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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. / While Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has slammed gubernatorial challenger Rick Scott over his connection to Medicare fraud, two of Florida’s most egregious cases of consumer fraud–and the unfolding of the nation’s most infamous Ponzi scheme–have happened with Sink at the helm.

Elected as the state’s CFO in 2006, Sink heads the Department of Financial Services which oversees 13 divisions, including insurance fraud investigation, consumer protection, hedge funds, and registered investment advisors. One of those advisors, convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff, admitted in 2008 to defrauding $50 billion from Florida investors. Twenty-five percent of the accounts Madoff managed belonged to Floridians, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

With Florida’s gubernatorial election four weeks away, critics point out Sink did nothing to stop the Ponzi locomotive that thundered through Florida on both coasts under her leadership. Certain Florida hedge fund managers had invested with Madoff, sentenced last year to 150 years in federal prison, and many voters wonder why Alex Sink failed to discover the fraud sooner. Earlier this year Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein and Sarasota hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel pleaded guilty in unrelated schemes that defrauded consumers out of billions of dollars. The media even dubbed Nadel “mini-Madoff.”

Fred LaRosse, a Tampa-based Florida insurance agent, told Your Politics News that Alex Sink fought agents too hard when she should have kept a close eye on the likes of Rothstein and Nadel. 

“While she was trying to have insurance agents arrested for selling fixed annuities, Alex Sink missed the biggest financial fraud in history. And then there was Madoff,” LaRosse said. “Alex Sink’s department was responsible for regulating Bernie Madoff. If Sink couldn’t see fraud right in front of her, how could she ever run Florida as its governor?”

RealClearPolitics.com, a Chicago-based political poll tracker, projects Alex Sink with a 1.6-point lead over Republican challenger Rick Scott as of Sept. 22.


Harry Reid: Mum on stroke, quiet on connections. What else is he hiding?

LAS VEGAS, Nev. / Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proved he was less than forthcoming when he suffered a mini-stroke in 2005–and neglected to notify voters that he was hospitalized for several days.

Now with four weeks to the midterm elections, many who had voted for Reid since his first days in the U.S. Senate in 1987 are worried the Democrat only tells the truth when his political aspirations aren’t threatened.
Kathy Charles, a registered Democrat in Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, told Your Politics News that she threw her support behind Reid’s challenger, Republican Sharron Angle, earlier this year because this economic climate requires new leadership.
“I’d like to know what Harry Reid isn’t telling us,” Charles said. “I thought he was from the party of transparency, of no-nonsense politics. He doesn’t seem to be the same guy anymore.”
Harry Reid, 70, was treated for a transient ischemic attack five years ago, several days before staffers alerted the media of his condition.

“I’m not sure how such a high-profile guy checked in to a busy hospital on an emergency basis and kept his presence secret that long, but he did,” Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick wrote in a recent editorial. “But by the time the public knew anything of the senator’s hospitalization, his staff was telling us that Sen. Reid was A-OK, that he suffered no side effects and he would need no further medical follow-up.”

Reid’s critics claim that the delay to publicize his health scare suggests the senator may be hiding much more from his constituents. Your Politics News submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents to obtain details on Reid’s illness, the doctors who treated him, and the length of stay at the hospital.

FOIA requests made by Your Politics News in August revealed Reid’s political connections to a Reno brothel owner as early as 1970. Harry Reid‘s former campaign manager underwent a polygraph earlier this year to claim he acted as the liaison between the young politician and Mustang Ranch owner Joe Conforte.

Your Politics News also discovered that Harry Reid accepted contributions from investment banks while he publicly called for Wall Street reform in the aftermath of the federal bailout. His connections to gaming industry donors have also sparked protest from supporters of Sharron Angle, Reid’s Republican challenger in the upcoming Nov. 2 election.

Kevin Snyder, a political marketing specialist in Carson City, said the incumbent is running out of time to prove that he can be trusted as a federal representative during the country’s tense climate of unemployment and foreclosures.

“Harry Reid has only four weeks left,” Snyder said. “Sharron Angle is now leading Reid in some polls for the first time. His comments as of late and lack of bipartisan effort has really resounded with voters who think he might have too many skeletons in the closet.”

Both CNN/Time and Fox News polls report Angle has a one-point lead over Harry Reid as of Sept. 18.


Another casino mogul endorses Harry Reid.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. / The Palms hotel and casino mogul George Maloof announced he will endorse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Nov. 2 election, the Associated Press reports.

Maloof’s endorsement comes as the latest in a string of gaming backers for the incumbent senator, who faces a neck-and-neck challenge from Republican rival Sharron Angle. Maloof joined Reid today at a business owner press conference. The media event dissatisfied Harry Reid protestors, who blame the Democratic leader for Nevada’s rapid declining tourism industry and overall workforce.

One protestor, a Las Vegas entrepreneur and father of two, told Your Politics News he’s been out of work since last December.

“I’m behind Sharron Angle, if only for a fresh face in Washington,” said Skip Chilton, who owned and operated an auto detail shop near McCarran International Airport. “Harry Reid hasn’t been for the little guy since the late Eighties.”

A Your Politics News Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed paperwork connecting Harry Reid to casino developer Steve Wynn, who built resorts including the Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio. Documents show Wynn has contributed to Reid’s election campaigns since 1984, when the Democrat served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Wynn gave $20,000 to Harry Reid in Sept. 2009.  

