How Did Harry Reid Become Rich?

(Mark Noonan) – According to Open Secrets, Senator Harry Reid has a minimum net worth of $2,827,056.00, a maximum worth of $6,307,999.00 and an average net worth of $4,567,527.00. Why all the discrepancies?

Because our leaders, much as they set up campaign finance laws to protect themselves, have set up their disclosure requirements to hide things. They don’t really want us to know how much they have and thus the millions of dollars of variance possible in Reid’s fortune.

Still, taking that nearly $4.6 million average for Reid seems fair – if it’s really off, then it’s up to Reid to correct the record. And that is quite a rise for a man who endlessly reminds us was born poor.

I’m pretty sure I’m safe in saying that for everyone reading this, that is quite a lot of money. In fact, more money than any of us are likely to (a) ever have or (b) even know what to do with, if we did have it. Lots of people start poor, work hard, and get rich – in the private sector.

The problem, for Harry Reid, is that since he graduated college, there hasn’t been a lot of time outside of government service. Reid was elected to the State Assembly in 1966 and in the past 43 years (when Reid went from 27 years old to 70 – and your humble correspondent went from 2 to 45), the only gap in public service was the two years in the mid-70’s between his term as Lt. Governor and his service on the Nevada Gaming Commission. And during that time he ran for Mayor of Las Vegas, leaving little time to build up a fortune in the private sector.

Right now, as Senate Majority Leader, Reid earns $193,400.00 per year – a back-bencher earns $174,000.00.

Reid has been earning that 193 grand for a few years, but when he first entered the Senate in 1987, I think the Senate salary was about $125,000.00 per year. In order to build up $4.6 million dollars over the past 43 years, Reid would have had to sock aside – out of various government salaries – nearly $107,000.00 per year.

Does anyone want to believe that Reid has done this? That he has saved his government-salary pennies (including for all those years when he made far less than even $107,000.00 per year) and built up his fortune just out of the money we know he’s been earning since he entered public office? And what if Reid’s fortune is actually closer to the higher estimate of $6.3 million?

It’s just not credible that Reid has done this just out of his government salary. The man has raised 5 kids, through college. His various government salaries were enough to live on but how, with all the expenses, did Reid build up so much money? What did he do? How did he do it?

How does a man who’s “product” is legislation make so much money that he can build up more than four and a half million dollars of net worth?

Its small wonder that Reid believes in the power of government to make things good. They’ve certainly made things good for him. He’s risen from the son of a hard-rock miner to a fabulously wealthy Senate Majority Leader. Being in government, for Reid, has been like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He hasn’t had to work for money, but he’s managed to acquire quite a lot of it.

But is this what we want? Do we want people who enter politics poor and leave it very rich? Nothing wrong with a poor man being in government. Nothing wrong with being a rich man in government. But to start poor and end rich while never doing anything in the private sector is a clear indicator of trading on one’s position.

And this is why Reid wants so desperately to remain in power – because it’s all he’s got.

The whole of Reid’s position in life has been built on his government office. Wealth, power and prestige, for Reid, are dependent upon his remaining in office. To lose office is to lose the ability to, say, build up another four million dollars. It’s not like Reid has any marketable skills for the private sector – even his skill as a lawyer is probably rusty as he hasn’t done any real legal practice since the 1960’s.

Reid, out of the Senate, is a nobody.

Reid is asking us to entrust him with 6 more years in the United States Senate. Before we do such a thing, it is fair for us to ask: “Reid, how did you become a rich man?”

All evidence indicates that Reid has enriched himself off his government position and unless we get evidence, from Reid, to the contrary, we daren’t re-elect him. Nevada is in trouble and we need leaders who are for us, not just living off us.

(Mr. Noonan co-publishes Blogs for Victory)


  1. good riddance!

  2. With all the crooked stuff he’s doing to get this health bill thru I would say this isn’t his first rodeo.
    VOTE REID OUT IN 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Harry is indeed very wealthy.

    I have never voted for him and never will.

