Last week in a move that rightly infuriated the lefty blogosphere, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) showed himself an unusually craven backstabber. His victim: a fellow Democrat, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.
Since March, Wyden had stalled the confirmation of a Bush appointee to the Interior Department. The Denver Post nailed the appointee, ex-Colorado parks director Lyle Laverty, for his “penchant for personal perks,” like buying a riding horse with $5,000 in public funds and selling it to a relative at cost.
While Wyden was in Portland for the Oct. 26 birth of his twins, Reid took advantage of Wyden’s absence and allowed Laverty’s confirmation to proceed, the AP reported.
Since Wyden’s office is constrained from speaking frankly, we will. The only way Reid could’ve sunk lower was by stealing the babies’ pacifiers.
Reid’s move undercut Wyden’s probe of Interior Department corruptions. Wyden was investigating damage wrought by Julie MacDonald, Laverty’s predecessor as head of fish, wildlife and parks. MacDonald was given to rewriting scientists’ reports on endangered species, including the marbled murrelet, a rare seabird that nests in old-growth Oregon forests.
“The environmental community has not always gotten along with Sen. Wyden. But in this case he put his neck on the chopping block,” says Steve Pedery of Oregon Wild.
Enviros assume Reid caved because he cut some kind of deal with the administration. He also met on Sept. 11 with the American Recreation Coalition, which lobbied for Laverty. Reid spokesman Jim Manley declined comment.
Wyden’s office isn’t raising a stink. And talking to Wyden’s staff about Reid’s betrayal is “like talking to someone who’s reading a prepared statement with a weapon pointed at them,” as Pedery puts it.
Wyden’s chief of staff, Josh Kardon, says Wyden will keep prying into departmental “corruption.”