WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who has criticized Republican ethics, accepted free ringside tickets to three professional boxing matches from Nevada officials who were trying to influence his federal legislation regulating the sport.
Reid, D-Nev., took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 from the Nevada Athletic Commission as he pressed legislation to increase federal oversight of boxing, including the creation of a government commission.
Reid defended the gifts, saying they would never influence his position on the boxing bill and that he was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry. "Anyone from Nevada would say I'm glad he is there taking care of the state's No. 1 businesses," he told The Associated Press.
"I love the fights anyways, so it wasn't like being punished," added the senator, a former boxer and boxing judge.
Senate ethics rules generally allow lawmakers to accept gifts from federal, state or local governments, but specifically warn against taking such gifts particularly on multiple occasions when they might be connected to efforts to influence official actions.
"Senators and Senate staff should be wary of accepting any gift where it appears that the gift is motivated by a desire to reward, influence or elicit favorable official action," the Senate ethics manual states. It cites the 1990s example of an Oregon lawmaker who took gifts for personal use from a South Carolina state university and its president while that school was trying to influence his official actions.
"Repeatedly taking gifts which the Gifts Rule otherwise permits to be accepted may, nonetheless, reflect discredit upon the institution, and should be avoided," the manual says.
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So surprise, surprise Harry Reid one of the main componets in the Democrats push to label the Republicans the "culture of corruption" has been exposed and now has his foot in his mouth. I suppose this will be covered up or blamed on someone else. It seems to me that the Democrats have there hands full with William Jefferson and now Reid. The Senate leader who has thrashed this administration and it's policies will now hopefully have to face justice for his wrong doing. I am not biased when I state this, any politician who takes bribes of any sort should face that same justice. We have to holourselveslf to a higher standard, otherwise we become like the rest of the world. Do we really want to end up like France or Mexico, we must keep our country strong.