    I hate his advertising of being a poor boy

  4. How could Nevadans be so stupid to vote this crook in time after time?
    Wake up Nevadans!!!

  5. This all occurred to me when I read that Rory wants to toughen up lobbying rules in Carson City – and then I recalled that Reid’s other son and son-in-law have worked for firms lobbying the Senate. I then I looked up Reid’s wealth and remembered his $1.1 million dollar windfall for the sale of land which he didn’t actually own…

  6. I’m not sure how he rich but probably from hard work. Thats how most people do it.

  7. Jose,

    Ok, so when and where did he engage in hard work in the private sector?

  8. In virtually every city in America there is a Booker T. Washington high school and a Martin Luther King Blvd. Two great Republicans! Why the disconnect between the GOP and the African American electorate?

    This can be reversed. The GOP only has to repent of it’s sins and atone for its transgressions. Political sins and transgressions against the constitution and the interests of the American people. What do I mean by this?

    I am a Lincoln Republican. What interests do I uphold and serve? The vast working class!

    To quote Mr. Lincoln. “Labor is prior to, and independent of Capital. Capital is only the fruit of Labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not existed. Labor is the superior of Capital, and deserves higher consideration”

    We hear of Rockefeller Republicans and Regan Republicans , both of which political strains take the GOP away from its true heritage. Lincoln then, Lincoln now and Lincoln until the cows come home!

  9. Right now, as a government employee, he is currently making $193,400.00 per year. He has been in public service for all but two of the past 43 years. It is very easy to see how he could have saved or invested enough going into the Clinton boom years that he could have easily have come out this wealthy, or better. Check out this calculator. Consider the stock market’s average return at 10% for 43 years and see how easy it is to get to these figures:

    I would, of course, love to see the details for year to year if anyone has them. For some reason I couldn’t pull up the pdf docs on ( prior to 2004 (it goes back to 1995). But according to that chart, since 2004 he has been doing as well as the rest of the senate, except for 2007 when he seems to have done worse than average.

  10. Harry? Aren’t you calling the kettle black when you blame the rich for our nations problems? From our Founding Fathers’ to the present, people have worked smart and consistently to build their American Dreams. Thousands and thousands and millions, have accomplished their positive goals through the private sector, while others’ have saved and invested well without the benefit of inside information. Now, please quit trying to blame us for wanting to experience life legally and to the fullest. And Harry, I’m curious. So where and how did you earn your millions?

  11. William Bunnagar

    When are we going to learn that what motivates a politician to run for office is NOT service to the public but GREED? They have NO opinion on a subject until their Public Relations people tell them what opinion to have. Their sole objective is fattening their wallets and, lacking a proper set of morals, don’t care how they do it. We have only two REAL problems(1)organized crime(2)The political Sociopaths who have developed a political structure that feeds on the general public and sows the seeds of ignorance.

  12. I agree. Harry has soaked Nevadans long enough. How our state keeps sending him back to Washington is beyond me. It’s time for a change for Nevada.

  13. Dear Harry, you cannot take credit for Neva or Vegas becoming the entertainment capital of the world, much as you might like to. Vegas grew on it’s own glitz and glamor which had little to do with sir Harry. It grew in exponential leaps and bounds when times were good and it declined just as quickly when time went bad. If you are going to take credi for it’s growth then you must share equally in it’s demise.
    Unemployment through the roof, mortgage defaults skyrocketing, you can’t have it both ways. I submit you had little to do with the success of Nevada or Vegas. I further submit you are the weasel you look like. Nevada will be better off without people like sir Harry Reid.

  14. “Cory Farley says:
    August 31, 2010 at 2:20 pmI agree. Harry has soaked Nevadans long enough. How our state keeps sending him back to Washington is beyond me. It’s time for a change for Nevada.”

    Sir Harry has a political machine backed by those who stand to gain most by his elections. If the rank and file had any idea about him (or cared) he would have been out on his a$$ many moons ago. Most people don’t have the time nor the inclination to look into the background of candidates and therefore are snowed by what they read in the papers which is what the backers want them to read.

  15. I love how the story assume that Mr. Reid has earned no interest on his money for the past 43 years. Yes, if he saved $107,000.00 for 43 years he would have $4,601,000.00. However most people earn interest on their money. compounding interest on that money for 43 years should leave him with a small fortune.

