A political showman, Reid held a news conference in October 1974 to distribute “a thick packet” of financial statements and tax returns for himself and his three brothers, the newspapers reported at the time. And Reid challenged Laxalt to do the same – release financial information about himself and his siblings.
“Any man or woman who will not be completely candid about his or her finances does not deserve to be in public office,” Reid said, according to an Associated Press report out of Reno.
Reid said there were years Laxalt had paid no income taxes and people should know why. In response, Laxalt said heavy investments in the Ormsby House exempted him from tax liability in 1972 and 1973.
Reid, then a 34-year-old lieutenant governor and lawyer, said his financial worth was $305,292.
Laxalt, then 52, revealed his net worth was about $200,000 with the exception of his interest in the Ormsby House. He also attempted to show he had not profited as governor. He said his net worth in December 1961 was $167,000 and, when he left the governor’s office in 1970, that figure had dropped to $102,000.
Reid, a former boxer growing up, continued to pound Laxalt on his finances, thinking he could corner him. The tactics didn’t work and Laxalt won the race against the younger aggressor.
More than three decades later, Reid said in his 2008 biography, “The Good Fight,” that he regretted his actions.