May 8, 2005
Reed's bad bet
Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff were genuine friends, not just political ones. They attended each other’s wedding and, in fact, it was Reed who introduced Abramoff to his eventual wife.
But as Reed, the Christian Coalition’s former director, makes the transition from advising election campaigns to running his own for lieutenant governor of Georgia, he is staying mum about the current state of the 25-year friendship.
Abramoff stands accused of pitting Indian tribes against each other and profiting from both sides of a casino battle. Meanwhile, Reed’s consulting firm, Century Strategies, waged a $4 million campaign on Abramoff’s behalf to rally Christian opposition to one Texas casino – work that Reed insists was perfectly legitimate on his part.
…While there’s little surprise the Tiguas hold Reed accountable for closing a casino that netted them as much as $60 million a year, another tribe that stood to gain from the Tiguas’ loss also wants answers from Reed.
The Elton, La.-based Coushattas say they paid several million dollars to Abramoff to try to close the rival Tigua casino, but were not told where the money was going – particularly that any of it was going to Reed… Not until the Senate Indian Affairs Committee launched an investigation of Abramoff did the Coushattas learn of Reed’s involvement.
…Although the election for Georgia’s lieutenant governor is 18 months away, the Abramoff situation is already providing fodder for Reed’s opponent in the Republican primary, state Sen. Casey Cagle. “No one takes a $4 million payoff and says, ‘I didn’t know where the money was coming from,’” Cagle said.
Reed, as ever, is undaunted: “My opponents are going to engage in personal attacks and I’m going to talk about a brighter future for Georgia.”
Hopefully without him.
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