So, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has a new blog called “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry.” You can leave comments here. I’d suggest asking Sen. Reid about this story in one of his hometown newspapers, the Las Vegas Review Journal:
The money that led to the indictment this week of two Las Vegas pastors and the wife of one of them came from federal grants arranged by Sen. Harry Reid in September 2001, a Reid spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Moving to distance Reid from a possible scandal, aide Tessa Hafen said the senator sought the money on behalf of a nonprofit social services agency and not for the churches or persons who have been accused of mishandling the money.
“The money was administered by the Department of Justice, and it went to the agency in Nevada (Alliance Collegiums Association of Nevada),” Hafen said.
The Rev. Willie Davis, the longtime pastor of Second Baptist Church, and his wife, Emma, were indicted Tuesday on fraud charges with an associate minister, the Rev. McTheron Jones.
They are accused of spending $330,000 from federal grants on themselves although the money was intended for halfway houses for prison inmates in Southern Nevada.
The indictment identifies Willie Davis as president of the Alliance Collegiums Association of Nevada board of directors.
In late 2002, Emma Davis became executive director, and Jones was assistant director.
According to the indictment, a grant of $423,000 was approved for the alliance in September 2002.
The indictment charges the defendants of using the grant money to benefit themselves.
More background on the indictments here. The Second Baptist Church site is here. Willie Davis gets praise from another Nevada Democrat, former Rep. James Bilbray, here. (Someone should be looking into how Davis spent the money for the programs mentioned by Bilbray, and whether Reid helped Davis obtain any other federal grants that have been abused.)
Reid has had an apparently long and close relationship with Davis. In 1997, Reid forked over a nice little contribution of $250 to Davis…without telling the pastor that the money was recycled from Chinagate con man John Huang. In January 2003, Reid contributed a recipe–“Sen. Harry Reid’s Smothered Chicken With African Flavors–” to Davis’ community cookbook. In March 2003, just six months after Reid helped Davis’ group secure the federal grant money at issue, the Review-Journal first reported on allegations of misconduct by the pastor and his wife. The paper was unable to get comment from either Davis or Reid at the time. Where were they? From the March 2003 article (via Nexis):
Repeated calls over the past two weeks to both Willie and Emma Davis at the organization’s office, Second Baptist Church and their home were not returned. Efforts to reach them while they were in Washington, D.C., for an African-American Leadership Summit, hosted by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also were unsuccessful…
…The federal government, through Reid’s office, had set aside $900,000 in discretionary funds to be split between the program and another rehabilitation program for felons that’s based in Northern Nevada.
Harry’s new blog will be raising tons of cash for Senate candidates. Those underprivileged prison inmates who got ripped off by Sen. Reid’s crony, alas, are out of luck.
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