Ralph Reed’s Rank Hypocrisy: Nothing New

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Ralph Reed’s bid for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia is looking even iffier today after the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas sued him and Jack Abramoff, among others, for millions of dollars of losses incurred from a casino the tribe says was fraudulently closed in 2001. (NYT)

We reported on this a couple of years ago. Basically, Abramoff, Reed and three others appear to have cooked up a fake religiously themed moral crusade to mobilize the forces of righteousness to block the legalization of gambling in Indian casinos in Texas–their real motive being to protect a competing casino in Louisiana.

Peter Stone’s piece on Reed for Mother Jones in late 2004 showed that this was no one-off for Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition and an insufferable moralizer, who often used his credentials with the religious right to further his clients’ business agendas–even when the latter were at odds with Christian values.

Since its founding in 1997, his consulting firm, Century Strategies, has racked up millions in fees from companies including Enron, Microsoft, Verizon, and other Fortune 100 companies, according to sources familiar with its client list. …

Reed’s political ties have allowed him to carve out a special niche among political influence merchants. “Ralph has cornered the market in corporate strategic communications and grassroots using his social conservative base combined with his personal communications skills and his influence in the Bush reelection campaign,” says lobbyist Scott Reed (no relation), who managed Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. “This is a unique role for a GOP operative that has huge value for corporate America.”

Among Reed’s clients is Channel One, a company that provides television equipment to schools in exchange for airing 10 minutes of news and 2 minutes of commercials daily. Prominent conservatives have blasted the company for exposing children to junk-food ads and explicit movie promos. In response, Channel One turned to Reed, who in 2002 helped the company deflect a proposed Texas Board of Education resolution that would have urged schools to jettison Channel One. Reed, who points out that Channel One also runs ads promoting abstinence and anti-alcohol messages, phoned several board members and dissuaded them from voting for the resolution, much to the dismay of conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime critic of Channel One. “I’m surprised that any conservative would work for it,” Schlafly said. “They’re all advertising things that I wouldn’t want my children to buy.”

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Oh, and Reed also helped a powerful coalition of business groups lobby Congress to normalize trade relations with China, which has supplanted the Soviet Union in the Christian conservative universe as a Godless, human rights-abusing evil (would-be) empire.

Read the full article here.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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