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The Religious Right and Contemporary American Politics

 
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Jul, 2005 11:24 am
Quote:
To be sure, that politics makes strange bedfellows is not news. What is news is that the rising power of the religious right is leading to some unexpected victories for progressive causes. Deep political polarization makes traditional centrist bipartisanship treacherous. But, paradoxically, it can also produce unexpected cooperation between the core of the right and the core of the left. In other words, bipartisanship isn't dead; it has simply abandoned the political center for issues where it was once nowhere to be seen.

That's from the article pasted in below. It will serve as exhibit B for an old argument of mine: you should react to the rise of the Religious Right not only, or not even primarily, with a frontal attack on it, but by smartly using it to create new Progressive majorities.

Blue-staters alone can not win elections. To bridge that crucial fifthiest percentile point, you need some alliance. Many liberals seem to be seeking it with social libertarians, hammering on the separation of church and state while fudging away the issues of socio-economic equality and redistribution that would chase such affluent libertarians away. I think that's a losing strategy - if only because while secular values do not need leftists to survive, issues of socio-economic equality do.

With support of the US equivalent of the Christian Union (see here and here), new majorities can be created for a more populist, but no less Progressive line - even for such largely unpopulist, conscientious issues such as the one outlined in the article. Fighting poverty, at home and in Africa. Protecting the environment. Fighting corruption. And this here.

Lola asserted that the US doesn't have an equivalent to the Christian Union. I think she's wrong. I already pointed to Alabama Governor Bob Riley and his fight against poverty. I'm glad to find more examples here:

Quote:
THE NEW BIPARTISANSHIP.
To the Extreme
by Kal Raustiala


It is commonplace to claim that bipartisanship is dead--or at least dying. Last week, on The New York Times op-ed page, Norm Ornstein argued that political polarization is at a 50-year high in Congress. Ornstein showed that only 8 percent of the House can be considered centrist today, compared to 33 percent in 1955.

In light of Ornstein's findings, the first meeting of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, which took place in Washington last month, is puzzling--and noteworthy. Senators from both sides of the aisle spoke, and the commission heard testimony from activists, Justice Department officials, and rape survivors. The panel was created by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which sailed through Congress two years ago with unanimous bipartisan support and was later signed by President Bush.

How, at a time when bipartisanship is said to be dead, did a bill addressing American prisons--a topic not lacking in ideological overtones--pass unanimously? The answer illustrates an important fact about bipartisanship in polarized times. The absence of centrists in Congress certainly fosters conflict rather than cooperation on many, probably most, issues. But there are also issues where the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans can find common ground. To be sure, that politics makes strange bedfellows is not news. What is news is that the rising power of the religious right is leading to some unexpected victories for progressive causes. Deep political polarization makes traditional centrist bipartisanship treacherous. But, paradoxically, it can also produce unexpected cooperation between the core of the right and the core of the left. In other words, bipartisanship isn't dead; it has simply abandoned the political center for issues where it was once nowhere to be seen.



The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a good example of this phenomenon. Sexual assault, sometimes by guards but more often by other prisoners, is a fact of life behind bars. Research shows that nearly 1 in 10 male inmates has been raped, gay men disproportionately. The problem of prisoner rape is not new, but the issue had no traction for decades. Starting about five years ago, however, prisoner rape began to get attention.

In 2001, Human Rights Watch released a report on rape behind bars that was prominently featured on the front page of The New York Times. At the same time, the survivor-founded group Stop Prisoner Rape initiated a campaign that forced 7UP to pull a television commercial making light of the issue. Many conservative groups signed on to the campaign, including the evangelical Prison Fellowship Ministries, led by Watergate-era figure Chuck Colson. The media attention to both events dovetailed with ongoing work on the issue at the conservative Hudson Institute and coverage in publications such as Christianity Today.

Conservative religious groups, many of which minister in prisons, witnessed the problem firsthand. More traditional conservatives recognized a law-and-order problem they could attack. And the fact that much of the sex in question was male-on-male surely added to the right's indignation. For the left, prison conditions have long been a concern--and a losing cause. But once Christian conservatives joined forces with groups like Amnesty International, the topic went from a political loser to a political winner. On conservative talk radio, advocates still faced hostile questions. But on Capitol Hill, few wanted to come out against a campaign that had garnered support from both the NAACP and Focus on the Family. Ted Kennedy and Rick Santorum suddenly were on the same team.

The PREA is an important story, one in which an appalling problem is finally addressed by Congress. But it is also part of a trend. In recent months, for example, the unusual convergence of the religious right and environmentalists has received increasing attention. "Creation care" is the new phrase du jour for environmentally minded Christians who think there is a scriptural duty to protect the Earth and all its inhabitants. Christian conservatives have also aligned with the left to campaign against the international sex trafficking trade. Conservatives are increasingly in line with liberals on the need to aggressively challenge and prevent religious and racial persecution in places like Darfur. And perhaps most significantly, national security hawks and climate change advocates are suddenly on the same page with regard to fossil fuel consumption--since, in addition to creating greenhouse gases, American consumption of oil also enriches Saudi Arabia, birthplace of fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers.

It's easy to argue there is nothing new in these coalitions. Prohibition is frequently said to have had two chief political supporters: Baptists who hated demon drink and bootleggers who smuggled it to everyone else. Whether or not that particular story is apocryphal, alliances of convenience--that is, "Baptist-bootlegger" coalitions--are hardly unusual in American politics. But the prison sexual assault issue pushes beyond these traditional kinds of arrangements. Rather than linking advocates of conscience (Baptists) to those seeking private gain (bootleggers), it connects advocates of conscience from opposite ends of the political spectrum. And in doing so, it reaches much further across the aisle than bipartisan efforts generally have.

This unusual brand of bipartisanship stems as much from the creation of gerrymandered electoral districts as it does from the rising power of the religious right. Congress lacks a center because the public, divided into ever-more homogenous and safe districts, no longer elects centrists.

The implications of this shift for congressional politics are significant. Our constitutional structure has a status quo bias that forces compromise if new initiatives are to move forward. Bipartisanship used to be more or less synonymous with the political center, where those compromises were forged. But the alliances that have formed around prison rape, the environment, and Darfur suggest that today it is less the center than the poles that are most likely to be areas of common cause. When Christian conservatives such as Chuck Colson can partner with Amnesty International to push through a bill, bipartisanship is not so much dead as transformed. In a sense, this is unsurprising: The center, as Ornstein tells us, has withered away. Bipartisanship has nowhere to go but out. This may make strange-bedfellow arrangements hard. But it can also make very-strange-bedfellow arrangements surprisingly easy.

Kal Raustiala is a professor of law at UCLA.

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 03:09 pm
remember these guys?

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1241322#1241322

Lola wrote:
http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20040712&s=newfield

Quote:
Ralph Reed's Gamble
by JACK NEWFIELD

[from the July 12, 2004 issue]

When Ralph Reed was the boyish director of the Christian Coalition, he made opposition to gambling a major plank in his "family values" agenda, calling gambling "a cancer on the American body politic" that was "stealing food from the mouths of children." But now, a broad federal investigation into lobbying abuses connected to gambling on Indian reservations has unearthed evidence that Reed has been surreptitiously working for an Indian tribe with a large casino it sought to protect--and that Reed was paid with funds laundered through two firms to try to keep his lucrative involvement secret. Reed has always operated behind the scenes, and apparently he didn't want to risk becoming a humbled hypocrite like his right-wing cohorts William Bennett and Rush Limbaugh.

News accounts of the emerging scandal have focused on the two main figures under investigation: lawyer/lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, House GOP majority leader Tom DeLay's former spokesman and head of two campaign and public relations companies. But Reed has managed to slither below the media's radar--until now.

Neither he, Abramoff or Scanlon returned phone calls.



http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/22/news/lobby.php

Quote:
Michael Scanlon, a former business partner of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a former top aide to Representative Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials. He agreed to repay $19.6 million to his former Indian tribe lobbying clients.

Scanlon acknowledged in a plea agreement that he and Abramoff, identified in the court papers as "Lobbyist A," agreed to make lavish gifts to public officials, including all-expense-paid trips to Europe and the Super Bowl, in exchange for official actions.

Federal law enforcement officials portrayed the plea agreement, under which Scanlon faces up to five years in prison, as an important development in the larger criminal investigation of Abramoff, who has been under scrutiny by a grand jury for more than a year.

The investigation, which initially centered on accusations that Abramoff had defrauded Indian tribe casinos of tens of millions of dollars in lobbying fees, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, where the lobbyist and his junior partner, Scanlon, claimed friendships among the Republican leaders of Congress.

