Democratic leader’s Super PAC rakes in money from lobbyists tied to Goldman Sachs, Citigroup

• July 24, 2012 4:30 pm


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Super PAC, Searchlight Leadership Fund, took in more than $140,000 from lobbyists in 2012 despite Reid’s election campaign claims of opposing big banks and their lobbyists, Federal Election Commission filings show.

Searchlight, founded by Reid in 1997, raked in $142,000 from lobbyists—two of them former Reid staffers—whose clients include major banks and defense contractors.

James "Jimmy" Ryan, a high-level Reid staffer from 1993 to 2003 and a current lobbyist for Elmendorf Ryan, a Democratic lobbying firm, gave $19,500 to Searchlight this year.

Since 2009, Ryan and his firm have been paid $900,000 by Goldman Sachs, $990,000 by Citigroup, and $510,000 by defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

Ryan was also previously the senior vice president and co-head for federal government affairs at Citigroup.

Kevin Kayes, a lobbyist for Quinn Gillespie & Associates since 2006, was Reid’s chief counsel from 2005 to 2006. Kayes gave $24,000 to Searchlight in 2012.

Since 2006, Kayes has been paid $900,000 by Bank Of America, $220,000 by Barclays, and $1,270,000 by Visa.

Searchlight also took $35,500 from Tony Podesta, one of the most prolific and influential Democratic lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and the brother of the head of the left-wing Center for American Progress.

Among Podesta’s numerous clients are H&R Block, Wells Fargo, BP America, and Bank of America.

During a debate between Reid and his opponent Sharron Angle in the 2010 election, Reid said Angle "favors big banks" and is "against Wall Street reform."

"I have a different philosophy," Reid told voters. "I am for the middle-class."

However, a 2010 campaign ad for Reid claimed the Senator was a staunch opponent of big banks and their lobbyists.

"Last year, big Wall Street banks sent 1,500 lobbyists to Washington, but last week, Senator Harry Reid sent them home empty handed."

"They couldn’t buy Harry Reid," the ad concluded.

Neither Searchlight Leadership Fund nor Sen. Reid’s office returned requests for comment.

Elmendorf Ryan had no comment.

Published under: Congress, Cronyism, FEC, Harry Reid, Lobbyists