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Ralph Reed in GA? No way

Amazing. Ralph Reed, former Director of the (contra-)Christian Coalition, is still running for Lt. Governor of Georgia.

Before you even think about voting for him, consider this information from Think Progress:

TIGUA CASINO — CORNYN PART OF ABRAMOFF, REED, SCANLON SCHEME TO CLOSE TIGUA CASINO: Abramoff, Scanlon, and Reed (”an avowed foe of gambling”) secretly helped then Texas Attorney General Cornyn shut down the Tigua tribe’s Texas casino. They then exploited “the financial crisis they were helping to create for the tribe” by convincing the Tiguas to pay Abramoff $4.2 million (and $300,000 they doled out in political contributions to Abramoff allies) to get Congress to reopen the casino. (”In the end, Abramoff and Scanlon failed to get the casino reopened.”) “Former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed claimed in a 2001 e-mail to [Jack Abramoff] that he choreographed John Cornyn’s efforts as Texas attorney general to shut down an East Texas Indian tribe’s casino.” Reed, “an avowed foe of gambling,” was “paid $4.2 million by Abramoff and Scanlon for his work opposing several tribal casinos in southern states from 2001 to 2003, government sources said.” [Washington Post, 9/26/04; Associated Press, 11/12/05]

CHOCTAWS — REED ADVISED ABRAMOFF ON DISGUISING CLIENT MONEY: Shortly after the 1994 congressional elections, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians hired Abramoff to stop congressional legislation “calling for Indian casinos to be taxed in the same manner as Las Vegas gambling facilities.” Abramoff sought guidance from Reed “in disguising Indian tribal money sent to anti-gambling campaigns whose leaders were wary of accepting casino cash” by funneling it through Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. Abramoff earmarked $10,000 of the Choctaws’ money for Reed’s 2001 campaign for chairman of the Georgia Republican party, and other e-mail exchanges “indicate that Reed knew from the beginning of his professional association with Abramoff in 1999 that [the Chotaws’ gambling money] was bankrolling much of his anti-gambling activity in Alabama against a state-sponsored lottery and video poker.” [Washington Post, 11/8/04; Atlanta Journal Constitution, 6/23/05]

CHOCTAWS — REED PAID $4.2 MILLION TO HELP ABRAMOFF CLIENTS: Reed “was paid $4.2 million from 2001 to 2003 to mobilize Christians to oppose the plans of those threatening Abramoff’s Indian gaming clients [the Choctaws].” [Washington Post, 11/8/04]

TRIP (SCOTLAND, 2002) — SAFAVIAN, NEY, AND REED ACCEPTED ABRAMOFF TRIP TO SCOTLAND: “Travel was another major foundation [Capital Athletic Foundation] expense, totaling $240,416 in 2001 and 2002, records show. More than half of that was spent in August 2002 on the chartered jet that flew at least six people — including Abramoff, House Administration Committee Chairman Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), lobbyist and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, and then-General Services Administration chief of staff David Safavian — to St. Andrews, Scotland, with a stopover in London on the way back. … Noam Neusner, a spokesman for Safavian — who has been nominated for a senior position at the Office of Management and Budget — said the trip was ‘primarily for golfing.’” [Washington Post, 9/28/04]

Not enough? How about emails like this?

Reed to Abramoff in late 1998:

“I need to start humping in corporate accounts! . . . I’m counting on you to help me with some contacts.”

How about double-dipping from Bush and Microsoft? Sarah Kershaw, in the April 27, 2005 New York Times:

“Mr. Reed remained on the Microsoft payroll even after a controversy erupted in 2000 over his lobbying Gov. George W. Bush, who was then a candidate for president, on behalf of Microsoft during its antitrust battles, while also serving as an adviser to Mr. Bush’s campaign. Mr. Reed later apologized for creating the appearance of a conflict.”

Still not enough? How about Rove sponsorship at Enron, or “getting it done in the South” for the “elections” in 2000 and 2004?

Reed’s value to corporate America has been enhanced by his close ties to the Bush administration and especially to Karl Rove, the president’s chief political guru. Not long after Century Strategies started, Rove reportedly helped Reed land an Enron contract worth at least $300,000 to help build support for energy deregulation. Century Strategies did voter-mobilization work for the Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee in 2000; it has been retained again this year for similar projects. Reed has also been serving as Southeast regional coordinator for the Bush campaign, with responsibility for delivering Florida and four other Southern states.

No? How about the claim that he illegally lobbied Texas state officials?

Correspondence between Abramoff and Reed—the ex-Christian Coalition leader now running for lieutenant governor of Georgia—suggests that Reed lobbied Texas officials on behalf of Abramoff’s Indian gambling clients without registering as a Texas lobbyist. The $5 million in gambling money that Abramoff reportedly paid Reed for his services would make it one of the largest lobby contracts ever made public in Texas. … Additionally, the Observer has found evidence that Ralph Reed clandestinely lobbied Texas school officials on behalf of the in-school television network Channel One in 2002—when Channel One’s parent company was paying Abramoff a $320,000 annual retainer. Texas law generally requires people to register as lobbyists if they receive more than $500 a quarter to directly communicate with a state official on public policy.

As if Georgia politics weren’t skewed enough.

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