Friday, June 23, 2006
Indian Gambling Interests Sent Millions To Christian Coalition Founder
ATLANTA, June 23, 2006
(CBS/AP) Former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed was paid more than $4 million by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's influence peddling operation on behalf of Indian gambling interests, a Senate report released Thursday said. The money was sent through intermediaries to satisfy Reed's "political concerns," according to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee report (.pdf). "Ralph Reed did not want to be paid directly by a tribe with gaming interests," Nell Rogers, a Mississippi Choctaw official, told the Senate panel. "It was our understanding that the structure was recommended by Jack Abramoff to accommodate Mr. Reed's political concerns." Reed reportedly received more than $4 million from the Choctaws and the Louisiana Coushattas to direct campaigns against efforts to expand gambling. The report said tax-cut advocate Grover Norquist served as a buffer between Abramoff's casino gambling money and Reed. Norquist's Americans for Tax Relief served as a conduit for the payments from the Choctaws to Reed's operation, while Norquist, a close White House ally, took a cut, the panel said.
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