Prosecutors have not named any of the public officials who were the targets of Scanlon's scheme.

But court papers in the case filed Monday and last week singled out one member of Congress, "Representative No. 1," as a focus of Scanlon's illegal lobbying.

Those filings assert that the lawmaker accepted gifts, including a 2002 golf trip to Scotland and regular meals at Abramoff's restaurant, Signatures, "in exchange for a series of official acts and influence."

Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Administration Committee, has acknowledged that he is the lawmaker, while saying there was no quid pro quo with Abramoff or Scanlon.

Ney, who was subpoenaed this month by the grand jury investigating Abramoff, has said he was "duped" by the lobbyists.

"All this plea agreement shows is that Scanlon had a secret and well-concealed scheme to defraud many people and, it appears, unfortunately, that Representative Ney was one of the many people defrauded," said Brian Walsh, the spokesman for Ney.

Scanlon, 35, a longtime Republican operative in the capital, said little during the hearing Monday in U.S. District Court.

"Guilty, your honor," he replied calmly when asked by Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle for his plea. Under the agreement with the Justice Department, Scanlon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate a series of criminal laws, including those against bribery, and pledged to cooperate with the Justice Department's investigation of Abramoff and others.

At a news conference after the hearing, Scanlon's lawyer, Plato Cacheris, stood alongside his client and said Scanlon was "obviously regretful" about the fraud committed against the Indian tribes, which paid Abramoff and Scanlon more than $80 million in fees.

Asked if he expected the investigation to bring many members of Congress under scrutiny, Cacheris replied, "I would rather not comment on that." Asked if Scanlon had information that would bring DeLay under investigation, the lawyer replied, "You'll have to ask his lawyers."

Before turning to lobbying in 2000, Scanlon was press secretary to DeLay, the former House majority leader, who is under indictment in Texas on unrelated charges of violating state election laws.

WASHINGTON Michael Scanlon, a former business partner of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a former top aide to Representative Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials. He agreed to repay $19.6 million to his former Indian tribe lobbying clients.

Scanlon acknowledged in a plea agreement that he and Abramoff, identified in the court papers as "Lobbyist A," agreed to make lavish gifts to public officials, including all-expense-paid trips to Europe and the Super Bowl, in exchange for official actions.

Federal law enforcement officials portrayed the plea agreement, under which Scanlon faces up to five years in prison, as an important development in the larger criminal investigation of Abramoff, who has been under scrutiny by a grand jury for more than a year.

The investigation, which initially centered on accusations that Abramoff had defrauded Indian tribe casinos of tens of millions of dollars in lobbying fees, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, where the lobbyist and his junior partner, Scanlon, claimed friendships among the Republican leaders of Congress.

Prosecutors have not named any of the public officials who were the targets of Scanlon's scheme.

But court papers in the case filed Monday and last week singled out one member of Congress, "Representative No. 1," as a focus of Scanlon's illegal lobbying.

Those filings assert that the lawmaker accepted gifts, including a 2002 golf trip to Scotland and regular meals at Abramoff's restaurant, Signatures, "in exchange for a series of official acts and influence."

Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Administration Committee, has acknowledged that he is the lawmaker, while saying there was no quid pro quo with Abramoff or Scanlon.

Ney, who was subpoenaed this month by the grand jury investigating Abramoff, has said he was "duped" by the lobbyists.

"All this plea agreement shows is that Scanlon had a secret and well-concealed scheme to defraud many people and, it appears, unfortunately, that Representative Ney was one of the many people defrauded," said Brian Walsh, the spokesman for Ney.

Scanlon, 35, a longtime Republican operative in the capital, said little during the hearing Monday in U.S. District Court.

"Guilty, your honor," he replied calmly when asked by Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle for his plea. Under the agreement with the Justice Department, Scanlon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate a series of criminal laws, including those against bribery, and pledged to cooperate with the Justice Department's investigation of Abramoff and others.

At a news conference after the hearing, Scanlon's lawyer, Plato Cacheris, stood alongside his client and said Scanlon was "obviously regretful" about the fraud committed against the Indian tribes, which paid Abramoff and Scanlon more than $80 million in fees.

Asked if he expected the investigation to bring many members of Congress under scrutiny, Cacheris replied, "I would rather not comment on that." Asked if Scanlon had information that would bring DeLay under investigation, the lawyer replied, "You'll have to ask his lawyers."