    If Mr. Reid saved $40,000.00 his first year, and added $10,000.00 a year and earned 7% interest a year for 43 years that would give him $3,384,982.70.

  16. Colin:

    I love how Colin forgot about inflation when he wrote, “If Mr. Reid saved $40,000.00 his first year, and added $10,000.00 a year and earned 7% interest a year for 43 years that would give him $3,384,982.70.” According to the inflation calculator at, $40,000 43 years ago is equivalent to $260,000 today. Well, 43 years ago Poor Harry was in the state assembly. He could not have saved $40,000 in one year in that job 43 years ago. Thank you!

  17. I think that Harry Reid inherited a fortune from his rich uncle…
    Uncle Sam!

  18. Then why did he not explain this in greater detail at the debate, Colin? His answer leads one to believe that he made most of his wealth prior to his entry in to the public sector. If he’s a disciplined investor, then I applaud him; but he could elaborate on his answer, as we are paying his salary.

  19. has anyone updated Reid’s net worth, I thought he routed a lot of money thru his sons in washington. They are all paid lobbyists, a nice way to get get an appointment to daddy.

  20. Tea Party Tards: Harry Reid had no time in his life to be a successful lawyer he’s been in goverment since 1966….So where is the time to be a Private sector lawyer

  21. Check the Arizona papers. There were questions about real estate deals where Reid bought land in AZ that had the zoning favorably changed and a couple of guys from AZ bought land in NV that had the zoning favorably changed. It was all over the AZ papers but didn’t get much coverage in the NV media.

    Of course, while you’re at it, you should look at exactly who’s funding the companies that are funding Angle. More specifically, why they try so hard to hide.

    If you can’t legally vote in an election, you shouldn’t be able to donate to either candidate or run ads. Seriously, it’s just disgusting. Any government employee convicted of accepting outside money should lose their citizenship.

  22. You must be smoking crack if you think Reid would invest 80% of his yearly salary.

  23. you dont work as a fulltime legislator in the state assembly. you dont have any allegations of illgotten gains. writing a column based on insinuation is ridiculous.

  24. Are these people above the law?Why can’t he and others be investigated? This is vile and corrupt.Why should we the taxpayers allow this?This obviously deserves the right to a total and complete investigation as to where this money came from? He works for us! And look where we are. Lets call for a total investigation and disclosure-I think it would be good at this time-wouldn’t it!

  25. In the debate, Senator Harry Reid said that he made money from practicing law and investing. I am sure he made money from investing but I wonder about how much money he made from law.

    In his book, “The Good Fight,” he devotes a whole chapter to his law practice and he and his co-author only cover one case. It was only a few years in the 1960s. Soon his father law pulls strings to have him appointed city attorney of Henderson. Shortly after that he is elected to the legislature and he never sets foot in the private sector again.

  26. I think the article is a tad disingenuous. While I agree that Harry Reid probably made more money than he cares to admit in investments that would probably be questionable at best and maybe a clear conflict of interest in some cases, the truth is that Harry could probably make more money as a lobbyist than Congress pays him, or than he makes investing. Many fortune 500s hire ex-Senators with very high salaries and generous bonuses as “Government Policy Officers” or “Government Affairs Liaisons”. While I won’t disagree that prestige and power are probably prime motivators, lets not pretend he wouldn’t be even BETTER off going into private sector. His contacts alone are worth millions a year to the right people, and he’ll have lavishly paid speaking gigs until he’s older and grayer.

  27. Officially, Harry Reid’s net worth is between 2.5 and 3 million dollars. I’ll just say, both of my parents were school teachers. My father died in 2002, but my mother’s net worth is now around 3 million dollars. People who save money and invest wisely could easily become millionaires, at least prior to the Bush economic collapse.

  28. I heard from a “reliable source” that he is worth 20-22 million.

  29. I forgot to mention that the “Bush economic collapse” started because of the liberal democrat congress elected in the fall of 2006. and the “Clinton economic boom years” started with the conservatives being elected in the fall of 1994. Great wealth is made by all who are willing to work during conservative policy-making and conservative legislation.

  30. If someone with a $170,000 thousand salary invested wisely for a period of 40 years they could easily make a couple millions. By the way people were talking about him i though he was richer.

