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Praise the Lord and Pass the Collection Plate


Poor Ralph Reed.  People are beginning to hold him accountable for his actions and his deeds — and not just his false witness smoke screens public statements to the contrary when he was trying to gin up fundraising support or a voting initiative from his patsies lemmings followers.  The nerve!

The WaPo reports today that an e-mail has surfaced from Ralph Reed to then-Rep. Bob Riley (R-AL), asking him to vote against workers’ rights legislation for the Northern Marianas Islands.  You know, where the conditions required forced abortions and forced prostitution for many of the underpaid female workers — how very Christian of Mr. Reed.

And isn’t it just such a coincidence that one of the biggest manufacturers on the islands — who stood to profit handily by keeping wages at a pittance and all — employed Jack Abramoff as their lobbyist.  Completely unrelated to Ralph’s letter writing, I’m sure.  What a coinky-dink.

"The radical left, the Big Labor Union Bosses, and Bill Clinton want to pass a law preventing Chinese from coming to work on the Marianas Islands," the mailer from Reed’s firm said. The Chinese workers, it added, "are exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ" while on the islands, and many "are converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand."

A year earlier, the Department of the Interior — which oversees federal policy toward the U.S. territory — presented a very different picture of life for Chinese workers on the islands. An Interior report found that Chinese women were subject to forced abortions and that women and children were subject to forced prostitution in the local sex-tourism industry.

It also alleged that the garment industry and other businesses set up facilities on the Northern Marianas to produce products labeled "Made in the USA," while importing workers from China and other Asian countries and paying them less than U.S. minimum wage under conditions not subject to federal safety standards.

Oh yeah, I got yer Golden Rule right here, Ralph: do unto others so long as it serves your political and personal ambitions, otherwise do for yourself. (Hmmm…that’s not quite how I remember it from my last Bible reading.)

And beyond this latest revelation, there are a whole host of other bits and pieces, including the fact that Reed’s name has surfaced in the Safavian trial, linked to Jack Abramoff via e-mails regarding a golfing trip to Scotland.  Gee, Jack sure did like to golf, didn’t he? According to the AP (via Forbes):

"The costs here ran well into six figures, and Ralph surely has a record of paying such a sum – if he is actually telling the truth," said Cagle spokesman Brad Alexander.

Reed campaign spokeswoman Lisa Baron said Reed paid for the flight to Scotland, paid for his hotel and some of his meals and returned early, flying by commercial airline at his own expense.

"I don’t know" how much Reed paid, said Baron.

Baron was repeating comments the Reed campaign made in June 2005 in attempting to quell the controversy over the candidate’s participation in the Scotland trip, saying at the time that he paid his own way but not giving any amounts.

Abramoff paid Reed’s businesses to mobilize Christian voters against casinos that would compete with Abramoff’s Indian tribe clients. Reed has said repeatedly that he regrets his work with Abramoff.

No, the correct answer is that Reed regrets getting caught publicly with his hand in the Abramoff money till — especially the gambling money till and the forced abortion money till — because it exposes him as a hypocrite who was only after cash not exactly living up to his publicly professed Christian values. 

The WaPo has more on Safavian trial details.  And the local Georgia papers are having a field day with the Cagle/Reed battle over who really paid for the Scotland trip with Abramoff — according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the cost for the jet flight alone was $92,000.  (Color me skeptical on the "we can’t find any records" excuse, but wouldn’t that be a tad large reimbursement/travel payment for which you might want to keep business records for your accountant come tax day?)

Why doesn’t Ralph want his Christian flock reminded of his dealings with his good pal Jack Abramoff?  You mean, other than the payoffs out of money that the morals crowd considers tainted?  Because Jack and his associates said things like this:

Our mission is to get specifically selected groups of individuals to the polls to speak out AGAINST something. To that end, your money is best spent finding them and communicating with them on using the modes that they are most likely to respond to. Simply put we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them. The wackos get their information form (sic) the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees.  (emphasis mine)

Or that Ralph Reed himself said things like this right back to them:

"I need to start humping in corporate accounts," Reed wrote to Abramoff in 1998. "I’m counting on you to help me with some contacts."…

Reed also depended on Abramoff to help his political campaigns. In one e-mail exchange in 2001, he asked Abramoff to contribute to his successful bid to become state Republican chairman in Georgia. When Abramoff asked where to send the donation, Reed joked, "The actual committee is `The Reed Family Retirement and Educational Foundation.’ The address is 200 Bay Drive, Grand Cayman, BCI, R59876."

This was in reference to Reed taking money from Abramoff’s gambling clients in a little scheme that he cooked up with Jack and then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn. (Yep, that Cornyn.  For the details on this, take a peek at Jane’s fantastic post "Control Yourself, Boys.")

It will be interesting to see if the Abramoff connection does in the Reed campaign in Georgia — or if the fleeced flock continues to follow their tainted shepherd to the ballot box

If you missed this Nation article on Ralph Reed the first time around, it is well worth a look — or another look.  Ralph’s history — from his ties to Abramoff, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist and that whole College Republican crony group — all the way through his Christian Coalition days through his use of those ties for his own financial gain to today’s incarnation as political candidate with tarnished moral credentials — it’s all there.  Of course, if you can forgive Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart and Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell their foibles, what’s a little under-the-table gambling and forced abortion money between pals?

Praise the Lord and pass the collection plate — it’s campaign season in Georgia, and Ralph Reed is hoping for an election miracle.  Here’s hoping, for Georgia’s sake, that he doesn’t get it.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com