- - Monday, April 14, 2014

Over the weekend, authorities with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) surrendered: They canceled their cattle round-up at the Bundy Ranch in Clark County, Nev.

This retreat did not come as a measure of good will by the government. It came after hundreds, if not thousands, of armed Americans came to the aid of the Bundys.

Americans were outraged as they saw video of relatives of the Bundys being knocked to the ground or being Tasered by uniformed government agents. They were outraged as they saw federal agents attacking peaceful protesters, sometimes with dogs, and restricting the First Amendment rights of citizens to a small, penned-in area miles away from the Bundy Ranch.

Americans were appalled by the spectacle of federal agents, armed with military-grade firepower, attacking American citizens.

The BLM claimed it was moving in to protect an endangered desert tortoise. The government had killed thousands of them, claiming it could no longer afford to protect them just a couple of years ago. And despite more than 150 years of the Bundy family using those lands, the tortoises seem to be doing just fine with the cattle.

But as the story of the Bundy Ranch made it through the media in the last few days, disturbing questions began to be raised.

In 2011, attorney Rory Reid, son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, went to China and returned with a new client — ENN Energy.

ENN wanted to build a solar-powered energy plant in Clark County. Amazingly, Clark County commissioners voted to sell ENN a 9,000-acre tract for $4.5 million. The appraised value of the land was $38 million.

As the Bundy Ranch saga unfurled, a lot of questions began to be raised in the conservative blogosphere.

There were accusations that the Bundy Ranch and the area the Bundys use to graze their cattle are in an area called the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. If the cattle continued to use the area, it would be impossible to use the land for a solar energy installation.

The current head of the Bureau of Land Management is Neil Kornze, who was hand-picked by Harry Reid. Until 2011, Kornze was on Harry Reid’s Senate staff.

All of this raises a fascinating, if circumstantial, case. It is a case that merits investigation.

There are many questions that need to be asked. Such as, who ordered the initial raid? Why did Clark County sell land to ENN at far below its fair value? Who ordered the BLM show of force? Why did the BLM impose a no-fly zone over the Bundy Ranch so the media could not get video or photographs of what was going on?

Rep. Darryl Issa has shown no reluctance in investigating wrongdoing by the administration, and his staff should be working on subpoenas today. While the House of Representatives can’t compel Harry Reid to testify, it can bring in everyone from the BLM, and that is exactly what should be done.

And when the representatives from the BLM testify, the first question should be, “What did Harry Reid know and when did he know it?”