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Reid dodges questions on Goldman $$$

From NBC's Ken Strickland
After criticizing Republican leaders yesterday for having a secret, closed-door meeting with Wall Street executives, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today faced his own questions about a fundraiser he attended this year hosted by the president of Goldman Sachs.

Asked by reporters to confirm his attendance and how it played into the debate over financial regulatory reform, Reid didn't answer the question directly. Instead, he read from what appeared to be prepared remarks, touting his reform efforts.

"I'm leading the effort to rein in Wall Street," he said at his weekly on-camera news conference. "I'm going to make sure that in this legislation I do everything within my ability to make sure that banks aren't too big to fail."

Asked later by NBC News to confirm the fundraiser, Reid spokesman Jim Manley readily did so -- adding that everything was done in accordance with campaign finance rules. It raised $37,000, Manley said.

Yesterday, however, it was Reid and Manley who were on the attack, condemning Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and NRSC Chairman John Cornyn for meeting with Wall Street execs in New York City. In a written statement, Manley said the senators "should immediately reveal what they discussed earlier this month during secret, closed-door meeting with Wall Street executives in New York City."

When news of Reid's Goldman Sachs fundraiser was circulated yesterday, NRSC spokesman Brain Walsh said, "One can only presume that Sen. Reid will be return these donations immediately." Today, Manley said the majority leader plans to keep the money.