Before turning to lobbying in 2000, Scanlon was press secretary to DeLay, the former House majority leader, who is under indictment in Texas on unrelated charges of violating state election laws.

WASHINGTON Michael Scanlon, a former business partner of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a former top aide to Representative Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials. He agreed to repay $19.6 million to his former Indian tribe lobbying clients.

Scanlon acknowledged in a plea agreement that he and Abramoff, identified in the court papers as "Lobbyist A," agreed to make lavish gifts to public officials, including all-expense-paid trips to Europe and the Super Bowl, in exchange for official actions.

Federal law enforcement officials portrayed the plea agreement, under which Scanlon faces up to five years in prison, as an important development in the larger criminal investigation of Abramoff, who has been under scrutiny by a grand jury for more than a year.

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 03:21 pm
ehBeth wrote:
remember these guys?

Gee, it almost looks as if god doesn't want them to rule the world after all.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 03:23 pm
"feel like dancin', yeah"
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 03:35 pm
shimmy shimmy


<I didn't mean to attach the whole article Embarrassed >
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 03:48 pm
This is one of those instances where I REALLY want to flick forward to the last page to find out what happens.

thomas

I'm not sure how much you are following this Abramoff story, but it has the potential to be something for the history books.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 03:54 pm
blatham wrote:
I'm not sure how much you are following this Abramoff story, but it has the potential to be something for the history books.

Did you read Paul Krugman's article where he proposed the game "Two degrees from Abramoff"? It's fun.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 04:05 pm
One thing which i find wonderful about such denouements is . . .

Quote:
"Guilty, your honor," he replied calmly when asked by Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle for his plea. Under the agreement with the Justice Department, Scanlon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate a series of criminal laws, including those against bribery, and pledged to cooperate with the Justice Department's investigation of Abramoff and others. (emphasis added)


. . . how quickly these jokers stab one another in the back--it is quite apparent that this is no honor among theives . . .
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 04:06 pm
given those lovely "two degrees", Scanlon's co-operation could lead to all kinds of fascinating results
0 Replies
 
Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 06:42 pm
ehBeth wrote:
given those lovely "two degrees", Scanlon's co-operation could lead to all kinds of fascinating results


yessireee,

All kinds. This is Ralph Reed hehehehehe and Tom DeLay (as if he weren't in trouble already) and many others. Have to love Michael Scanlon, he's not about to go down alone. He's repaying 19 million but he's earned many millions more than that. He doesn't look like he's worried about money.


Quote:
November 20, 2005
Corruption Inquiry Threatens to Ensnare Lawmakers
By PHILIP SHENON

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 - The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff, the former Republican superlobbyist who diverted some of his tens of millions of dollars in fees to provide lavish travel, meals and campaign contributions to the lawmakers whose help he needed most.

The investigation by a federal grand jury, which began more than a year ago, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, especially with the announcement Friday of criminal charges against Michael Scanlon, Mr. Abramoff's former lobbying partner and a former top House aide to Representative Tom DeLay.

The charges against Mr. Scanlon identified no lawmakers by name, but a summary of the case released by the Justice Department accused him of being part of a broad conspiracy to provide "things of value, including money, meals, trips and entertainment to federal public officials in return for agreements to perform official acts" - an attempt at bribery, in other words, or something close to it.

Mr. Abramoff, who is under indictment in a separate bank-fraud case in Florida, has not been charged by the federal grand jury here. But Mr. Scanlon's lawyer says he has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation, suggesting that Mr. Abramoff's day in court in Washington is only a matter of time.

Scholars who specialize in the history and operations of Congress say that given the brazenness of Mr. Abramoff's lobbying efforts, as measured by the huge fees he charged clients and the extravagant gifts he showered on friends on Capitol Hill, almost all of them Republicans, the investigation could end up costing several lawmakers their careers, if not their freedom.

The investigation threatens to ensnarl many outside Congress as well, including Interior Department officials and others in the Bush administration who were courted by Mr. Abramoff on behalf of the Indian tribe casinos that were his most lucrative clients.

The inquiry has already reached into the White House; a White House budget official, David H. Safavian, resigned only days before his arrest in September on charges of lying to investigators about his business ties to Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner.

"I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution. "I've been around Washington for 35 years, watching Congress, and I've never seen anything approaching Abramoff for cynicism and chutzpah in proposing quid pro quos to members of Congress."

