New York Times reporter Philip Shenon covers the possible financial scandal involving House Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid…very carefully. For one, "Senator Offers to Amend Financial Forms" is the most benign headline imaginable -- as if Reid is doing everyone a favor by offering to follow the law.
Contrast that with the negative headline over the Times' AP story about Republican Sen. George Allen from Monday, which has no problem focusing the blame: "Virginia Senator Did Not Disclose Stock Options."
Shenon conveniently catches Reid already claiming to be dealing with the matter:
"The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said his office contacted the Senate ethics committee on Wednesday and offered to correct his financial disclosure statements if they misrepresented his ties to a land deal in his home state in which his family made a profit of about $700,000.
"In a statement, Mr. Reid did not acknowledge errors in the disclosure forms but said he was ready to make a 'technical correction' if the ethics committee determined that adjustments were needed.
"The contact with the committee was prompted by an article released Wednesday by The Associated Press that suggested Mr. Reid might have violated Congressional ethics rules by failing to disclose financial transactions involving two adjoining land parcels on the outskirts of Las Vegas that he and his family bought in 1998 for about $400,000."
Shenon resolutely skips over the interesting parts of the Reid story, including his hanging up on an AP reporter questioning him about the deal.
The lead from AP's John Solomon and Kathleen Hennessey, who broke the story, is a bit punchier:
"Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
"In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews."
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