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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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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