SOURCE: Judicial Watch

September 18, 2007 13:26 ET

Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit Against Bureau of Land Management to Obtain Records Related to Senator Reid's Role in Coyote Springs Development Project

Did Reid Peddle Influence in Exchange for Campaign Contributions, Favors?

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 18, 2007) - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it filed an open records lawsuit on September 5 against the Bureau of Land Management as part of its investigation of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and his role in a massive real estate development project in Coyote Springs, Nevada. At the heart of Judicial Watch's investigation is whether or not Senator Reid improperly used his influence on Capitol Hill to pave the way for the development project in exchange for campaign contributions and other favors from lobbyist and long-time friend, Harvey Whittemore.

According to the Los Angeles Times: "Helping make Coyote Springs come alive was an alliance between a multimillionaire developer and one of the highest-ranking members of Congress: Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader and a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee... Over the last four years, Reid has used his influence in Washington to help the developer, Nevada super-lobbyist Whittemore, clear obstacles from Coyote Springs' path... As the project advanced, Reid received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Whittemore. The contributions not only went to Reid's Senate campaigns, but also to his leadership fund, which he used to help bankroll the campaigns of Democratic colleagues."

In addition to donating more than $45,000 to Senator Reid's campaigns and political action committees, Whittemore has also reportedly helped to advance the careers of Reid's two sons. One of the two, Leif Reid, has served as Whittemore's personal lawyer and has represented the lobbyist and developer in negotiations with federal officials. Leif Reid even reportedly called his father's office to discuss obtaining the proper permits for the project.

Judicial Watch originally filed its Freedom of Information Act Request on March 9, 2007. The Bureau of Land Management had 20 days to produce records, deny their existence, or claim exemptions. After more than six months, the Bureau has failed to respond. Judicial Watch seeks any and all "contacts and communications" related to the land deal between the Bureau of Land Management and Senator Reid (D-NV), Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and then Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV), who now serves as Governor of Nevada. Ensign and Gibbons both supported the Coyote Springs project at key stages, and also received campaign contributions from Whittemore.

"The Bureau of Land Management should release all documents pertaining to this deal so the American people can know the truth about Senator Reid's involvement," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "If Senator Reid sold his public office to advance a development project that would financially benefit his friend and a member of his own family, he should be held accountable to the full extent of the law."

To read Judicial Watch's complaint, visit www.judicialwatch.org.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jill Farrell
    Judicial Watch
    202-646-5188