Harry Reid has been a Washington political insider for close to 25 years.
You’d think that at some point during his quarter of a century in Congress, somewhere along the line, Mr. Reid would have learned at least a bare minimum of the ethics rules.
At the very least, you’d think Reid would’ve known that Senate ethics rules specifically warn against accepting gifts from individuals or groups trying to influence official action. You’d think Mr. Reid would recognize that $1400 dollar ringside seats to a boxing match, courtesy of the agency attempting to influence him on legislation, just might falls into this category.
To make matters worse, on Tuesday, the day after the AP reported that he accepted these $1400 seats (while Sen. McCain paid for his tickets in full) Mr. Reid—Senate Minority Leader, no less—told reporters he would continue to accept such tickets and did not believe he did anything wrong.
Reid’s reasoning? Well, he believed it was okay to accept the tickets because they were gifts from his home state of Nevada, and that John McCain had to pay for his because he was from Arizona. Huh?
First of all, Senate ethics rules by and large allow senators to take gifts from any state, not just their home state. And, as mentioned above, the rules specifically warn against accepting gifts if the giver may be trying to influence official action. So both of Reid’s points make absolutely no sense at all.
And, to top it off, as if Reid couldn’t dig a deeper hole for himself, he offered the lame rationale that he felt obligated to accept the tickets so he could ensure boxing was being conducted properly in Nevada.
What, is Harry Reid now moonlighting as Nevada’s boxing commissioner?
As a former Justice Department prosecutor put it, "He is no more obligated to go to boxing matches than he is to a Celine Dion concert in Vegas."
So, the fact that Reid has finally come clean on his original ethical lapse, and his subsequent tortured bungling of the ethics rules, really doesn’t mean much.
Reid is a day late and $1400 dollars short.
(Note: On second thought, after having said all that, if in fact Harry Reid does like boxing, this could be a very good thing. Maybe we have to rethink this. The anti-war Reid should apply his love for boxing to the noble American effort to fight (yes, that’s right fight) our enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and throughout the world.
In fact, the supreme boxer attempting to knock out their opponent right now is the United States military. So perhaps Mr. Reid can generalize from a hard-fought boxing match—unethical as his seats may be—to the need to fully back America’s armed forces as they fight our terrorist enemies around the world. It’s good to see liberals going to boxing matches…)