Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Reid This…

The pseudo-scandal the right is trying to make out of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) supposed corruption at having accepted “free tickets” to a boxing match just got another body blow.

The righties have been claiming that Sen. Reid should have paid for his “tickets” and that by accepting them, he was guilty of being bribed by the Nevada boxing commission. It turns out, however, that it would have been illegal for him to pay for the tickets. Paul Kiel at TPMmuckraker explains it all for you.

OK, so we’ve nailed this down. It would have been against state law for Harry Reid to have reimbursed the Nevada Athletic Commission for credentials.

Clearly, this is pretty far down in the weeds. But the AP actually got a pretty significant fact wrong. So let me run through the details.

Bob Arum, the boxing promoter who gave the credentials to Reid and Sen. John McCain, made that claim to The Las Vegas Review Journal. But I wanted to check up on that, so I called Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada Athletic Commission. Kizer should know – he is a lawyer and former Chief Deputy Attorney General for the state of Nevada.

“It would be illegal,” Kizer said, explaining that it fell under a state law prohibiting agencies or individuals for charging access to government property. The credentials provide access to the commission’s area near the ring. “It would be like charging someone for access to a senator’s office,” Kizer added with no apparent sense of irony.

He went on to explain that credentials are given out to governmental officials and others in order to observe the commission’s activity. Sometimes the credentials are provided in addition to tickets – sometimes officials sit in the commission’s area.

Reid’s office, meanwhile, confirmed that Reid received a credential, and not a ticket to the bout: “We know it for a fact that he had a credential.”

I have written to the AP asking whether they planned on issuing a correction and was promised a reply “this afternoon.” In his piece, John Solomon referred to Reid having received (reimbursable) “tickets” to the fight.

And here is the latest from the right-wing backtracking and apologizing to Sen. Reid for their attacks:

[crickets]

Thought so.