finance violations.
Harry Reid claims he knew nothing of the illegal money, although this is not his first go round with taking illegal campaign contributions. Reid accepted $68,000 from Jack Abramoff, the influence peddlar, and in return, wrote four letters pushing for the okay for an Indian Casino, represented by Abramoff, who is also in prison for his illegal contributions. Reid has a long history of shady land deals including one with Del Webb, that added 1.1 million dollars to his personal wealth.
Whittemore, who is a lawyer claimed that he didn't know he was breaking the law, even though he felt the need to launder the money. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre said, "His "motivation to do so was not borne from political ideology, hero worship or naivete. Rather it was a knowing and cynical act, conceived in greed, arrogance and the lust for power. He knew what he was doing was wrong but did it anyway,"
Whittemore was eligible for a 15 year sentence, and the prosecutors had asked the judge to give him more than 4 years, but the judge, U.S. District Court Judge Larry Hicks, decided on leniency because of Whittemore's long history of charitable giving.
Prosecutors say that Whittemore gave money to friends and relatives, to contribute to Reid the money he had promised him. It was their contention that the money was given in order to curry favor and influence with Reid. Whittemore denied being greedy or power hungry.
Just before his sentencing, Whittemore offered somewhat of an apology for his actions:
"Looking back, it was arrogant and naive to believe my conduct was lawful, but I cannot change that now. As a lawyer I gave myself bad advice. I am sincerely, wholly sorry for my wrong decision and I'm here in a state of utter shame."