Reed Email Trail

The AJC offers this perspective on the Reed-Abramoff connection that is decidedly less favorable than the WaPo story.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff sought guidance from political strategist Ralph Reed in disguising Indian tribal money sent to anti-gambling campaigns whose leaders were wary of accepting casino cash, according to documents released Wednesday.

The e-mail exchanges also indicate that Reed knew from the beginning of his professional association with Abramoff in 1999 that a Mississippi Indian tribe with casino interests was bankrolling much of his anti-gambling activity in Alabama against a state-sponsored lottery and video poker.

Even as religious conservatives denied an alliance with out-of-state gamblers, Reed — acting on behalf of gaming opponents — submitted campaign budgets through Abramoff to the Mississippi Band of Choctaws, according to the e-mails.

The cost of placing inserts in church bulletins and organizing a rally of pastors in Alabama, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV and radio ads, was borne by the Choctaws, according to invoices submitted by Reed.

The e-mail records, dated from 1998 to 2002, were made public by the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which was holding a hearing on Abramoff’s dealings with his Indian clients.

The e-mails indicate that Abramoff also earmarked $10,000 in Choctaw money for Reed’s successful 2001 campaign for chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. Reed, a former head of the national Christian Coalition, is now running as a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia, his first bid for elected office.

Lisa Baron, a spokeswoman for Reed, said Reed received only $5,500 for the party chairman’s race and that the donation was credited to Abramoff. “We had no idea that the money came from anybody but Jack,” Baron said.

The e-mails released Wednesday showed Abramoff and his Washington partner, Michael Scanlon, considered dumping Reed in 2002 in order to keep more of the money they were draining from tribal clients.

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Erick Erickson

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  • All I can say is that Ralph may be in more trouble than he thinks. Today at the Cobb County Republican Bar-B-Q, Reed flew in on a helocopter and landed pretty much right outside the door of the event. When he spoke to the crowd the only people who applauded were all sitting at his table. It looks like Reed may not have all that much support after all. It really was a poor showing for the guy. To be fair I can say that Casey Cagle was also in attendance and he did pretty good considering Cobb is supposed to be Reed’s big support base outside of the I-285 belt. I just thought is was really interesting that the GOP crowd reacted the way they did to Ralph.