Harry Reid Bolsters Son’s Interests in Chinese Solar Plant Deal

By:  Brian Koenig
09/06/2012
       
Harry Reid Bolsters Son’s Interests in Chinese Solar Plant Deal

 Rory Reid, the eldest son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada. ENN Energy Group, a clean-energy firm that manufactures a range of renewable energy solutions, is seeking to construct its solar panel facility on a 9,000-acre stretch of land on a Clark County desert plot.

Rory Reid, the eldest son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada. ENN Energy Group, a clean-energy firm that manufactures a range of renewable-energy products, is seeking to construct its solar panel facility on a 9,000-acre stretch of land on a Clark County desert plot.

The controversy stems from the fact that Clark County officials voted to sell ENN the public land for $4.5 million, a figure startlingly below the $38.6-million appraisal. Conveniently, Sen. Reid has been one of ENN’s most prominent supporters, having helped mobilize the firm during a 2011 trip to China. Reid’s influence in the Chinese company has been so compelling that, according to Reuters, last month he tried to “pressure Nevada’s largest power company, NV Energy, to sign up as ENN’s first customer.”

Both Rory and his father have since denied having ever discussed the $5-billion deal. A spokeswoman for Sen. Reid, Kristen Orthman, insisted that he’d never deliberated over the project with his son. Rory Reid added, “I have never discussed the project with my father or his staff.”

Despite his assertions, critics say Rory Reid’s political ties in the deal seems rather explicit. In addition to being the son of a prominent U.S. senator, he also formerly chaired the Clark County commission. Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen, said Rory’s father is implicating himself in “an iffy ethical landscape” and should recuse himself from the solar project. "Is this just happening because ... it benefits the Reid family, or did Harry Reid actually believe in this?" Holman queried.

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