Harry the hypocrite -- or not

The Washington Times says Reid is a top target of Abramoff investigators. A source close to the probe says it isn't so.

Published January 12, 2006 7:07PM (EST)

From the "Everybody's Equally Guilty" Department, the Washington Times ran a story Wednesday in which it said federal investigators are focused on five lawmakers -- three Republicans, two Democrats -- in the Jack Abramoff case. The Democrats, it said, are North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

The GOP jumped all over the story, awarding Reid its "politician of the day" award for "assailing the 'culture of corruption'" while he is reportedly on the "first tier" of lawmakers under investigation. Which is all well and good, except that a source close to the investigation tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the Washington Times story was false. The Justice Department isn't focused on Reid, the source says, and it doesn't maintain -- as the Times said it did -- a list of lawmakers who are being investigated.

Although Reid received campaign contributions from Abramoff's clients and associates, he has not received money from Abramoff directly. His office says he's done nothing wrong and that the Justice Department hasn't contacted him about the case.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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