Reid the Elder dismisses gifts controversy at presser; and Reid the Younger defends daughter/Dad

UPDATE, 7PM: Now there is $5,000 more from 2012. Total now $31,000.

 

And now Reid is playing the aggrieved grandfather. Chutzpah:

“My granddaughter has been the target of harassing phone calls, strangers tracking her down and knocking on her door and negative, unwanted attention on the internet. This has gone too far and it needs to stop now. I deeply regret any role I had in creating this situation but now, as a grandparent, I say enough is enough.

“As I have already said, I am reimbursing my campaign for the amount spent on thank-you gifts produced by my granddaughter, a professional and talented artist who produced gifts for my staff and supporters that had a personal connection to my family and my hometown of Searchlight, Nevada. I believe my granddaughter is a very talented individual and I admire her work tremendously, but I've decided that it would be best to pay for her work out of my own pocket. My office is reviewing our records to ensure that we reimburse my campaign for the full amount. 
 

"Landra and I are extremely proud of our granddaughter, we love her very much and we regret any unwanted attention that these stories have brought to her. At every step of this process, my actions and those of my campaign have been in full compliance with the law. At this point, I only wish that my granddaughter be spared from further attacks, harassing visits and phone calls, and other kinds of unwanted attention.”

"Any role" in creating this situation? Any role? Entire role, senator.

I have heard from non-family members that Ryan Reid is a talented, sensitive artist. She did not deserve to have this spotlight shone on her. I have great sympathy for her. But heal thyself, grandpa. You brought us to her door.

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UPDATE, 5:30 pm: Better open the checkbook again senator. On Dec. 4, 2012, nearly a year before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave his granddaughter the nearly $17,000 for "holiday gifts," his campaign gave Ryan Elisabeth Reid $9,000 for "gifts for supporters."

The total is now about $26,000.

 

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UPDATE, 3 PM: Ryan Elisabeth Reid, Rory Reid's daughter and Harry Reid's granddaughter, lists various "current supporters" on the site for her theater company, which is trying to produce a play at the Smith Center in Las Vegas about Alzheimer's. Among those listed are NV Energy and two of philanthropist Larry Ruvo's foundations.

The problem: NV Energy and Ruvo both say they never contributed to the theater group.

“The NV Energy Foundation has not given a grant to the Sprat Theatre Company," said NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht. "The organization applied for an NV Energy Foundation grant late last year. The review of this grant application, as well as applications from other nonprofits, was put on hold while we completed our merger. The merger is now complete and each of the pending applications will be considered through our Foundation review process."

A spokeswoman for Ruvo told me he had "received a request but decided at this time not to provide money."

And you thought this story couldn't get stranger?

One other "current supporter" listed is Peter Palivos, a businessman once represented by Rory Reid and who has given thousands over the years to Harry Reid and the Democratic Party. Oh, and he has had some issues.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asked about the controversy over his campaign paying his granddaughter nearly $17,000, said his decision soon after the story broke to reimburse his campaign was not an admission of wrongdoing.

"No, in fact it wasn't," Reid said Wednesday after being questioned in DC with other senators standing nearby. "We complied with all the rules. I just wanted to avoid, and (pause) I'm just very fortunate I could write that check. So it's all done. Everything was complied with beforehand..I'm not going to answer any...Read my statement."

And then he moved on after dismissing the reporter. (Video, conveniently captured by the Republican National Committee, is below.)

Avoid what, senator? Avoid an appearance of impropriety? Isn't that the usual phrase? Avoid the story lingering, perhaps?

The story may dissipate unless the Federal Election Commission finds that the gifts were not, as rules require, so "nominal." But the stench remains -- grandpa gives granddaughter money from campaign to give gifts (Reid's office won't itemize or describe). And the granddaughter, Rory Elisabeth Reid, gets to keep the money, whether it came from the campaign or from her grandfather, as it should have in the first place. How tone-deaf can he be?

Reid also surely hoped to stanch the bleeding after one day by reimbursing the campaign. The majority leader announced he was doing so within an hour of my post.

But this may not be over quite yet as Adam O'Neal of Real Clear Politics discovered that two well-known Reid supplicants, NV Energy and Caesars Entertainment, donated to his granddaughter's theater company:

His granddaughter has also received financial support for her fledgling New York theater company from two Nevada-based foundations that typically prohibit donations to organizations outside of their service areas. The foundations belong to gaming and energy companies that have also donated to the lawmaker. 

Were they asked? Did they do it out of their generous spirits? I've asked both companies for a response.

A short time ago, and this could only happen in Nevada, Ryan Elisabeth Reid's father, Rory, spoke about the controversy on his own TV show called "What's Your Point?" on KSNV-TV. (Disclosure: My program appears there, too.)

It was surreal to watch. Here's the exchange:

"I'm very proud of my daughter," Reid the Younger, looking a tad uncomfortable, answered when prompted about the controversy by anchor Jeff Gillan.

Gillan: "What happened here?"

Rory Reid: "My daughter has a jewelry design company. My parents -- her grandparents -- called her and said, 'Would you make some gifts for our friends, family and supporters?' And she was happy to do it."

Oh? Grandpa and grandma called? How simple. How innocent.

Reid the Younger then suggested to Gillan that he should get "my Dad on the show" and: "He would probably talk about it for 30 seconds and then I would imagine you'd move on to something more important, which is what we should do."

Yes, this is very trivial. Just ask the FEC. Or, perhaps, another jewelry vendor who might have liked that $17,000 but had the wrong last name.

Move on. Nothing to see here.

But Gillan did not move on, saying some would say "this doesn't look good."

Reid the Younger: "I am told the accounting was done appropriately. I am going to take my father's word for it, and I'm not his spokesman. So if you want them, I can get you their phone number, too."

Wow. Really. Wow.

Reid the Younger and Reid the Elder have had their share of problems as the former told people after he lost to Gov. Brian Sandoval in 2010 that his father had misled him about running for another term in 2010. And Reid the Younger had his own campaign finance problems, for which he paid a $25,000 fine.

I understand why Rory Reid might feel a tad uncomfortable talking about his daughter and father on his own program. But the air of frivolity was something to behold. After a break, Reid the Younger said to Gillan, "You know I have another daughter and a son. Are we going to talk about them today?"

Ha ha ha. Isn't this all funny, folks?

As if to put an exclamation mark on a strange morning, Reid the Elder talked today about how his grandkids don't make enough money. That video is below, too.