Even by the gold-plated standards of Washington lobbying firms, the fees paid to Mr. Abramoff were extraordinary. A former president of the College Republicans who turned to lobbying after a short-lived career as a B-movie producer, Mr. Abramoff, with his lobbying team, collected more than $80 million from the Indian tribes and their gambling operations; he was known by lobbying rivals as "Casino Jack."

Mr. Abramoff's lobbying work was not limited to the casinos, though. Newly disclosed documents from his files show that he asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of Gabon, in West Africa, to set up a White House meeting with President Bush; there was an Oval Office meeting last year, although there is no evidence in the public record to show that Mr. Abramoff had a role in the arrangements.

Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, an ethics watchdog group that has called for tighter lobbying rules, said it was too early to say whether the Abramoff investigation would produce anything like the convulsion in Congress during the Abscam investigations of the 1980's, when one senator and five House members were convicted on bribery and other charges after an F.B.I. sting involving a phony Arab sheik.

"But this clearly has the potential," Mr. Wertheimer said.

So far, one member of Congress, Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican who is chairman of the House Administration Committee, has acknowledged receiving a subpoena from the grand jury investigating Mr. Abramoff. Another, Representative John T. Doolittle, Republican of California, has acknowledged that his wife, who helped Mr. Abramoff organize fund-raisers, was subpoenaed.

The Justice Department signaled last month that Mr. DeLay had come under scrutiny in the investigation, over a trip that Mr. Abramoff arranged for Mr. DeLay and his wife to Britain in 2000 that included rounds of golf at the fabled course at St. Andrews in Scotland.

The department revealed its interest in Mr. DeLay, who is under indictment in Texas in an unrelated investigation involving violations of state election laws, in an extraordinary request to the British government that police there interview former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about the circumstances of a meeting in London with Mr. DeLay during the trip five years ago.

London newspapers quoted a document prepared by the British Home Office that outlined the Justice Department's investigation and said that "it is alleged that Abramoff arranged for his clients to pay for the trips to the U.K. on the basis that Congressman DeLay would support favorable legislation."

Richard Cullen, a lawyer for Mr. DeLay, said in an interview Friday that he was "glad that the Justice Department is looking into all aspects of the trip because I think that a thorough investigation will show that the trip was substantive and transparent."

Mr. Cullen said that shortly after he was hired several months ago, he contacted the Justice Department "to let them know that Mr. DeLay is available to cooperate in any way."

The lawyer said he was "convinced that when the Justice Department completes its investigation of Abramoff and Scanlon, that it will be clear Tom DeLay has acted ethically and has conducted himself consistent with all laws and House standards of conduct." He said he had not heard from federal prosecutors since the initial contacts.

The situation could be more serious for Mr. Ney, a five-term lawmaker whose position as chairman of the House Administration Committee gives him power over the operations of the Capitol building and allows him to divide up Congressional perks like office space and parking.

Mr. Ney's ties to Mr. Abramoff have been revealed slowly over the last year, largely through testimony before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which has held a series of hearings into accusations that Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon defrauded their Indian tribe clients.

Mr. Ney was not identified by name in the documents filed against Mr. Scanlon on Friday. But the Ohio lawmaker's lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Ney was the lawmaker identified as "Representative #1" in the Justice Department papers, which charged Mr. Scanlon with conspiring to provide "Representative #1" with a golfing trip to Scotland, meals at Mr. Abramoff's Washington restaurant and campaign contributions.

Mr. Ney took part in a golf trip to Scotland in 2002 with Mr. Abramoff, where they played at St. Andrews, as Mr. DeLay had done two years earlier. Documents and testimony to Congress showed that Mr. Abramoff had asked an Indian tribe in Texas to sponsor the trip and that Mr. Ney was then asked for his help in trying to reopen a casino owned by the tribe that had been shuttered by state officials.

Mr. Ney was also a regular at Signatures, the expensive Washington restaurant that Mr. Abramoff owned and used to entertain clients, colleagues and lawmakers. Former Signatures employees have said that Mr. Ney frequently ate and drank at the restaurant without paying. Mr. Ney has acknowledged the gifts but said they were within limits set by Congressional ethics rules.
0 Replies
 
Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 07:08 pm
Quote:
Ralph Reed's Zeal for Lobbying Is Shaking His Political Faithful
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
and PHILIP SHENON

Published: April 18, 2005

ATLANTA - In 30 years of culture wars, few conservative Christian standard bearers have traveled further in American politics than Ralph Reed. The former head of the Christian Coalition has been a high-priced communications consultant, a top Bush campaign adviser, chairman of Georgia's Republican Party and now a candidate for lieutenant governor here.

