October 26th, 2010
08:48 AM ET
12 years ago

Reid staffer gone amid fake marriage revelation

(CNN) – A onetime staffer for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid no longer works for the senior a Democrat amid reports the staffer orchestrated a sham marriage in order to provide a Lebanese man with American citizenship, a spokesman for Reid said.

"Our office was not previously aware of these allegations and, following an internal investigation, the staffer at issue is no longer with our office," Jim Manley, Reid's communications director, said in a statement. "The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong."

Fox News reported Monday that Diana Tejada, Reid's press secretary for Hispanic media, accepted money for marrying a Lebanese man - Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini - who wanted to become a citizen of the United States. Tejada reportedly misrepresented the marriage to federal officials in 2003 but later admitted to its true nature in 2008.

The Fox report also said Tarhini pleaded guilty in 2009 to entering a fraudulent marriage to for the purpose of citizenship and was deported last March. Tejada did not face charges.

Tejada began working for Reid in 2008 and drew a yearly wage of nearly just over 50,000, according to disclosed congressional salary reports.

In his statement on the matter, Manley suggested the story is "a desperation measure by partisan republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of her campaign."

Reid is locked in a tight reelection race with Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and the issue of illegal immigration has been a prominent one throughout the course of the campaign.

- CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

Filed under: Harry Reid • Nevada
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. larry csehil

    Yea. The republicans planted that guy. They forged the legal documents ands paid off ICE and made the whole thing up.....give me a break. Dems are on the titanic

    October 26, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Marie MD

    tejada was not charged so faux news brought up this story because . . . . . . .? Does Reid have anything to do with this woman's marriage or why she married someone. Move on. angle's people are really digging deep in the scum barrel aren't they? She is still not fit to serve in the Senate making liunatic laws for Nevada the rest of us.
    Has faux news reported on the handcuffed reporter in AK or the woman who was beaten and held down with a foot to her face at a paul hee haw rally? This is why I don't believe in polls. The rethugs are running scare and coming up with inconsequential stories. Who cares?

    October 26, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. keepstufingthis

    Just an early out. Her job would be over in January anyway.

    October 26, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. Riely

    Say Good-Bye to Radical Reid. Voters of Nevada are about to kick hiim out of the senate. It's about time!!!

    October 26, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. Ali

    Other reports say that the woman only admitted the fraud in 2008 after Immigration authorities confronted her with evidence of it. She had made repeated lies to federal immigration authorities. Marriage fraud is punishable by prison and a fine of $250,000, even without considering the perjury.

    By the way, don't Congressional staff members have to have security clearances? Just how did she get one?

    October 26, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Rob

    Its Reid's JOB to background check his employees. He failed at his job, again.

    October 26, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. Mcyol

    Why don't you report that she still claimed to be working for Reid after Reid was allegedley notified? As recently as September 2010 she appeared on a tv program representing Reid.

    October 26, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. Augsbee

    So Reid is competing with Meg Whitman, of course, Reid's staffer won't be thrown in jail for pulling such an illegal stunt on our government because it's okay since she worked for Reid.

    October 26, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Sherri W.W.

    None of this stuff matters.Nevada~just be smart enough to keep Harry Reid and DONT let that Angle woman get in office,and it IS every states` business! I hate to say it because I usually think I keep up on things pretty well~but~it took me until this year,amazingly enough,to figure out that all these Congress people&Senators go to Washington and make laws for ALL states!~So we SURE dont want S.Angle,Joe Miller,O`Donnell,Buck,ANY of the extremes,making OUR decisions!And I read now that even Repubs are admitting THEY cant fix the economy for at least a couple /or three more yrs either!~and THAT I DID KNOW! Stick with our President~HE has it ON TRACK&under control,I promise you!Give him time to complete what he needs to do!

    October 26, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. Gabe Kaniger

    No surprise here. Reid tried to push the Dream Act now he's hiring Mexicans who don't adhere to any of our immigration laws. I'm not a Republican and I think Angle has a few screws loose but if Nevada puts him back in office then people can kiss their nation good bye. Reid could care less if Americans were displaced by millions of illegals as long as they vote for him it's ok.This speaks to his entire agenda and that is to legalize millions of illegals.

    October 26, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. usualone

    This really is a non-issue. Most people don't know the details of their staffers' lives. We were taught many moons ago that we should not discuss our personal life at work. Senator Reid most likely has a huge staff as do other members of Congress.

    October 26, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Angie in Denver

    This is a non-story! Folks please stop this madness. How about the economy?

    October 26, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Brian in MD

    MIssing from the story is that the husband was/is under investigation by the FBI joint terror task force and the FBI was involved, under testimony, in covering up whom the woman worked for (Reid). Now they are clamming up as to why she wasn't prosecuted in the face of overwhelming evidence against her of numerous violations of the law.

    October 26, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Dave in Houston

    Cant stand the man and his politics but whats it got to do with Reid?

    October 26, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. Cosmo

    Non-story. Move on to something relevant, like Sharon Angle's legislative record (or the lack of same).

    October 26, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. Joshua Ludd

    And yet all the sham marriages of actual (usually Republican) candidates who were trying to cover up the fact that they were gay get no real press coverage. But I guess when its Harry Reid CNN can afford to make their headline for the story imply that it was the candidate, not a staffer who was part of a sham marriage.

    October 26, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. Sniffit

    Non-story. Just more Faux drivel in an attempt to help get Angleocchio into office so Murdoch can pull her strings. Of course, now we get to listen to borderline schizophrenic extrapolations about what this might mean regarding Reid's stance on immigration. Dance puppets, dance...Murdoch's wearing all of you Teatards elbow deep.

    "Tejada did not face charges."

    Note: No charges means no conviction means no duty to report any of it to a potential employer and no right for that potential employer to even ask.

    October 26, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. ThinkAgain

    If Harry Reid himself had done this, that's one thing. It was his staffer, so this is a non-story in regard to this election.

    Not that it won't stop the loony Angle supporters from trying to make something out of it .... Like their candidate: Pathetic!

    October 26, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. HB

    Typical Liberal democratic hypocrisy. Harry Reid is traitor to the very foundations of this country. He willfully ignored federal law for his own personal and political benefit. I look forward to his loss next month. F U harry reid. YOu and pelosi and obama are all treasonous liar and frauds.

    October 26, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Dale

    Typical liberal politician mindset that the rules are for other people. If they can pocket a few bucks and don't think they'll get caught "bending" the rules, it's OK. Maybe that's how Reid got his money, fake marriages.

    October 26, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. Sgt. Joe

    Man, the GOP is desperately digging to find this level of minutia. Needless to say, the have all those corporate bucks to do whatever they please now. Is this suppose to make Angle look like a viable candidate? She's a lunatic and nothing any Reid staffer has done can change that, sorry.

    October 26, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Jack

    Is Fox trying to blame Reid for being a part of this? It's ridiculous. This happened severeal years ago and Reid had nothing to do with it. Just because this woman did something illegal how does that imipact Reid? It doesn't. He had no part in this. If you're a teacher and one of your studients goes out and robs someone are you responsible? Of course not. Talk about desperate and dredging for dirt...

    October 26, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Double standards

    Well, well, well. That's one way to reform immigration? How can you not know about your staffers? I can't believe that people desiring to serve as staffers to members of Congress are not thoroughly vetted, with extensive background checks, and references. If you don't know the people in your office, how can make decisions for an entire country.

    October 26, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. tetter

    I absolutely hate harry ried and everything he stands for ....but how is this his issue???? come on people, there are bigger issues with harry than this.

    October 26, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |