AP story wrong -- Reid could not have paid for boxing tickets

News & Politics

Chalk up another one for the blog community and put another demerit on the tote board for the mainstream media.

Major kudos go to Paul Kiel at TPMmuckraker.com who discovered that the Associated Press (AP) took the story about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid allegedly doing something wrong by accepting free tickets to boxing matches and got it about as wrong as possible. The whole crux of the story -- that Reid had accepted tickets from people attempting to buy his influence -- had already been exploded by bloggers because, taken even at face value, it just made no sense. (Reid's every legislative action worked against the interests of those who got him into the fights.)

Now, Kiel has confirmed that it would actually have been illegal for Reid to pay for entry to the fights as his admission was not granted based on tickets, but by "credentials" that gained him admittance to a special, ringside area set aside for the Nevada Gaming Commissioner.

An excerpt from Paul's piece:

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.
Please go to TPMmuckraker for the rest.

Oh, and Paul, if you're joining the rest of us in Las Vegas next week for YearlyKos, I'll stand in line to buy you a drink.

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