Look, I have no doubt that Ryan Elisabeth’s Etsy shop and skinny-jeaned urban storytelling troupe are just fantastic. But this is getting suspicious:
The five-term senator’s ability to help his relatives may extend well beyond $17,000 for jewelry.
His granddaughter has also received financial support for her fledgling New York theater company from two Nevada-based foundations that typically prohibit donations to organizations outside of their service areas. The foundations belong to gaming and energy companies that have also donated to the lawmaker.
Ryan Elisabeth, in her early 20s and a recent college graduate, describes herself as a “performing arts professional.” In addition to her jewelry company — which is not mentioned on her LinkedIn profile — she also works as an assistant at the Tim Bavington Studio in Las Vegas and as artistic director at Sprat Theatre Company in Brooklyn, N.Y. Donations to the latter organization, which she founded, may raise some eyebrows.
Now, we have Nevada-based foundations who don’t usually operate outside Nevada giving young Ryan money for her performing arts profession, as she is only apparently a part-time jewelry maker whose work happens to be worth $17K:
According to the Brooklyn Arts Council, Sprat “is supported by funds from Clinton Global Initiative, Caesars Foundation, NV Energy Foundation, and individual donors.” (The Sprat website also lists these contributors, along with others.)
The Caesars Foundation is the philanthropic wing of Caesars Entertainment, a Las Vegas-based gaming corporation that owns and operates dozens of casinos. Sen. Reid has received funds from the corporation in the past.
The Caesars Foundation Facebook page indicates that it “funds programs and projects of $10,000 or more,” and requires beneficiaries to “illustrate strong leadership that will significantly strengthen communities in which Caesars operates.”
The NV Energy Foundation, also a philanthropic wing of a larger corporation, donates to a variety of causes — from artistic endeavors to educational institutions. However, its funding guidelines stipulate that recipient nonprofit organizations must be located within the NV Energy’s service area. New York is not part of that area.
I can’t imagine how these connections were made. A nice gig for a 20-something in Obama’s crushingly bad economy for recent grads, if your grandpa’s a senator.
But don’t you dare ask him any questions about it.