Sanity in the World?

Into all lives, a little Sanity must fall.

My Photo
Location: Michigan, United States

See post here: About Me

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Harry Reid Busts a New Move - The Backpedal

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid:

Reid took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 as he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission that Nevada’s agency feared might usurp its authority.

He defended the gifts, saying that they would never influence his position on the bill and he was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry.


You should not be accepting any 'gift' from any organtization that you will be voting or passing legislation on. While it may not be illegal, it does not pass the ethics smell test, and gives the appearance of corruption - even if you do not vote favorably to those that gave the gift, there is still the appearance of improprietary.

Reid told Las Vegas reporters on Tuesday he would continue to accept such tickets and did not believe he did anything wrong even though fellow Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who joined him for one of the fights, decided to reimburse $1,400 for his seat.

Reid said he believed it was appropriate to accept the free tickets because the gifts were from his home state and that McCain, R-Ariz., had to reimburse because he was from out of state.

I have never heard of such a thing of in-state and out-of-state gift acceptance and reimbursement. Is this something new, or a clever diversion?

Several ethics experts disagreed, criticizing Reid's rationale that he felt obligated to take the tickets to ensure boxing was being conducted properly in his home state.

"He is no more obligated to go to boxing matches than he is to a Celine Dion concert in Vegas," said Melanie Sloan, a former Justice Department prosecutor and head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

They are right, he is not obligated to take the gifts.
If this was an investigative, or fact finding for information, then he could have used his own or federal funds as long as he could prove what he was trying to do.

Taking such gifts when he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission, gives the impression that he is being bribed for a favorable vote - even if he did not vote that way, it still gives that impression.

Reversing course, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's office acknowledged Wednesday night he misstated the ethics rules governing his acceptance of free boxing tickets and has decided to avoid taking such gifts in the future.


If Reid does not think he did anything wrong, why is he not standing his ground?

Why is he reversing now? Does he now think what he did is wrong or unethical?

If he does not think that way, then why is he backtracking?

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid Committee Memberships:

108th Congress
* Committee on Appropriations
* Committee on Environment and Public Works
* Special Committee on Aging
* Select Committee on Ethics
* Committee on Indian Affairs

109th Congress
* Committee on Appropriations

So he is on the Committee on Ethics and did not realize this was unethical?

Does any of the 'gift-takers' in Congress and the Senate ever look at the rules and conditions of which they can accept gifts before doing so, or do they just accept gifts no matter what, like it is Christmas and they are the only one that has been good in the world?

Others blogging this issue:
Leaning Straight Up, Texas Rainmaker