You’ve heard the story about the standoff (and subsequent stand down) between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and armed federal agents, and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

Even though Bundy’s family had used the land since the 1870s, the BLM “modified” and reduced the amount of land his family could use for his cattle to graze.  Bundy ignored the BLM’s ruling and continued to let his cattle graze as they had in years past.

The BLM claimed that Bundy owed them two decades worth of grazing fees.

In 2013, a Nevada district court judge permanently enjoined Bundy’s approximately 900 head of cattle from grazing on public property. This judge reiterated this decision later last year and authorized the US government to impound the cattle.

The official reason for the government’s interest in this land was to protect the desert tortoise, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act. However, Nevada state senator Peter Goicoechea said the state of Nevada recently imposed a regulation that imposed a one tortoise limit per person to “reduce the overbreeding and proliferation of unwanted pet desert tortoises.”

If the desert tortoise isn’t the reason, then who and what are the cause of this attempted land grab?

As usual, it comes down to politics and money…

File photo of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Reid pausing during his news conference in WashingtonThe man behind this controversy is none other than Nevada’s long-time senator himself, Harry Reid.

In September 2012, it was revealed that one of Reid’s sons Rory was the representative for a Chinese energy firm with plans to build a $5 billion solar farm on public land in Laughlin, Nevada. Senator Reid was also an advocate for the deal.

The public land that Cliven Bundy’s cattle have been grazing on was exactly where the Chinese company wanted to put new solar panels.

So why did the feds decide to stand down for now? Because 2014 is a mid-term election year.

Democrats didn’t want the bad PR that would come from a violent confrontation — similar to the Ruby Ridge and Branch Davidian incidents in the 1990s.

Senator Reid — and more than likely the Obama White House — read the political tea leaves and didn’t like what they saw, and decided to back off.

While it’s a victory for Cliven Bundy and private property rights, we probably haven’t seen the last of federal agents who want to take the Bundy’s cattle and land.