The crux of Solomon's story was that Reid acted wrongly by accepting free boxing tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission. In particular, Solomon focused on a title bout in September 2004 that Reid and McCain both attended. "Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., insisted on paying $1,400 for the tickets he shared with Reid for a 2004 championship fight," Solomon wrote.
But it turns out that it would have been illegal for Reid to reimburse the commission for the seats. That's because these weren't actually tickets - they were credentials with no face value given to V.I.P.'s. And according to the boxing promoter who awarded those credentials to Reid, it is illegal for the commission to accept payment for them. Despite that, McCain insisted on paying, and so the commission simply gave his check (written for a seemingly arbitrary amount) to a charity since it couldn't accept it.
What's more, that same promoter says that in other cases where Reid and McCain received tickets that could be reimbursed, Reid paid. That's a key fact which, if true, was left out of Solomon's article.John Solomon's piece for AP is worse than a non-story. It's terrible journalism that some AP editor made worse by further winnowing exculpatory information from the story.