One of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bodyguards roughed up reporter and conservative gadfly Jason Mattera in an incident captured on video.
No stranger to political street theater, Mattera, currently the publisher of the Daily Surge, approached Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, to ask the senator how he got so rich on a government paycheck.
The impromptu interview didn't go so well.
Reid didn't respond, and Mattera -- who is either a very gutsy or an obnoxious attention-seeker depending upon your point of view or maybe a little of each -- probably erred by not identifying himself as reporter immediately.
The security officer initiating the physical confrontation admitted, however, that "I don't care if you're press or not." See the video embedded below.
The reporter and author also generated buzz and controversy this week when he confronted former IRS official Lois Lerner in an ambush interview outside her home and inquired whether she wanted to apologize for her role in the Tea Party targeting scandal. This incident prompted FNC Outnumbered co-host Bob Beckel to threaten on live TV to beat up Mattera.
In June, Jason Mattera trolled Hillary Clinton on a Washington, D.C., street corner by asking her to inscribe her book Hard Choices for "Christopher Stevens — I think you knew him." Stevens was the U.S. ambassador murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. Last year, he confronted actor Robert Redford about whether his failed movie The Company You Keep glamorized 1960s domestic terrorists. He also accosted then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on a public sidewalk and asked Bloomberg if he would disarm his security detail in the spirit of gun control. That encounter also resulted in some pushing and shoving from NYPD detectives.
According to OpenSecrets.org, as of 2012, Harry Reid's net worth is roughly in the $6 million range.
Reid would not of course be the first politician by any means to allegedly profit from his public office.
As far as Reid's wealthbuilding is concerned, however, a detailed Real Clear Politics report summarized that "How did Reid manage to grow his net worth so significantly while raising a large family, on a public official's salary, and incurring the expenses associated with maintaining two residences on opposite sides of the country? Reid has lived frugally... and he has made undeniably savvy investments. More significantly, however, is his willingness to enter political and ethical gray areas to make money. Reid has walked a fine line over the years, occasionally breaking rules or engaging in brazenly unseemly behavior during his pursuit of wealth. Further, he has also used his position to save money in ways that the general public can't -- a practice that creates public relations issues and raises questions about the senator's ethics."
According to the Washington Post, in one instance Sen. Reid earmarked $21.5 million "to build a bridge over the Colorado River, linking the gambling resort town of Laughlin, Nev., with Bullhead City, Ariz. Reid owns 160 acres of undeveloped land in Bullhead City."
Reid claims to be a foe of money in politics when it involves the Koch brothers and other wealthy donors who give to Republicans pursuant to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, but he nonetheless has raised lots of campaign cash through the Senate Majority Political Action Committee. "Thanks to huge donations from labor unions and wealthy liberals, [the SuperPAC] has spent more than $30 million and is credited with keeping Democrats competitive in states like Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina where they were forecast to trail," the AP reports.
Do you think Jason Mattera was out of line in questioning Sen. Harry Reid about his personal wealth?