On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported on some allegedly problematic real estate dealings by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. According to the AP’s initial article and a later follow-up report, the Nevada Democrat collected $1.1 million in 2004 on the sale of a piece of property he had not personally owned for three years beforehand, raising questions of whether he violated Senate ethics rules.
The details may be murky and the questions numerous, but thankfully our throng of online experts never hesitates to dive into the muck.
Captain’s Quarters ruminates: “Reid has demonstrated that he has few scruples when it comes to using his position and power for his personal enrichment and that of his family and ‘associates.’ If the Democrats continue to have Reid as the leader of their Senate caucus, voters should realize the kind of leadership he will provide if the Democrats win control of the Senate.”
Biting back in the wake of the Foley scandal, many conservative bloggers wasted no time in lambasting the senator.
“No surprise for us back here in Sin City,” points out the Popinjay at the Astute Bloggers site. “Reid always gets really sensitive when his ethics are called into question. Culture of corruption indeed. I don’t know that it’ll matter much to the voters, as it’s a rather complicated story when you delve into it — and Reid isn’t up for election this year, but he is in line to be majority leader if the Dems win the Congress. Think about it.”
For others, the lack of Democrat voices condemning Reid’s actions fit well within a broader pattern.
“It’s a point of pride with me to try to be somewhat honest; I slam the bejeezus out of Republicans and conservatives when I think they deserve it, much to the consternation of some folks ‘round these parts,” notes Cold Fury. “[But] I can’t see anybody on the left who ever does this. At most it’s a whispered ‘well, if he’s found guilty in a court of law, and it’s upheld on appeal, and the Supreme Court denies cert, and if Moses’ burning bush reignites, and my stopped watch starts telling time accurately again … well, then he should be treated the way everybody else gets treated. But the Republicans were much, much worse …’”
To many on the left, however, it is not Senator Reid who deserves a thorough investigation. AP reporter John Solomon, who co-wrote Wednesday’s articles and has previously covered Reid, has been condemned by many bloggers who regard his reporting as biased and factually inaccurate.
Leading the charge, AMERICAblog states, “Now, you’d think perhaps the AP caught Harry Reid not reporting his holdings to the Senate Ethics Committee. No, he did it. How about not reporting the land sale and his profits to the Ethics Committee? No, he did that too. So what did Harry Reid do wrong? He didn’t tell the Ethics Committee he transferred the land to an LLC whi[ch] he was still a party in — though he did report to the committee that he still owned the land, which was true. Why does that detail matter? Got me. You’ll have to read a four-page AP story to try to figure that one out.”
Another commentator bemoans what he sees as partisan dirt-digging by Solomon.
“There’s an old saying in journalism that three examples make a trend. I think we have a trend here,” declares Paul Kiel at TPMmuckraker. “Solomon’s apparent weakness for detail is one issue. But most curious is the fact that we live in the muckiest times in recent memory, and yet Solomon, at the helm of the most powerful news agency in the country, persists in roaming the wide ocean of congressional corruption in a Captain Ahab-like hunt for Reid’s ethical missteps.”
Finally, one familiar voice of left-wing discontent was having trouble figuring out what all the excitement was about.