Calls for Reid to Explain Handling of Ex-Aide’s Sham Marriage

Posted on October 27, 2010



The Nevada Republican Party called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Tuesday to personally explain how somebody who confessed to a sham marriage with a Lebanese national later deported ended up on his staff –– and precisely when he found out about her past. 

The challenge came after reported Monday evening that Diana Tejada, the senator’s former Hispanic press secretary, had confessed to taking money for “some of her expenses” in exchange for fraudulently marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003 so he could obtain permanent U.S. residency. 

According to court documents, Tejada owned up to the deal in November 2008, just one month after she took the job in Reid’s office. But she continued working for Reid

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Monday that she was let go following an “internal investigation,” while maintaining that the office was not aware of the case sooner. 

But Nevada Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox urged Reid to come forward with more details. 

Senator Harry Reid, not his spokesman, needs to explain to Nevadans when he first found out someone on his staff cut a deal to marry a Lebanese national so he could fraudulently gain American citizenship, and when that staffer was dismissed from his office,” Wilcox said in a written statement. “With the election one week away, Nevadans deserve to know why members of Reid’s staff are deliberately trying to circumvent current immigration laws to help foreign nationals sneak into our country.” 

Reid’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday after the story attracted widespread attention. Manley said Tuesday that Reid’s Senate office also had “no comment” on the Nevada Republican Party’s statement. 

MORE…… By Judson Berger