Harry Reid Online Poker Bribery Allegations

As stated in an article here, the allegation is that Harry Reid accepted a bribe. Anyone who was around during Black Friday is probably familiar with the name Jeremy Johnson. He was doing payment processing and some pretty shady stuff back in the day. You can read all about it by checking out the article.

We’re not going to get into all the allegations here. Who knows if Harry Reid actually did accept a bribe or not. Chances are he probably didn’t, but it brings up a much bigger issue.

Read the full length post by Haley Hintze on FlushDraw here. Below is a section from that original article:

“…. Johnson’s secret taping of an hour-long meeting with Swallow in an Orem, UT donut shop eventually became public amid Johnson’s own legal battles with the government over the alleged fraudulent operation of his iWorks e-marketing empire. Several other co-defendants in that 2010 FTC-brought, $275-million trial have reached plea deals, but Johnson’s battle rages on, and is now scheduled for a trial in February of 2016 barring further delays.

Yet Johnson could well be described as the non-indicted 12th defendant in the April, 2011 Black Friday online-poker case as well. The reason Johnson wasn’t charged in that matter along with his SunFirst bank and other payment-processing co-conspirators is that Johnson (allegedly) freely commingled the funds from his poker processing funds and companies with those providing similar services with his iWorks empire. Since the FTC already had a case pending against Johnson and four other co-defendants, that part of it was partitioned off, with the FTC remaining in charge of prosecuting Johnson’s alleged misdeeds.

However, the allegations regarding Johnson either bribing or serving as a conduit for bribes to US Senator Reid remains one of the story’s major loose ends. Last March, FlushDraw detailed the two separate bribe allegations made by Johnson involving Harry Reid, which included a best-to-date translation of the related sections of the recorded conversation between Johnson and Swallow.

Johnson himself admitted coordinating one bribe directed to Reid whose purpose was for investigators to go easy on him and his associates in the iWorks case, though it’s an open question as to whether any of that documented and self-admitted bribe money actually made it to Reid or his associates.”

…. continues…

Johnson: I’ll tell you this. We had a meeting with Reid, where he said—this was a private meeting—it was Reid, it was me, it was, you remember John Pappas? Remember him? Poker Players Alliance guy?

Swallow: Oh, yeah.

Johnson: John Pappas [PPA Executive Director], and Ray Bitar, owner of Full Tilt Poker.

Swallow: Yeah.

Johnson: Owner of Full Tilt Poker. [] And Senator Reid—this was when it was a tight election with this lady down there, real tight…

Swallow: Yeah.

Johnson: Real tight.

Swallow: Yeah. Sharron Angle.

Johnson: And he said, “Look, I’ve polled my constituents and they don’t like online poker, bottom line. It’s bad for …”

Swallow: Yeah.

Johnson: “It’s bad for jobs here in Las Vegas. But I’m going to back what you guys are doing here, I’m going to introduce a bill for you.” And that was basically it, right? Well, I kid you not. A week later … oh, no, no. Right after that. So Reid leaves with his little entourage. Ray Bitar’s buddy that flew over here with him from Ireland, I said, “How in the hell did you guys get him to do that?” And he says, “Let’s just say he got a little something in his retirement fund.” And I was like, “Okay, that’s how it is.” Well, I’m not kidding you. A week later they have me, and they’re specific, “We want a bank check drawn on the bank’s general account.”

Swallow: Wow.

Johnson: For a million dollars to some company, some media thing or something. A cashier’s check. “This money had better not get traced back to our account under any circumstances.” So what do I do? Of course, go into the bank, tell them I need to pull this out of the bank’s general reserve which is held in their account. I don’t tell the bank what I’m doing. And I didn’t know what I was doing. I was like I don’t know, you know. I mean, I suspected obviously. So I, I believe … this is my belief. I believe Reid genuinely is on the take. I believe he’s getting money for deals all over hell because he’s got so damn much influence, and I believe they’re onto him. And I think in the grand scheme of things you’re a little nugget or a little piece in the puzzle, but…

Swallow: I hope so. I hope so. I hope I’m not the big fish or anything.

Johnson: I mean, that’s the only thing I can think. Why would [] Washington, DC have some person to investigate you. It seems to me like it would be an internal thing for the State of Utah to do it. If there was really some concern.

Swallow: Yeah. Well, I’ll check with Richard [Rawle] and see.”

The reason these things happen is because online poker isn’t regulated. If it were regulated, there wouldn’t be as much questionable stuff going on. Let’s be honest and say there’s a bit of dishonesty in every business. Gambling is no different and its just a simple part of life. The bigger picture is what we must keep our eyes on here. The fact is, this is what happens when there aren’t regulations in place.

At some point we need to legitimize online gambling and have restrictions. Regulations aren’t a bad thing and they keep both players and businesses safe. It’s something that both sides want and desperately need. Every poker player has the right to play on the internet wherever they choose.

This is exactly what happens when you have unregulated businesses without any oversight at all. Bad people come in and fill in the voids where they see fit. It ensures that corruption will not only exist, but thrive in the absence of authority. It opens the door for countless innocent people to get hurt. That’s what’s at stake here and it’s far more than just people gambling and losing their money. It’s only when elected officials and the public realize this, something will change.


Simply put, the government can no longer drag their feet regarding this issue. It must be addressed and people will continue to be hurt until it is. That’s the most important thing that anyone should take away from this. Online poker is here to stay and people are going to find a way to play. The question must be what will the government do to protect players?

Corporations that operate in the shadows do so for a reason. It should come as no surprise to anyone that those corporations may do bad things. Transparency is vital when it comes to the flow of money. The last thing anyone should want is large transactions of money to be done on the internet in an unregulated manner.

Beyond that, there is the concern of fairness in the games as well. Every player has the right to know if the poker room they play at is trustworthy or not. At this time no one has the ability to know if the site they’re playing at is honest and fair.

It’s time for all of this to change. It can only happen when like minded people get together and work towards a sustainable solution. It’ll otherwise be left to shady characters that more often than not, have their best interests in mind. This is what happens in an unregulated market and it’s exactly what everyone should expect. To expect anything else is foolish and borderlines on pure insanity.