On Tuesday Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston broke the story of how Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader, used more than $16,000 of campaign funds to pay a “Ryan Elisabeth” for jewelry that Reid then gave to donors and supporters. It turns out that “Ryan Elisabeth” is Reid’s granddaughter. According the campaign finance laws, any gifts that elected officials give to donors and supporters must be of “nominal value.”
Ralston followed up that report with this video explanation of the tale for KSNV-TV in Las Vegas.
Sen. Reid must agree that Ralston is right and the “optics here are just horrific.” He scrambled to reimburse his campaign for the funds he used to pay his granddaughter. But the question remains, why did Reid’s finance report not include his granddaughter’s full name — Ryan Elisabeth Reid? Was that an attempt to deceive the FEC into thinking that she was not related to Reid?
Lately Reid has used the august power of the Senate to attack private citizens, the Koch brothers, because they donate money to political causes with which Reid disagrees. He has also attacked Republicans with the absurd claim that they helped Russia annex Crimea.