  31. Anyone who has had a salary as large as Harry Reid’s for the number of years he’s had it can be expected to be as well off as he is now–unless said person is clueless about money management. If one is personally clueless, all one needs is a competent financial advisor.

    Republicans seem to hate no one more than a financially successful democrat. Apparently they consider them to be class-traitor, or something.

  32. If Mr. Reid invested $2000 per month, $24,000 per year, with 6.5% return, after 43 years he would be worth $5,600,000.

    Most of the commenters have zero basic math skills.

  33. Given his pay when he started as Henderson city attorney and that he has drawn an ever increasing pay check steadily for over 40 years starting in 1966 the better question might be why he doesn’t have more wealth. I think the guy should be voted out but not because he got rich but because he was there when Bush and Cheney worked relentlessy to destroy and divide the country and Reid did little to slow them down. All those in office when the bank/housing disaster happened should be voted out regardless of party most importantly leaders in both parties including spray tan John of Ohio

  34. The L.A. Times connected the dots on Harry’s fortune a few years back. Definitely worth the read.

  35. Right-wingers are so retarded. I’d take a wealthy Democrat as my representative any day over a Republican, especially one who understands that the Bush-era tax cuts for the filthy rich are vile and should be repealed. Noonan worries more about how a Democrat earned his money rather than worry about a system of taxation that allows the rich not to feel the pinch most Americans feel everyday. Our budget woes would be solved simply by taxing much more those who can most afford it.

  36. Mark noonan’s an idiot.

    Go move to Cuba if you don’t like people getting rich.

    Our budget woes are caused by stupid projects , the wars and excessive Medicare,medicaid costs.

  37. Wow, if this author cannot FATHOM how someone could save millions over 43 years, making that kind of money, well he is either corrupt (because he does understand), or a fool. One or the other.

  38. Harry Reid is 70 yrs. old, They can tell us when we should retire so I thinki there should be a certain age for them to retire.

  39. Harry reid drinks in my bar. what a great guy he is. Why should he retire?

  40. I see nothing here about how Reid made his money.. no facts, not even any speculation. Just a “sense” that he couldn’t possibly have amassed a 4 million dollar fortune making a salary in the mid to upper 100’s for decades. I don’t know about Harry Reid, but I do know that people now in their 70’s and 80’s people who have worked steadily since the 50’s or 60’s, could, if they were careful, wind up with a nice chunk of change. My parents left an estate of almost 2 million, and that was after expensive end-of-life care involving private nursing facilities and private in-home nursing care. My dad never made more than $33,000, and that was only during the last 5 or so years of his working life. I don’t think that my mom ever made more than $20,000. They each lived about 20 years past their retirements. As Reid lived in Nevada during a time when real estate was wildly appreciating, I would not say that he amassed his fortunate in unsavory ways without some kind of proof. It is possible for someone of his generation, someone who has worked steadily with a salary of over a hundred thousand, to amass several million dollars in assets.

  41. Harry Reid is a person of interest. He is like the native american’s used to say “speaks with forked tongue”. Harry Reid along with all those currently in office are so out of touch with the average american family.

    Greed has taken over Washington D.C. I think we need to have every Senator, Congress Person and President wear an approved zip suit with all their sponsors on it like a NACAR Driver

  42. First – HR probably has a lot more wealth than reported.
    Second – HR probably made $ from his political connections
    Voters should demand answers to eliminate the “probables”.

    Finally, HR is a snake.

  43. why dosn’t some one find out how he got rich?

  44. Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. It is a filthy currency tarnished by greed and corruption that will no longer purchase honest representation for the American voter and taxpayer.

    These men and women band together in gangs they call political parties in order to conspire together to scam, defraud, and extort money from the American voter and taxpayer.

    Democrats and Republicans conspire to amass great personal fortunes during their time in Washington while running our country into the ground.

    Every election cycle we have to choose between the lying, thieving, whore mongering Democrat or the lying, thieving, whore mongering Republican.

    After every election the headlines scream “REPUBLICANS WIN!” or they scream “DEMOCRATS WIN!”. But they never, never, never scream “AMERICANS WIN!”. Why is that? It is because when Democrats and Republicans win Americans get screwed.

