Will the pork stop here?: Reid pledges change, but he pushed funding that may benefit him. (Chuck Neubauer and Tom Hamburger, November 13, 2006, LA Times)
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vows to make reform of congressional earmarks a priority of his tenure, arguing that members need to be more transparent when they load pet projects for their districts into federal spending bills.
But last year’s huge $286-billion federal transportation bill included a little-noticed slice of pork pushed by Reid that provided benefits not only for the casino town of Laughlin, Nev., but also, possibly, for the senator himself.
Reid called funding for construction of a bridge over the Colorado River, among other projects, “incredibly good news for Nevada” in a news release after passage of the 2005 transportation bill. He didn’t mention, though, that just across the river in Arizona, he owns 160 acres of land several miles from proposed bridge sites and that the bridge could add value to his real estate investment.
Reid denies any personal financial interest in his efforts to secure $18 million for a new span connecting Laughlin with Bullhead City, Ariz.
If Democrats had actually learned anything from 1994 it would be that corruption is just another name for perks.