Harry Reid found an out-of-this-world way to secretly reward a donor

**Written by Doug Powers

Here’s a little story you might have read about this week:

In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find.Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.

Scratch beneath the surface, though, and that’s also how Harry Reid wanted it:

The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space.[…]Mr. Reid said his interest in U.F.O.s came from Mr. Bigelow. In 2007, Mr. Reid said in the interview, Mr. Bigelow told him that an official with the Defense Intelligence Agency had approached him wanting to visit Mr. Bigelow’s ranch in Utah, where he conducted research.Mr. Reid said he met with agency officials shortly after his meeting with Mr. Bigelow and learned that they wanted to start a research program on U.F.O.s. Mr. Reid then summoned Mr. Stevens and Mr. Inouye to a secure room in the Capitol.[…]None of the three senators wanted a public debate on the Senate floor about the funding for the program, Mr. Reid said. “This was so-called black money,” he said. “Stevens knows about it, Inouye knows about it. But that was it, and that’s how we wanted it.” Mr. Reid was referring to the Pentagon budget for classified programs.

In a total coincidence, the no-bid $22 million contract went to a good friend of Reid:

Harry Reid’s gone from the Senate but tales of his taxpayer-funded spiffs to donors continue (and who knows how much ends back up in his pockets).

“Still securing pork for my donors even after I retire — that’s the Harry Reid guarantee!”

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Posted in: Campaign finance, Corruption, Harry Reid

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