Campaigning in early April at a Republican district meeting outside Atlanta, Mr. Reed talked of his small-town roots in northeast Georgia.

"I'm not going to forget where I came from," he said. "I am not going to forget what I stand for."

But as he completes his journey from Christian advocate to professional politician, Mr. Reed, 43, finds himself carrying some baggage: his ties to an old friend, the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
In Washington, federal investigations of Mr. Abramoff, a close ally of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have revealed that Mr. Abramoff paid Mr. Reed's consulting firm more than $4 million to help organize Christian opposition to Indian casinos in Texas and Louisiana - money that came from other Indians with rival casinos.

Mr. Reed declined to comment for this article; he has said publicly that he did not know that casino owners were paying for his services and that he has never deviated from his moral opposition to gambling. But the episode is a new blemish on the boyish face that once personified the rise of evangelical Christians to political power in America.

Some of Mr. Reed's past patrons - including the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who set Mr. Reed on the national stage by hiring him to run the Christian Coalition - say his work with Mr. Abramoff's Indian casino clients raises questions about how he has balanced his personal ambitions with his Christian principles.

"You know that song about the Rhinestone Cowboy, 'There's been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon,' " Mr. Robertson said. "The Bible says you can't serve God and Mammon."

In Georgia, Mr. Reed's rival in the Republican primary is playing up his links with Indian casinos to try to revive longstanding criticism from conservative Christian purists that Mr. Reed has sometimes put his own ambitions ahead of their goals. At the meeting near Atlanta, for example, his opponents were doing their best to sow doubts in the crowd.

"The Christian Coalition, they may have some shady background," said Robert McIntyre, the treasurer of the Spalding County Republican Party, who still wore a Ralph Reed sticker on his lapel. "I was being loyal to Ralph Reed, but since now some things have come up, I need to listen. I am now wavering."

Others argue, however, that shaking soiled hands is sometimes the price of making an impact.

"Thirty or 40 years ago, the people who you would see as the spokesmen for traditional values kind of things were people who were outsiders railing against the system," said Kelly Shackelford, a prominent Christian conservative and president of the Free Market Foundation in Texas. "And if they didn't get a hundred percent of what they believe in, they weren't going to play." Mr. Reed led a new wave of Christian conservatives, Mr. Shackelford said, who "understand that you have to be part of the system, and you can't sit outside and throw rocks at everybody."

Bill Paxon, a former Congressman turned lobbyist who worked closely with Mr. Reed on Republican Congressional campaigns, said Mr. Reed was a man of many dimensions: a heartfelt Christian, a limited-government conservative and a canny political street fighter. "He was always all of the above," Mr. Paxon said.

Unlike most conservative Christian leaders, Mr. Reed was drawn to Republican politics first and evangelical faith later. He arrived in Washington as a 19-year-old Senate intern in 1981 and became executive director of the College Republican National Committee two years later, under Mr. Abramoff as chairman.

Mr. Abramoff was "a conservative firebrand," Mr. Reed wrote in his book "Active Faith." The men became so close that Mr. Reed sometimes slept on Mr. Abramoff's couch and later introduced Mr. Abramoff to his future wife.



Quote:
The same year he joined the College Republicans, Mr. Reed started attending an evangelical church and became born again. "I was a bare-knuckled political operative," Mr. Reed wrote in his book. "In the rough and tumble of politics, I began to sense the need for spiritual roots."



Quote:
By 1999, Mr. Abramoff, who was well known as a lobbyist for Indian casinos, had hired Mr. Reed's firm to help organize antigambling campaigns in Texas and Louisiana.

Lisa Baron, a spokeswoman for Mr. Reed's firm, said that Mr. Abramoff had told Mr. Reed that the payment for his consulting services came from a "broad-based coalition" of antigambling groups. "We did not know who his specific clients were or their specific interests," Ms. Baron said.

