Democrats fold with winning hands; they must consider it fine strategy. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, facing an ever-more-obstructionist Republican minority, tossed away any chance for substantial filibuster reform in this session. This maintains the anti-majoritarian balance of power in the chamber just as the Senators begin formally negotiating agreements on the crippling budget sequester scheduled for March first, the debt ceiling extension due by May, and the 2014 federal budget. In preparation for these battles, I decided to examine Reid’s official campaign finance records.
Casinos and other gambling enterprises led the pack in donating to Reid, who once chaired the Nevada Gaming Commission. MGM Resorts International (formerly MGM Mirage), the world’s second-largest gaming company, has given the Nevadan nearly a half-million dollars since 1989. Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s) and its owners Apollo Global Management pitched him nearly a quarter million, making them his third-biggest donor. Other betting establishments Reid raked in funds from were Station Casinos (his sixth largest donor) and Boyd Gaming (tenth). One might be tempted to call financial firms like JPMorgan Chase (15th) and Pete Peterson‘s Blackstone Group (18th) gambling enterprises as well — were their losses not likely to be covered by government bailouts.
Harry Reid’s major source of campaign funds, however, is the legal industry, from which he’s collected nearly six million dollars over his career so far. Mesothelioma (asbestos-related cancer) lawyers, including Simmons Cooper LLC (his second largest donor; now simply Simmons Law Firm), Weitz and Luxenburg (fifth), Baron & Budd (eighth), Waters & Kraus (17th), and the Law Offies of Peter G. Angelos (20th) together contributed about half a million bucks; trial lawyers Girardi Keese (seventh) and Lionel, Sawyer & Collins for which the Senator’s son Rory works (ninth), each gave Reid $100,000 or so; and the major DC corporate law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (14th) pitched in $86,000.
He also accepted substantial donations from Nevada corporations such as the electronics firm Sierra Nevada Corporation (11th) and gold diggers Newmont Mining (12th), and from the telecommunications giant AT&T (13th).