History recounts tales of the powerful whose presumed character flaws and questionable behavior caused their fall from grace if they were proven guilty. 
In 1887, British historian Lord Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
Currently, two political scandals involve New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie and Nevada Democratic Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid. Both have important ties to gaming.
In early January, news broke that in September 2013, senior Christie aide Bridget Kelly and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive/Christie appointee David Wildstein orchestrated a four-day lane closure on the George Washington Bridge. The 14-lane, double-decker  span, connecting northern New Jersey and New York City, is the world’s busiest bridge. 
Their alleged motive? Political payback against local Democratic mayors for not supporting Christie’s reelection. Within 24 hours, Christie fired Kelly and faced the media. From the beginning, he has unequivocally denied any knowledge or involvement.
The subsequent local and national media’s frenzy sensationalized the story day after day. The New York Times and major new networks – particularly NBC News – were among the worst. I promised major updates only as they unfolded. Now, they have.
To date, the media has not uncovered a “smidgen of evidence” (borrowing President Obama’s phrase regarding the IRS’s ongoing investigations) against Christie himself. However, many immediately rejected a new report that exonerates him.
Paid for by New Jersey taxpayers like me, Christie’s chosen investigative law firm interviewed 70 witnesses and analyzed 250,000 documents, phone communications and emails. Veteran New York lead attorney and registered Democrat Randy Mastro, who had just met Christie, publicly cleared the Governor of all charges. Mastro’s firm has staked its professional reputation on the report’s accuracy and integrity.
Christie’s political and media critics call it invalid and fixed, claiming it omits public testimony from Kelly and Wildstein. Both have pleaded the Constitution’s “fifth” amendment, which allows them to avoid self-incrimination by remaining silent.  
Again on the offensive, Christie responded that as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey from 2002-2008, he interacted with all regional firms. Christie questioned why these top attorneys and former federal prosecutors would do “a slipshod job“ and jeopardize their own professional reputations.
Two separate investigations – New Jersey‘s Democratic legislature‘s and U.S. prosecutors‘ –  remain active.
Politics aside, this drama has emotionally impacted Christie, his wife and four children under 20, but this new report has also energized him. I hope he continues to advance his plans for upgrading Atlantic City‘s infrastructure and casino industry, improving its Internet gaming program and legalizing sports betting. 
Next is Senator Reid. The small-town country lawyer has spent almost his entire career in political roles. After chairing the Nevada Gaming Commission from 1977-1981,  Reid left for Washington in 1982. 
Reid developed the reputation of often measuring and commenting on issues through a political lens. Reid has frequently accused opponents – without evidence – and later denied the comments. Unfortunately for him, video tape tells a different story.
Last month, Las Vegas reporter/G2E Moderator Jon Ralston and others revealed Reid’s potentially illegal campaign payments to his granddaughter Ryan Elisabeth Reid. She was paid $31,000 to make holiday gift jewelry for supporters, but official records had omitted her last name. 
Reid personally repaid the money, dismissing the issue and demanding the media stop “harassing“ her with questions. Should they keep digging? 
A second story names Caesars Entertainment as one of two Reid corporate contributors with charitable foundations that have donated to Ryan‘s fledgling theater group. At only 23, her talents seem to have inspired great opportunity and assistance.
The report states that these two foundations usually prohibit financial aid to organizations not within their company’s realm of business. At press time, neither company offered comment. 
The Federal Election Commission could further investigate the elder Reid. Should they? How far should these probes go?
Coincidentally, Ryan’s father Rory Reid, former Clark County Commission chairman and local television host, has also faced accusations. He paid a $25,000 penalty in June 2011, settling charges of bypassing political donation limits by funneling over $900,000 to his failed 2010 gubernatorial campaign through 90 shell organizations.
These are the facts so far. You decide as to the innocence or guilt of each, of both, or of neither. I know what I think.