Reid Super PAC Donor, Vegas Casino CEO Bets Chips on Immigration Bill
The Casino Crony Kickback that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) inserted into the newly repackaged immigration reform bill will benefit a government-sponsored corporation chaired by one of Reid’s Super PAC donors, Breitbart News has learned.
Reid and Heller inserted a provision indefinitely extending the funding of the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) of 2009 into the new version of the immigration bill. The government-run corporation that spends the money the U.S. Treasury appropriates under the TPA is called “Brand USA” (formerly the Corporation for Travel Promotion).
As the Washington Free Beacon reported in May 2012, Brand USA’s chairman is Las Vegas-based Diamond Resorts’ CEO Stephen Cloobeck. Cloobeck is a major Democratic Party donor, the Free Beacon noted in its story about Brand USA--what it called the “Cronyism Board.”
“Cloobeck donated at least $490,045 in political contributions since 2007, with only $9,700 going to Republicans,” the Free Beacon’s CJ Ciaramella wrote. “In 2011, Cloobeck gave $100,000 through one of his companies to the Majority PAC, which is run by operatives tied to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to the Las Vegas Sun.”
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Cloobeck and his family have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats, their committees and Super PACs over the years, with a particular focus on helping Reid.
When then-Commerce Secretary Gary Locke named Cloobeck the chairman of Brand USA (then still known as the Corporation for Travel Promotion), Reid issued a statement from his official Senate website praising the choice. In that statement, Reid also noted how the TPA--which he and Heller are trying to use the Senate immigration bill to indefinitely extend--would be a special boon for Nevada and its tourist destinations like Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe.
"I applaud Secretary Locke on his decision to appoint Stephen Cloobeck to this board,” Reid said in the Sept. 10, 2010, statement. “He is someone I have known and worked with for many years and I am confident his leadership and more than 25 years of experience will serve Nevada and our country well in this position. Nevada is home to some of the world's top tourist destinations and that is why I fought to pass the Travel Promotion Act. The work of the new Corporation for Travel Promotion will help us market places like Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe to visitors from overseas, and the increase in tourism will help put Nevadans back to work and boost our state's economy."