RENO, Nev. (KRNV, MyNews4.com & AP) — A federal judge sentenced ex-lobbyist and wealthy developer Harvey Whittemore to 24 months in prison for funneling illegal campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The range was between 41 and 51 months, but it was downgraded due to his community work. He will be fined $100,000 and will be supervised for two years after his prison sentence. Judge Hicks also ordered Whittemore to perform 100-hours of community service. Hicks added, that Whittemore keep a smile on his face while doing the community service.
Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks to sentence Harvey Whittemore to more than four years for his three felony convictions. Prosecutors said failure to put the wealthy developer behind bars would fuel the "growing public cynicism" that the political process is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful. Whittemore funneled more than $130,000 to Sen. Harry Reid's re-election campaign in 2007.
Whittemore's lawyers argued he deserved probation and community service partly because he would do Nevadans more good out of prison based on his long history of charitable giving. His sister, Ellen Whittemore, has requested to testify at the sentencing. She says the prosecution's claim her brother was "greedy for power" is absurd. She says her brother is an honest philanthropist who enjoyed his success because it allowed him to be more generous.