Harry Reid’s new chief of staff is his top career individual donor

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Fresh off his unanimous re-election by Senate Democrats to be Majority Leader for the 112th Congress, Nevada’s Harry Reid has promoted aide and long-time financial supporter David B. Krone to be his new chief of staff. As we reported in June in our Who Bankrolls Congress investigation, Krone held the distinction of being the single most generous individual career donor to Reid’s campaign committees and leadership PAC, with at least $35,000 in personal contributions.

Krone joined Comcast Corp. as senior vice president of corporate affairs in 2007 after serving as executive vice president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the principal trade association of the cable industry, for five years. Krone lobbied on a number of bills for the industry, including a 2001 broadband access measure, which Reid cosponsored. In 2001, while working for lobbying firm Ryan, Phillips, Utrecht & MacKinnon, Krone was listed as a lobbyist for Duke Energy Corp. on two bills that Reid sponsored. One was an energy appropriations measure, which included an earmark for a geothermal energy project at the University of Nevada-Reno, and the other bill sought to establish a national commission on energy and climate change. Neither bill came to a vote. Through a spokesman, Krone denied ever lobbying for Duke Energy, but confirmed that he had lobbied on telecom issues while at the firm.

In December 2008, Krone gave up a private sector job that paid him upwards of $5 million in salary, severance, and living reimbursements for that year for a job with Reid paying $165,000 per year. Krone, whose original title had been “senior adviser,” is currently Reid’s deputy chief of staff. This promotion may garner him a bump in salary, but he will be unlikely to make up much of the gap with the private sector; Reid’s last chief of staff earned just over $170,000 annually.

Krone’s former employer, Comcast, is currently in the midst in a controversial proposed merger with NBC Universal. The potential union of these two media giants has drawn criticism from lawmakers concerned with media consolidation.

In a press release, Reid said. “David has been a friend for many years, and for the last two years he has been an invaluable resource and trusted advisor.”

The majority leader added that “David’s experience in the private sector and commitment to public service will serve him well in this role as Chief of Staff. I am confident that he will be a tremendous leader for my office and a great resource for our caucus.”

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