Bush's top Texas, Georgia lapdogs, implicated in growing Abramoff scandal: Corruption in the Senat
Get this: the head of the "Christian Coalition", works to help casinos run their competition out of business by using religious kooks to claim outrage. This gives interesting insight into how all this stuff is coordinated, and how misinformation is used to corrupt the system:
In e-mails, consultant claims link to Cornyn
Christian Coalition leader says he influenced effort to shut casinos.
By Suzanne Gamboa
Saturday, November 12, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed claimed in a 2001 e-mail to a lobbyist that he choreographed John Cornyn's efforts as Texas attorney general to shut down an East Texas Indian tribe's casino.
The lobbyist was Jack Abramoff, who is under federal investigation, along with his partner Michael Scanlon, on allegations of defrauding six Indian tribes of about $80 million from 2001 to 2004. The e-mail, along with about a dozen others, was released last week as part of the investigation.
In 2001, Abramoff was working as a lobbyist for the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana to prevent rival gaming casinos from siphoning off its Texas customers. He paid Reed as a consultant, and Reed lobbied to get the Alabama-Coushatta and Tigua casinos closed in Texas.
In the Nov. 30, 2001, e-mail, Reed told Abramoff that 50 pastors led by Ed Young, of Second Baptist Church in Houston, would meet with Cornyn to urge him to shut down the Alabama-Coushatta tribe's casino near Livingston. He said Young would back up the request in writing.
"We have also choreographed Cornyn's response. The AG will state that the law is clear, talk about how much he wants to avoid repetition of El Paso (where the Tigua casino was) and pledge to take swift action to enforce the law," Reed wrote. "He will also personally hand Ed Young a letter that commits him to take action in Livingston."
Cornyn, now a Republican U.S. senator, had filed a lawsuit in 1999 to shut down the casino operated by the Tigua tribe in El Paso, saying it violated the state's limited gambling laws. In 2002, federal courts shuttered the Tiguas' casino and Cornyn used that ruling to shut down the Alabama-Coushattas' casino.
Cornyn, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, has denied knowing Abramoff. He also has said he was unaware of Reed's work with Abramoff.
He said he did not remember receiving a letter from Young or Reed, or providing a letter to Young; he acknowledged meeting with the minister.
"Their efforts were irrelevant to what I was doing," said Cornyn, who was elected to the Senate in 2002. "It's kind of eye-opening to me that apparently people make money claiming credit for something I decided to do under the law."
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee blocked out references to Cornyn in the e-mails it released last week. But in previous Reed e-mails released by the committee, Cornyn's name was not removed.
The previously released e-mails showed that in 2002, Abramoff and Scanlon secretly funneled millions to Reed to help fund the campaign to get the Tigua casino shut down. The lobbyists then persuaded the Tiguas to hire them to reopen it.
A Reed spokeswoman refused to respond directly to questions about whether Reed had copies of or had seen Young's letter, or details about how he "choreographed" a response from Cornyn.
"No one should take credit for state Attorney General John Cornyn's actions and the faith community's support," Reed's spokeswoman Lisa Baron said. "Ralph Reed never has and never will."
She said Reed did not learn the Louisiana Coushattas were Abramoff's clients until 2002, and he was not aware that the tribe contributed to "our efforts" until 2004.
But Reed's e-mails suggest Cornyn's work was instrumental to Abramoff in fending off competition for his client.
Members of the Louisiana Coushatta tribal leadership testified last week that Abramoff used the threat of the Alabama-Coushatta casino in Texas to get more lobbying business.
Young said he met Cornyn for the first time at a pastors' meeting in late November 2001, where Cornyn spoke to about 15 to 20 pastors. Young also said he did not remember any exchange of letters occurring at the meeting as Reed said in the e-mail.
Cornyn "told us the situation. He was filing affidavits. We said we support you" because of the pastors' concerns about gambling, Young said.
Young dismissed Reed's suggestion that Cornyn needed him for support in the 2002 Senate race. He said he stays neutral because his church attracts Democrats and Republicans.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address