In fact, Mr. Abramoff had recruited Mr. Reed to help the Coushatta Indians of Louisiana shut down or block casinos operated or proposed by the Tiguas, in neighboring Texas, or the Jena Band of Choctaws, in Louisiana, according to disclosures by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which is investigating $82 million in lobbying fees that Mr. Abramoff and his partner, Michael Scanlon, reaped from tribes.
0 Replies
 
Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 07:32 pm
http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=39083&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=280

Quote:
Masters of Sleaze
By DAVID BROOKS

Published: March 22, 2005

Down in the depths of the netherworld, where Tammany Hall grafters and Chicago ward heelers gather amid spittoons and brass railings, a reverential silence now spreads across the communion. The sleazemasters of old look back into the land of the mortals and they see greatness in the form of Jack Abramoff.

Only a genius like Abramoff could make money lobbying against an Indian tribe's casino and then turn around and make money defending that tribe against himself. Only a giant like Abramoff would have the guts to use one tribe's casino money to finance a Focus on the Family crusade against gambling in order to shut down a rival tribe's casino.

Only an artist like Abramoff could suggest to a tribe that it pay him by taking out life insurance policies on its eldest members. Then when the elders dropped off they could funnel the insurance money through a private school and into his pockets.

This is sleaze of a high order. And yet according to reports in The Washington Post and elsewhere, Abramoff accomplished it all.

Yet it's important to remember this: A genius like Abramoff doesn't spring fully formed on his own. Just as Michelangelo emerged in the ferment of Renaissance Italy, so did Abramoff emerge from his own circle of creativity and encouragement.

Back in 1995, when Republicans took over Congress, a new cadre of daring and original thinkers arose. These bold innovators had a key insight: that you no longer had to choose between being an activist and a lobbyist. You could be both. You could harness the power of K Street to promote the goals of Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich. And best of all, you could get rich while doing it!

Before long, ringleader Grover Norquist and his buddies were signing lobbying deals with the Seychelles and the Northern Mariana Islands and talking up their interests at weekly conservative strategy sessions - what could be more vital to the future of freedom than the commercial interests of these two fine locales?

Before long, folks like Norquist and Abramoff were talking up the virtues of international sons of liberty like Angola's Jonas Savimbi and Congo's dictator Mobutu Sese Seko - all while receiving compensation from these upstanding gentlemen, according to The Legal Times. Only a reactionary could have been so discomfited by Savimbi's little cannibalism problem as to think this was not a daring contribution to the cause of Reaganism.

Soon the creative revolutionaries were blending the high-toned forms of the think tank with the low-toned scams of the buckraker. Ed Buckham, Tom DeLay's former chief of staff, helped run the U.S. Family Network, which supported the American family by accepting large donations and leasing skyboxes at the MCI Center, according to Roll Call. Michael Scanlon, DeLay's former spokesman, organized a think tank called the American International Center, located in a house in Rehoboth Beach, Del., which was occupied, according to Andrew Ferguson's devastating compendium in The Weekly Standard, by a former "lifeguard of the year" and a former yoga instructor.

Ralph Reed, meanwhile, smashed the tired old categories that used to separate social conservatives from corporate consultants. Reed signed on with Channel One, Verizon, Enron and Microsoft to shore up the moral foundations of our great nation. Reed so strongly opposes gambling as a matter of principle that he bravely accepted $4 million through Abramoff from casino-rich Indian tribes to gin up a grass-roots campaign.

As time went by, the spectacular devolution of morals accelerated. Many of the young innovators were behaving like people who, having read Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative," embraced the conservative part while discarding the conscience part.

Abramoff's and Scanlon's Indian-gaming scandal will go down as the movement's crowning achievement, more shameless than anything the others would do, but still the culmination of the trends building since 1995. It perfectly embodied their creed and philosophy: "I'd love us to get our mitts on that moolah!!" as Abramoff wrote to Reed.

They made at least $66 million.

This is a major accomplishment. And remember: Abramoff didn't do it on his own.

It took a village. The sleazo-cons thought they could take over K Street to advance their agenda. As it transpired, K Street took over them.
0 Replies
 
Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 07:37 pm
http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1241322#1241322

http://domino.ethics.state.la.us/campopn.nsf/0/ed82f72c1640e8bb86256e7600722fe4?OpenDocument


Quote:
December 12, 2002

Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
Lovelin Poncho, Chairman
William Worfel, Vice-Chairman
P. O. Box 99
Elton, LA 70532

Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2002-202

Dear Mr. Poncho and Mr. Worfel:

The Louisiana Board of Ethics, acting as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, after a confidential investigation believes the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana violated Section 1505.1B of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act (the "Act"). LSA-R.S. 18:1505.1B.

