Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ralph Reed's Abramoff Connection

Ralph Reed is running for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia so his connection to Jack Abramoff is of great interest to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Ralph Reed has said he didn't know it until last year, but emails suggest he was informed that eLot — a firm then in the online lottery business — was behind his effort to fend off a ban against internet gambling in 2000.

The e-mails passed between Reed and Jack Abramoff, the now disgraced Washington lobbyist. Abramoff was lobbying for eLot Inc. of Connecticut, parent company of eLottery Inc., against a bill in Congress that would have banned most online betting. ELottery opposed the bill because it wanted to help states sell tickets online.

Reed, a lifelong opponent of gambling, said last year that he did not know in 2000 he was actually working on behalf of eLottery.

But e-mails obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show Reed was offered the name of the company at the beginning of his involvement in the campaign, in May 2000. The e-mails emerged as dozens of federal investigators have increased their focus on events surrounding the defeat of the Internet gaming ban.

Abramoff included the company's name — referring to "the elot project" — in an e-mail he forwarded to Reed, as the two worked out details of Reed's contract for the campaign.

A spokesman for Reed, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said the e-mail does not contradict Reed's earlier statements that he did not know eLot, or eLottery, was financing the gambling fight. Campaign manager Jared Thomas declined to discuss the apparent inconsistency of Reed's earlier statements and the date of the "elot" e-mail.
When you read the whole story, you can just about conclude that Ralph Reed is either a fool who didn't know for five years that he worked for internet gambling, that is, eLottery, or Reed is not an honest man. Reed has enough experience with spinning that he might be able to offer a third option, but it's not looking good.

Ralph Reed may be innocent, but forgive me if a small joke comes to mind:

"But your honor, I was blindfolded when I reached in and took the cookies from the cookie jar!"

"Did you eat them?"

"I sure did, your honor. But I didn't know whose cookies I was stealing!"

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