AP: Reid Acted Unethically By Not Breaking the Law

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One more detail that the AP’s John Solomon left out in his piece on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

The crux of Solomon’s story was that Reid acted wrongly by accepting free boxing tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission. In particular, Solomon focused on a title bout in September 2004 that Reid and McCain both attended. “Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., insisted on paying $1,400 for the tickets he shared with Reid for a 2004 championship fight,” Solomon wrote.

But it turns out that it would have been illegal for Reid to reimburse the commission for the seats. That’s because these weren’t actually tickets – they were credentials with no face value given to V.I.P.’s. And according to the boxing promoter who awarded those credentials to Reid, it is illegal for the commission to accept payment for them. Despite that, McCain insisted on paying, and so the commission simply gave his check (written for a seemingly arbitrary amount) to a charity since it couldn’t accept it.

What’s more, that same promoter says that in other cases where Reid and McCain received tickets that could be reimbursed, Reid paid. That’s a key fact which, if true, was left out of Solomon’s article.

This from today’s Las Vegas Review Journal, hardly a friendly paper to Reid:

[Marc Ratner, then executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission] said Tuesday the seats Reid and McCain got weren’t tickets available to the general public but “credentials” the commission gives only to public officials hoping to observe the commission’s activity.

Skip Avansino, current chairman of the athletic commission and a commission member since 2002, said Reid, McCain and the athletic commissioners sat on folding chairs in a small, cramped area, not in the posh ringside seats for which pricey tickets are sold….

Boxing promoter Bob Arum said Reid and McCain also sat in ticketed seating at about three matches each but paid for their tickets “invariably.” Arum said McCain and Reid’s seats at the Hopkins-de la Hoya fight, on the other hand, were credentials from the commission, not tickets from Arum. But McCain, who brought his wife to the fight, sent Arum a check for the price of two ringside seats.

Arum said he didn’t know what to do with the money.

“Those credentials cannot be sold,” he said. “There’s no price on them. (They are given to) governors, attorney generals, boxing commissioners of other states. … It’s illegal to accept money for a credential.”

Arum said he couldn’t accept McCain’s money but McCain wouldn’t take it back, so Arum donated it to Catholic Charities.