Reid's ties to Abramoff are stronger than he let on
WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid wrote at least four letters helpful to American Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, and the senator's staff regularly had contact with the disgraced lobbyist's team about legislation affecting other clients.
The activities - detailed in billing records and correspondence obtained by The AP - are far more extensive than previously disclosed. They occurred over three years as Reid collected nearly $68,000 in donations from Abramoff's firm, lobbying partners and clients.
Reid's office acknowledged Thursday having ''routine contacts'' with Abramoff's lobbying partners and intervening on some government matters - such as blocking some tribal casinos - in ways Abramoff's clients might have deemed helpful. But it said none of Reid's actions was affected by donations or done for Abramoff.
Reid, D-Nev., has led the Democratic Party's attacks portraying Abramoff's lobbying and fundraising as a Republican scandal, while refusing to return any of his own donations. He argues there's no need to return the money.