Sharron Angle supporters point out that Reid’s loyalty to the gaming industry stems from his position as chair of Nevada’s gaming commission from 1977 to 1981. Harry Reid has since accepted contributions from MGM Mirage and Harrah’s Entertainment, among other casinos.


Harry Reid calls Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) the senate's 'hottest member.'

 

WASHINGTON / Harry Reid called a fellow senator its “hottest member” at a political fundraiser this week, fueling criticism from those looking to unseat the senate majority leader during the midterm elections six weeks from now. Reid referred to New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand‘s physical appearance  during the event Monday, Politico.com reported.   

RealClearPolitics.com, an independent Chicago-based website that analyzes polls, reports a virtual tie between Harry Reid and Republican Sharron Angle. As of Sept. 18, Reid leads Angle by a half-point (44.5 to 44) as of Sept. 18.  Fox News’ poll projects Angle a full point over Reid.  

Reid has drawn recent criticism from his Nevada constituents who have experienced a plummeting employment rate, record foreclosures and a diminishing tourism industry. Nevada’s unemployment rate soared above 14 percent this year, which confirmed the Silver State as the worst place in America to find a job.    

Gillibrand’s spokesperson dismissed Reid’s remarks, and told Fox News the senator “has the utmost respect for Senator Reid and looks forward to continue working together to repeal DADT, pass 9/11 health, and create good-paying jobs across the country.”   

Harry Reid has failed at all of the above, and I don’t care what the context of the comment was,” a member of the National Organization for Women told Your Politics News on the condition of anonymity. “The remark was obnoxious and ill-timed, and it sets our female leaders back to the Stone Age.”  

“He’s obviously very out of touch with his base, which only begs the question of why we don’t impose term limits on our politicians,” Sharron Angle supporter Chip Jeffries of Searchlight said. 

Reid has served with the U.S. Senate since 1987.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. / Charlie Crist, who disenchanted the GOP when he left the party earlier this year to run for U.S. Senate as an independent candidate, hit the airwaves this week with a political ad featuring the governor fitting together giant letters from the words ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’ to form ‘Americans.’

“As an independent, I will take the best ideas of Democrats and Republicans to get things done,” Crist says in the 30-second spot, before he launches the letter T across the room, a possible symbolic swipe at the GOP’s tea party movement supporters.

“The case can certainly be made that Charlie Crist is saying ‘to heck with the tea party’ through this ad,” Erica Lihne, an advertising consultant and strategist with a St. Petersburg-based firm, told Your Politics News.

Crist has steadily distanced himself from his former Republican base since he announced his independent run earlier this summer. What do you think? Your Politics News invites you to watch the Charlie Crist ad and take the poll.


Supporters gather during a recent Sharron Angle for U.S. Senate rally

LAS VEGAS, Nev. / Nevada voters are all but evenly split among U.S. Senate candidates, with incumbent Harry Reid barely leading Republican opponent Sharron Angle in the latest Mason-Dixon Polling & Research findings.   

Angle trails Reid by two percentage points, with 44 versus the Senate majority leader’s 46, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Sunday. With Nevada’s unemployment rate the worst in the country, both candidates have worked to champion job creation, with 53 percent of those surveyed preferring Sharron Angle’s proposal to cut taxes and deregulate private business. Another 34 percent preferred the Harry Reid-favored approach involving government job creation and Wall Street reform and regulation.   

In an interview with ABC News last week, Reid distanced himself from taking blame for Nevada’s 14.3 percent unemployment. Angle advocate and tea party supporter Sandi Fiske of Reno told Your Politics News on Friday she was disgusted by Reid’s remarks. 

“[H]is attitude gives his former supporters like me even more reason to vote in some new leadership,” Fiske said. 

Both Sharron Angle and Harry Reid are reportedly reaching out to more Hispanic voters in the days leading up to the Nov. 2 election. Angle’s camp says she’s hopeful for an endorsement from Hispanic gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval.


CARSON CITY, Nev. / Distancing himself from his state’s skyrocketing jobless rate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dodged the blame in an interview with ABC News‘ political webcast “Top Line” this week.

“You know that I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here. You know that I had nothing to do with these unemployment figures,” Reid said. “My job is to create jobs. My opponent says that is not her job to create jobs. And I think that is really wrong. I think it is my job to create jobs and I’ve done my best.”

Last month, Your Politics News uncovered several investment banks that donated to Reid’s reelection campaign while the institutions still owed billions to the federal government following the 2008 bailout. Big Four bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. gave Reid $63,100 this year as of August 1, while Goldman Sachs contributed $50,100. Both banks owe taxpayers close to $40 billion by the federal government’s estimates.

Nevada’s Tea Party supporters of Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, recently criticized the Senate majority leader for his campaign ad that attacks Angle’s take on extended unemployment benefits. “We really have spoiled our citizenry,” the ad quotes Angle as having said a few months ago.

Angle supporter Sandi Fiske says Reid’s deflection is representative of being out of touch with his constituents.

“Saying it’s not his fault sounds bitter and childish. This may not be entirely his fault, but his attitude gives his former supporters like me even more reason to vote in some new leadership,” Fiske said.

Nevada’s 14.3 percent unemployment rate is the worst in the country as of July, according to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.