Carol Platt Liebau

It isn't news to anyone that Harry Reid's ethics are, to put it mildly, dubious. The stench of corruption seems to cling to him a lot like the cloud of dirt that surrounded Peanuts' Pigpen.

Now, he's been caught giving $17,000 in campaign cash to his granddaughter, supposedly for "holiday gifts." What's interesting is that the person listed as receiving all this campaign cash was recorded as "Ryan Elisabeth." The real name? "Ryan Elisabeth Reid." And when contacted by a journalist, Reid's office, not surprisingly, continued with the "Ryan Elisabeth" facade, and tried to pass Reid's 23-year-old granddaughter off as a campaign vendor, who made jewelry that was (purportedly) given as gifts to Reid's donors.

Reid has now refunded the money, and claims there was no wrongdoing (his constant refrain throughout his checkered career). But it would be interesting to see some proof that jewelry was actually obtained and distributed by the Reid campaign in exchange for the earlier payments. That's because -- if there wasn't -- there is precious little difference between Reid's behavior and the crimes that sent Jesse Jackson, Jr. to prison. Recall that Jackson and his used campaign contributions to fund a lavish lifestyle for themselves and their two children. IF Reid never received and/or distributed any jewelry from "Ryan Elisabeth" (a question that no news account yet seems to have addressed) then wouldn't he have, in effect, been using campaign donations to subsidize his granddaughter's lifestyle . . . just as the Jacksons did for their children? Or would Reid's hasty refund -- after the dubious ethics have been noticed -- make all the difference?


Carol Platt Liebau

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near New York. Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)" here.