Reid charges are back

A Utah prosecutor, Republican Troy Rawlings of Davis County, has revived charges against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

“We are looking into allegations related to Senator Reid” and others, Rawlings said.

“Payments allegedly were made to Reid, then the Senate's majority leader, to win his support in legalizing online poker,” reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

Reid aide Kristen Orthman said Rawlings is using “Sen. Reid's name to generate attention to himself and advance his political career, so every few months he seeks headlines by floating the same unsubstantiated allegations.”

On July 15, 2014, former Utah attorneys general John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were arrested and charged with destruction of evidence and acceptance of bribes. Rawlings dropped the bribery charges against Shurtleff in June this year, though other charges stand.

Swallow was further accused of a circuitous arrangement—receiving $23,000 from Richard Rawle, who he introduced to federally indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson as someone who could assist in getting Reid to help with a Federal Trade Commission investigation into Johnson's marketing company. “I talked with John Swallow, and he said you might have some connections to Reid that might be helpful to us,” Johnson wrote in an email to Rawle cited in the indictment. Rawle is now deceased.

At the time of that case, Rawlings was critical of federal prosecutors for not taking on Reid.

Court filings in that case described Reid as a passive figure—as a target of wrongdoing, not a wrongdoer (“Media target,” RN&R, July 24, 2014).

Well before the Utah case became known, Reid had long supported banning online gambling but allowing online poker, which Nevada allows in peer-to-peer form. Earlier this year, Reid was reported to have lost his interest in making even online poker legal in federal law.

After Orthman's comment on Reid's behalf, Rawlings demanded that Reid join the prosecution team: “What I do want … is (1) every scrap of evidence used by federal investigators and prosecutors in unsubstantiating, dismissing or not pursuing the allegations you refer to; (2) your full waiver of privacy rights under FOIA [the Freedom of Information Act] in connection with all documents that memorialize, refer or relate in any way to the allegations so we can obtain the information through that means; and (3) a chat about the unsubstantiated allegations that were not pursued by federal prosecutors,” Rawlings said. “You may end up being an important witness. I have a defendant in Utah, Mr. Mark L. Shurtleff, who, like you, is presumed innocent and is entitled to all of this material based on multiple critical investigative intersects. Please urge the Department of Justice to provide the exonerating evidence and information so we do not have to litigate the issues in Utah.”

Reid has been hit with such passive accusations before. When he was a gambling regulator, a federal wiretap picked up Joe Agosto, a member of the Kansas City mob bragging that he could deliver a “Mr. Clean” or “Mr. Cleanface.” When the information was made public, attention turned immediately to Reid because of the probity for which he was then known. Reid responded by calling for an investigation of himself, which exonerated him.