    The only way Americans are ever going to have an honest government is to quit electing Democrats and Republicans.

  45. I am an rep, but you forget, that when invested money can earn money. Correct, if one were to have 4.6M, it would take put over an 100K per year, if you put that money under the bed. But if invested for 40 years, earning 8 percent in the market, to grow 4.6M, it would of only taken 17,500 per year. Where ever wrote this is pretty dumb.

  46. This author is ignorant of most facts as points out by the postings. Anyone who agrees just has the same Agenda… Hate dems!
    Too bad they are such babies.

  47. “43 years saving $107K a year …” Guess you’ve never heard of “interest” or “investment.” $100K left in the bank at 5% for 43 years is worth over $800K. No wonder conservatives tank the economy every time they have control of it.

  48. I would say he gets his money the same way he gets all his votes!!

  49. Is Mark Noonan really as stupid as this article makes him appear? Has he really never heard of “dividends”? If Reid had invested $5000 in the stock market each year, with the long-term average return of 11 percent he would have accumulated around $4.4 million.

  50. Reid and Pelosi are the two of the biggest crooks to ever hold high office. They both enrich their families and cronies with sweetheart deals at the expense of the taxpayer. Pelosi’s husband is Lennar Homes and she is going to sell Treasure Island in the middle of SF bay to a bunch of developers including her husband and son at the rock bottom price of 100 million when it is conservatively been appraised at 1 BILLION! REID has done the same type of thing all over Nevada for his son and cronies. No doubt they both have offshore accounts with their share of the profits.

  51. Is everybody missing the fact that at 193k year that goof ball is grossly over paid. That idiot knew he didn’t have the skill set to compete in the private sector, that’s why he got into “public service”. Public service my butt. He has been served BY the public. I have no problem with rich people other than the ones who got that way drawing a govt check they did little to earn.

  52. I\’m seeing a lot of accusation and innuendo in this article, but not a whole lot of facts. $4.5M net worth isn\’t even a little bit surprising for a man who has earned $125-$190K every one of his 26 years in the Senate. It could be done by simply being frugal (which, to be racist, most Mormons are) and by taking advantage of the same investment opportunities that are available to anyone.

    It\’s not like as though has $102M in an IRA that you\’re only allowed to put a few thousand dollars a year into (like some OTHER Mormon politicians I can think of).

  53. $4.5 million for someone in the workforce for over 40 years making six figures isn’t that out of line. Keep in mind he also gets the benefit of single payer health care that he tried to, at least at some point, get for all of us. But nooo.

  54. The most important thing I learned in poly sci is that America only has 1 party so quit the partisan complaints. You sound dumb. If you want to challenge that statement see single member districts and the 1st past the post model of elections. Now as far as Reid goes, insider trading is legal in Congress. It shouldn’t be hard to bet on a winner when you know which bills will pass and which will not. These guys literally are buying stocks the day before they vote.

  55. I was having this exact same conversation with my father today. I’m glad others aren’t oblivious to this lol.

  56. Journalist /= math major. Or finance for that matter. Yes it would be 100K+ a year to make over 4 million in 43 years……..IF you didn’t earn interest. Or invest and get back profit. Or have a spouse who also earned an income….

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a Libertarian and want him out as bad as anybody, but inaccurate reporting isn’t the way to do it.

  57. Reid should be investigated for misconduct and fraud as he has not done a thing as a majority leader except block everything the congress as tried to do ……over forty bills passed in the house of representatives and none brought to a vote on the senate
    .he is a fraud bring him to trial!!!!

  58. Career 74 yr.old politician embedded in politics since 66′ How can he be in “touch” with todays society ? He is there for his benefit in the end . He may
    have done good for some .But he appears to be a power-hungry self absorbed bully like the “CIC” . But how do you get term limits when it’s their jobs that would be comprimised

  59. I’m loath to defend Reid, but saving money in shoeboxes isn’t his only option. He make investments to multiply his wealth. If he’s ethical (debatable I know), he can use blind trusts to do it.

    Even saps like me can be millionaires on much less than half his salary by sensible investing.

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