On Monday, Harry Reid’s close friend and donor, Harvey Whittemore was sentenced to two years in prison for funneling more than $130,000 in illegal campaign funds to Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election committee in 2007. He received three felony convictions, his sentence includes $100,00 in fines and 100 community service hours. Whittemore was a former Nevada power broker and named the most powerful lobbyist in Nevada who worked for gambling, alcohol and tobacco industries. His nickname was the “64th legislator”.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Reid and Whittemore go way back; four of Reid’s sons were hired by the law firm in which Harvey Whittemore was a senior partner. Sen. Reid and Whittemore were involved in very big land deals, including federal legislation to help the development of Coyote Springs.
The 61-year-old former lobbyist and wealthy developer is to surrender on his own to federal authorities on Jan. 31, 2014.
“These offenses go to the very heart of our electoral process,” Hicks said.
Prosecutors said Whittemore gave money to family members and employees in 2007 to make contributions he had promised to Reid while concealing himself as the true source to skirt campaign finance laws.
Reid has not been accused of any wrongdoing. He has said he was unaware of any potential problems with the money he received.
Whittemore insisted through his lawyers he didn’t know he was breaking the law. He tearfully addressed the court for the first time directly for more than a half-hour of Monday’s six-hour sentencing hearing, halting several times to compose himself, remove his glasses to wipe his tears, and at one point check on a daughter who was crying in the courtroom gallery.
“Looking back, it was arrogant and naive to believe my conduct was lawful, but I cannot change that now. As a lawyer I gave myself bad advice,” Whittemore said. “I am sincerely, wholly sorry for my wrong decision and I’m here in a state of utter shame.”
The National Review has more on the Reid and Whittemore relationship.