January 24, 2006
Reed vs. reality
Ralph experiments with truthiness:
Ralph Reed, former leader of the Christian Coalition and candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor, said Monday that he’s confident voters will reject accusations of ‘‘guilt by association’’ through his links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Reed has been under intense scrutiny since his longtime friend Abramoff admitted to conspiring to defraud his Indian tribe clients and pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges.
In an interview, Reed told The Associated Press that he was approached by Abramoff’s lobbying firm with the ‘‘understanding that none of the funds contributed to my efforts were derived from gambling activity.’’
Reed’s Georgia-based public relations and lobbying businesses received a reported $4.2 million from the lobbyist to mobilize Christian voters to fight the Indian casinos competing with Abramoff’s clients.
‘‘Had I known then what I know now, I would not have done that work,’’ Reed told AP. ‘‘On reflection, I should have turned it down.’’
Mr. Reed […] has maintained that though he knew funds for his anti-gambling work came from tribal sources, he believed what Mr. Abramoff’s firm told him: that the money came from the tribe’s “non-gambling funds.” (Anti-gambling leaders in Alabama, such as Dan Ireland of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, have called that distinction illegitimate.)
Mr. Abramoff first hired Mr. Reed, a prominent evangelical who once called gambling “a cancer,” to leverage his evangelical contacts to defeat pro-gambling legislation in Alabama in 1999. Mr. Abramoff hatched the campaign to protect the gaming interests of one of his clients, the Choctaw Tribe of Mississippi. While Mr. Reed worked to rally Christians for campaigns that benefited Mr. Abramoff’s clients, Mr. Abramoff’s partner, Michael Scanlon, wrote an e-mail to Kathryn Van Hoof, a former lawyer for the Coushatta Tribe, describing the plan to use Christians: “Simply put we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them. The wackos get their information [from] the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet, and telephone.”
To that end, Mr. Reed worked on at least three separate projects for Mr. Abramoff from 1999 to 2002. E-mails released by the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee suggest Mr. Reed worked with Mr. Abramoff to funnel tribal money through intermediary organizations to anti-gambling groups and to his own consulting firm, Century Strategies.
Mr. Reed has admitted funneling $1.15 million from the Choctaw Tribe to two anti-gambling groups in Alabama, including the Christian Coalition of Alabama (CCA), in 2000. In 2001, Mr. Abramoff hired Mr. Reed to rally evangelicals to oppose casino openings and pro-gambling legislation in Louisiana to protect the interests of the Coushatta Tribe. E-mails released by a Senate committee late last year show that Mr. Reed knew the Coushatta Tribe was Mr. Abramoff’s client. (In his plea agreement, Mr. Abramoff has admitted charging the Coushattas $30 million for his work, and pocketing nearly $11.5 million without the tribe’s knowledge.)
In fact the entire World article is surprisingly good.
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