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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/1/12

Ralph Reed: From Purgatory to Power

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SENATOR BYRON DORGAN: "What's the basis for your tribe making a donation to Americans for Tax Reform?

BERNIE SPRAGUE "I have no idea, Senator. I did not understand it then. I opposed it and I don't understand it today."

SENATOR KENT CONRAD: "Did you, Mr. Abramoff, you and your partner, your colleague, Mr. Scanlon, give $4 million to Ralph Reed?"

JACK ABRAMOFF: Senator, I respectfully evoke the privileges previously stated."

BILL MOYERS: Despite Abramoff's zipped lip, Senate investigators were able to expose even more chicanery. Yet another tribe, the Coushatta in Louisiana, hired Abramoff and partner Mike Scanlon to stop rival tribes from opening competing casinos across the border in Texas. Again they turned to Ralph Reed, who said he could use his Christian connections to stir up the religious folk in Texas to oppose the new casinos. And once again, Reed didn't tell his fellow Christians he was actually working for gambling interests right next door in Louisiana. Abramoff's partner Mike Scanlon informed the Coushatta that paying Reed was crucial to success in Texas:

Email of MICHAEL SCANLON: "Simply put we want to bring out the wackos ... The wackos get their information from the Christian right, Christian radio, the internet, and telephone trees."

BILL MOYERS: "I do guerrilla warfare," Reed once boasted. "I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag." In Texas, his weapons of mass deception included bogus Christian front groups that the "wackos" would believe to be the real thing:

SUZII PAYNTER: It had the earmarks of guerrilla activity, not from a do-gooder faith, commitment perspective, but all the earmarks of just big corporate business and how they operate when they decide to try to smash something.

BILL MOYERS: Reed's e-mails to Abramoff were insistent. He needed money and he needed it now. At one point, Abramoff responded:

Email of JACK ABRAMOFF: "Give me a number."

Email of RALPH REED: $225K a week for TV; $450K for two weeks of TV."

Email of JACK ABRAMOFF: "Ralph, they are going to faint when they see these numbers..."

BILL MOYERS: But Reed claimed he was worth it.

Email of RALPH REED: "We have over 50 pastors mobilized, with a total membership in those churches of over 40,000"."

MARVIN OLASKY: We have one of our reporters based in Dallas who did a lot of calling around and just asking pastors, "Well, were you involved in this?" And lo and behold, no one was.

BILL MOYERS: Marvin Olasky suspected something was fishy. The editor in chief of the World, a national journal of the evangelical right, had his team dig into Reed's involvement with Abramoff:

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