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Reid brags about successfully abusing his power

Harry Reid once risked his life to take on mob bosses. He’s now bragging about having successfully imitated their tactics during his political career.

In 2009, Reid was at the peak of his political power. He led the U.S. Senate, which Democrats dominated. MGM Resorts International, one of the largest companies in Nevada, was hurting during the economic downturn. The company needed a $1.2 billion loan to complete its CityCenter project, but it couldn’t get financing. Without that loan, Wall Street analysts thought MGM might go bankrupt.

Reid was and still is close to MGM. He received more contributions from MGM employees than from any other company during his political career. An MGM bankruptcy would have hurt his re-election chances in 2010.

A mob boss knows what to do in situations like that — shake down the lenders. A mob boss can make physical threats. Reid, as a senator, had the ability to make political threats — which he’s now bragging about.

“I called presidents of banks (to help MGM get a loan), threatened them any way I could.” Reid told the Nevada Independent recently. Reid’s pressure worked, and MGM got its financing. “No one in their right mind would have done what I did,” Reid said.

Abusing your power as an elected official shouldn’t be something to boast about. But Reid was just warming up. In 2007, the company now known as NV Energy wanted to build coal power plants in rural Nevada. Reid opposed the plan, and he turned to another mob-tested tactic — intimidation.

“I called the head of a hedge fund,” Reid recalled in the interview. “I said, ‘I don’t know how I can get even with you. But you mark my word, I will get even in some way. I don’t know how. You back out of that deal to build that plant or you’ve got me just out there looking at everything you do.’ So, I did that with all four of them, and they all backed out.”

In 2011, the city of Henderson was looking for a new city attorney. Josh Reid, son of Harry Reid, wanted the job but didn’t meet the minimum qualifications. After his father called city officials, they lowered the job requirements and hired Reid’s son. Mobsters always take care of the family.

Reid embodies everything — corruption, abuse of power, cronyism — that Democrats claim to fear in President Donald Trump. Mobsters go to jail for actions such as Reid’s because threatening people if they don’t do what you want is extortion. Perhaps Reid is fortunate that the federal statute of limitations on extortion is five years.

In “The Dark Knight,” Harvey Dent, the mob-fighting prosecutor who later becomes the villain Two-Face, said, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Reid appears to recognize that he’s lived a very long time.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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