Chris Slane, New Zealand

Century Marks

Strange bedfellows: Ralph Reed, former director of the Christian Coalition, and Jack Abramoff, the Washington lobbyist now under indictment for fraud and conspiracy, worked together on the gaming industry—the former to get rid of it and the latter to promote it. As Al Franken tells the story in The Truth (with Jokes) (Dutton), in Alabama Abramoff hired Reed to rally churches to oppose the introduction of a state-sponsored lottery program, which was threatening to Abramoff’s clients, the Choctaw casinos in Mississippi. Reed used radio ads featuring James Dobson and sent antilottery bulletin inserts to churches throughout the state. In Texas, Reed organized church support for closing an Indian-run casino that competed with another of Abramoff’s clients, an Indian-run casino across the border in Louisiana. In both cases, Reed was paid with casino money channeled through intermediary organizations to conceal from Reed’s supporters the source of revenue.

 

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