Okay, this one is truly outrageous coming from anyone working for an "independent" news organization like AP. The Associated Press is a c3 non-profit - in my view, they are entering very interesting legal territory in terms of their non-political non-profit status.
AP's Solomon just published a story stating in the first sentence:
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.Any reader who speaks a lick of English is clearly going to understand Solomon's sentence as saying that Harry Reid claimed the Senate ethics rules said it was okay for him to accept the boxing tickets, and now Reid realizes the ethics rules say he cannot accept such tickets.
The problem? That's a flat out lie - Reid never said any such thing. Of course, in the way that only AP can do, they bury the "real" explanation of what they mean towards the end of the story so you'll walk away thinking something totally different than the truth.
Reid misstated the Senate ethics rules alright. He unintentionally painted the rules as MORE restrictive than they actually are. But you won't find that out until the end of the story.
In a nutshell, the ethics rules say a Senator can take something of value from a state agency (in this case, Reid accepted access to 3 boxing matches from a state of Nevada government agency - there weren't any "tickets"). Reid misspoke in saying that you had to be the Senator from the state in question to accept the "something of value." I.e., McCain of Arizona couldn't accept something from the state of Nevada, or so Reid thought. In fact, Reid today informs us that ANY Senator can accept something of value from ANY state's agency - i.e., it's okay for Arizona's John McCain to get boxing access from the state of the Nevada.
This isn't a small point. Harry Reid mistakenly claimed that the Senate ethics rules were MORE stringent in this area than they really are. And he wasn't refering to how the rules covered him - which is what AP claims - he was refering to how they covered John McCain. Harry Reid was absolutely correct in how he stated the Senate ethics rules' application to him, and he has not changed his position on that. The AP outright lied, or is one of the sloppiest publications on the planet, in their description of this issue in their lead (which is often the only thing people read).
To Reid's credit, he's said tonight that if it's going to create any appearance of impropriety, he'll pay for such boxing access in the future. And good for him. But for AP to paint this as though the Reid was wrong and the Senate ethics rules say he was wrong - and that's exactly what AP implies in its lead - is itself flat out wrong, and unethical, and frankly smacks of politics. And if the AP wants to have a partisan agenda, then they should change their tax status, or maybe someone should do it for them.
Here is the statement from Reid's office tonight about the issue:
"Senate ethics rules specifically permit any senator to accept something of valuefrom a state agency. Senator Reid misspoke when he said the rule applies only tosenators who represent the state agency. It was therefore entirely permissible forSenator Reid -- a Senator from Nevada -- to have attended a major Nevada sportingevent as a guest of Nevada officials. But in light of questions that have beenraised about the practice, Senator Reid will not accept these kinds of credentialsin the future in order to avoid even the faintest appearance of impropriety. Senator Reid will continue to fight for his federal boxing bill and otherlegislation that will benefit Nevada and the nation."