HAS THE PAST RETURNED TO HAUNT HARRY REID?
Utah newspaper's review resurrects allegations of bribery around the old First Sun Bank case.
The Salt Lake Tribune in Utah has resurrected the six-year-old allegations that now-retired Nevada Senator Harry Reid may have been bribed to the tune of $2 million to support a federal proposal to legalize online poker back then, and subsequent claims that federal authorities have blocked attempts by a local prosecutor to carry out a full investigation and possibly prosecutions.
In an extensive article writers Tom Harvey and Jennifer Dobner document in detail how the issue surfaced, the international route the money took, and evidence of federal warnings to local prosecutor Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings to leave the issue lie.
The duo report that “state and federal investigations, court filings and public records requests — including audio recordings of interviews and thousands of pages of transcripts, summaries by investigators, emails, requests for evidence and other materials — show that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI failed to pursue a vigorous investigation of this money and any potential tie to Reid.”
Our readers may recall that the issue first surfaced when Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson confessed that the alleged bribe involved money from the First Sun bank, which was prosecuted for helping to process illegal online poker transactions from Full Tilt and other companies.
Johnson told FBI agents and local prosecutor Rawlings that Sen. Reid was going to get “a little something extra” in exchange for political help.
Rawlings’ investigation into the route of the $2 million check picked up the trail from two former Utah attorneys general of interest, with the officials’ suspicious actions motivating Rawlings to further pursue the case. The report alleges that federal authorities have since ‘stymied’ his efforts, leading him to wonder why and ask whether there had been a cover-up.
Rawlings efforts were further frustrated when his request for funding for a Grand Jury probe were "stalled" by the Utah Attorney General.
Johnson had claimed to authorities that his finance company SunFirst Bank was asked to distribute poker funds to Sen. Reid through various donors at a July 6, 2010 fundraiser.
The Salt Lake Tribune report quotes Johnson as saying that Reid told the audience at the fund raiser, which included Full Tilt chief executive Raymond Bitar and Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas, that he (Reid) was switching positions and would now support legalization to ensure that online poker was legal at the federal level.
"Pappas said in an interview that he didn't remember what Reid said at the meeting," the Salt Lake Tribune article reports. "In his multiple accounts of the meeting, and specifically in a February 2014 interview with two FBI agents, Johnson said, "Harry Reid is going around meeting people and saying ‘Hi' and I was standing next to one of Ray's entourage and I'm like, ‘How did you guys get Harry Reid to go against his own constituents and do this?' and he's like, ‘Well, let's just say he's getting a little something extra in his retirement fund.'"
Rawlings has claimed that he has asked federal agencies for evidence linking Reid to the complex money route of the alleged bribe. However, while they have been happy to investigate other figures of interest, federal officials have allegedly blocked efforts to gain information about Sen. Reid.
“Rawlings said he has been told by federal authorities to ‘forget Harry Reid.’” the Salt Lake Tribune article notes; a month after Sen. Reid’s re-election in 2010, he began campaigning in Congress to legalize online poker.
Attempts by the newspaper to elicit a comment from Sen. Reid were unsuccessful, but the report does note that on previous occasions Sen. Reid's office has characterized the First Sun bribery allegations as "unsubstantiated" and staff have accused Rawlings of grandstanding to advance his political career.
Read the full article here: http://www.sltrib.com/home/4533272-155/a-2m-check-harry-reid-and