Sunday, March 13, 2005

Gaming Cons

The Moose notes yet another installment in the story of the vast right wing gaming conspiracy.

All those who are enrolled in Moose U. have a reading assignment for this weekend. Susan Schmidt has delivered a fascinating front page Washington Post story about the sordid tale of the Abramoff/Scanlon/DeLay/Reed Indian gambling scandal. Interestingly, the Post is devoting Watergate length coverage to this unfolding saga that apparently involves the entire Republican establishment.

Today's installment focuses on Abramoff's battle against the Jena tribe's effort to open a casino that would be a competitor to his Coushatta tribe client in Louisiana. Caught in Abramoff's lobbying web is a key Bush appointee at the Interior Department, J. Steven Griles.

But, what really got the attention of the Moose is Righteous Ralph's (candidate for the #2 job in Georgia) recruitment of the ever so holy James Dobson in the effort to help Abramoff's gambling client.

"Jack Abramoff, one of Washington's most prominent Republican lobbyists, tapped into the gambling riches of a rival tribe to orchestrate a far-reaching campaign against the Jena Band of Choctaws -- calling on senior U.S. senators and congressmen, the deputy secretary of the interior and evangelical leaders James Dobson and Ralph Reed."

Of course, naive Ralph claims that he was only the piano player in the bordello and he was shocked that Abramoff was paying him on behalf of his gaming clients.

"Meanwhile, Abramoff opened a second front to bring outside pressure on Interior against the Jenas.

"He looked to Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader who operated several consulting companies. Reed has acknowledged receiving as much as $4 million from Abramoff and his associate, Scanlon, to organize grass-roots anti-gambling campaigns in Louisiana and Texas. The money came from casino-rich Indian tribes, including the Coushattas, but Reed said that although he knew of Abramoff's connection to the tribes, he did not know until media accounts surfaced last summer that his fees came from gambling proceeds.

"Reed then turned to Dobson to marshal his vast network of evangelicals, Abramoff's e-mails show.

"Abramoff wrote to Scanlon in a Feb. 20, 2002, e-mail that Dobson would make radio ads against gambling. Reed "may finally have scored for us! Dobson goes up on the radio on this next week!" He suggested giving Reed $60,000 for the ads to run in Louisiana and Texas. "We'll then play it in the WH [White House] and Interior," he told Scanlon."

As the Moose has been preaching for months, this scandal could have seismic political implications. Hopefully, Mooseketeers in Georgia are already putting the story to good use.

-- Posted at 2:08 PM | Link to this post | Email this post