Former Florida congressman Allen West says the Justice Department will not comment on a corruption investigation into possible financial wrongdoing by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and GOP Sen. Mike Lee because it could be damaging to the Obama administration.
"One of the things you have to look at is, Sen. Harry Reid is involved in this as the majority leader. You can almost understand why the Department of Justice and Eric Holder probably did not want this to come out," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Friday.
"When you look at this, online gambling, online poker, and some of the quotes that they got from Harry Reid promising certain legislation would be brought up and passed in his tenure based upon the support coming from this online poker industry, this can be very damning for him. It's not something that the Obama administration wants right now, to have the Senate majority leader engaged in another type of scandal."
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West said even if it is difficult to prove that Reid offered a quid pro quo deal to the online poker industry, he could still be indicted in the court of public opinion.
"The thing that kills you in the world of politics is perception. Perception can lend to the reality. Right now, with the IRS thing, with Benghazi, this is not something that the president needs on top of the headaches he is going to facing with the Ukraine situation.
"He cannot afford to lose someone like Harry Reid as his loyal lieutenant there in the Senate who has really been running roughshod, kind of like pulling guard for him and blocking all the legislation coming out of the House," he explained.
West, who represented Florida's 22nd congressional district from 2011-2013, is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. He served on the Armed Services and Small Business committees.
Asked about the secession referendum in Crimea this weekend, West said, "It's a Chicago political tactic here. If you're going to have all these Russian soldiers and paramilitary there in Crimea, if you're going to go vote, which direction do you think this vote is going to end up? All of a sudden, Vladimir Putin is going to say, 'See, the people in Crimea want us to annex them and we have done this by a democratic process.'
Of course, it will be the façade of a democratic process, but it's going to open up the window for Putin to do additional things."
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