MAY 30, 2006
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has had a blast lately criticizing Republican ethics, but it turns out that the Senate minority leader has also been busy violating the rules. Reid quietly accepted very expensive ringside boxing tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission while that state agency was trying to influence him on the sport’s federal regulation.
The good senator accepted the tickets to three professional boxing matches between 2003 and 2005 as he pressed legislation to increase federal oversight of boxing, including the creation of a government commission. The Nevada senator said that by attending the boxing matches he was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry. In other words, he was just doing his job.
Actually, Senate ethics rules generally allow lawmakers to accept gifts from federal, state or local governments, but specifically warn against them when they might be connected to efforts to influence official actions. The tickets were worth thousands of dollars and were clearly intended to influence the senator, even though he claims it simply facilitated his job.
Reid also has a few other skeletons in his closet related to the Jack Abramoff scandal. In 2003 Reid had separate meetings in his Senate offices with two tribal clients of the disgraced lobbyist and the senator wrote at least four favorable letters to Abramoff’s tribal clients after collecting donations from them. Unlike many other lawmakers who returned tainted Abramoff money, Reid has kept it all.
Yet despite all of his own questionable ethics, Reid has received the most media attention for his ongoing criticism of Republican ethics and lately for labeling as “racist” a Senate bill making English the national language of the American people. Dennis Prager said Reid is an example of the thoughtless world of contemporary liberalism and listed seven terms liberals like Reid apply to virtually every idea or action with which they differ. Among them is racist, sexist, bigoted and imperialist.
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