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana (the "Tribe") used the slogan "Concerned Citizens Against Gaming Expansion" in its to opposition to a proposition election on April 6, 2002 to allow a riverboat casino to operate in Calcasieu Parish. (The tribe's competition)

The Tribe spent $156,642.72 for advertisements, mailers, and telephone solicitations to oppose the proposition, all of which said paid for by "Concerned Citizens Against Gaming Expansion." The newspaper, radio and television advertisements ran between March 29, 2002 and April 6, 2002. The telephone solicitations occurred on April 1, 2002.

The Tribe did not timely file reports in connection with the April 6, 2002 proposition election.

Section 1486 of the Act requires any person who spends more than $200 in support or opposition to a proposition election to file campaign finance reports. In accordance with that section, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana was required to file a Special Report by April 3, 2002, and a 40th day after the election by May 16, 2002. The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana did not file the required reports until October 23, 2002.

Section 1505.4A(2)(a)(iv) of the Act provides that a per day penalty of $40 per day, up to a maximum of $1,000, be assessed against a person who supports or opposes a proposition and fails to timely file campaign finance disclosure reports. Section 1505.4A(4) of the Act BD 2002-202
Page of

provides that a person may be assessed an additional civil penalty of up to $10,000 for the failure to timely file the reports.

Considering the above facts, the Board concludes that the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana violated the provisions of Section 1505.1B of the Act and that late fees of $240 and $1,000 should be assessed for the Tribe's failure to timely file the Special and the 40th day after the election campaign finance disclosure reports, respectively, as well as an additional civil penalty of $5,000 per each report for violating Section 1505.1B of the Act.

By Order of the Board this 12th day of December, 2002.



s/Robert L. Roland s/T. O. Perry, Jr.
Robert L. Roland, Chairman T. O. Perry, Jr., Vice-Chairman

s/Janice Martin Foster s/John W. Greene
Janice Martin Foster Judge John W. Greene


Absent and did not participate. s/R. L. Hargrove, Jr.
Judge E. L. Guidry, Jr. R. L. Hargrove, Jr.


s/Michael J. Kantrow, Sr. s/Joseph Maselli
Michael J. Kantrow, Sr. Joseph Maselli


s/Hank Perret s/Ascension D. Smith
Henry C. Perret, Jr. Ascension Delgado Smith


s/Edwin O. Ware
Edwin O. Ware


CONSENT

The undersigned (a) stipulates to the facts found by the Board; (b) waives the procedural requirements contained in Section 1141 of the Code; (c) admits that its conduct, as described above, violated Section 1505.1B of the Act; (d) consents to the publication of this opinion; (e) agrees to comply with the conditions and orders set forth in this opinion; and, (f) agrees not to seek judicial review of the findings and actions taken in this opinion.

s/William S. Worfel 10/17/02
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Date
Through its representative
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 04:06 pm
LOla, I've missed you. Even these cut & pastes are better than nothing.

How'ya dinng?
0 Replies
 
Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 07:50 pm
I'm doing great. But I've been soooooooo busy. I'm trying to make some money. It comes in so handy at times. If I come to A2K, I end up spending the day.....day after day. It's good to see you too.

I've missed you too. But I'll check in more often. There's no reason why I can't visit a little bit.

Love to you george and to everyone.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jul, 2006 08:50 am
Lola wrote:
Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Rev. Don Wildmon, and Tom Minnery are all long time members of the Council on National Policy.


Ralph Reed: defeated in his campaign to become Lieutenant governor of Georgia. Jack Abramov: down. Tom Delay: out. I don't know about Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Don Woldmon, and Tom Minnery. But my general opinion in this thread that the worst outgrowths will prove self-limiting doesn't look so bad, and I can't resist the temptation to rub in an "I told you so".
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jul, 2006 09:33 am
thomas

I noted this item on another thread too.

Actually, both you and Lola are more optimistic than I regarding the self-destructiveness of this contingent within the movement and party. We'll get a better notion in October and a much better notion in two years. Reed's defeat is a good indicator but they are well organized, deeply motivated, and have significant reach into the below the radar government operations, so still formidable. As things stand, the RNC still cannot do without their support, organizationally and electorally, so any bactracking away from pleasing them in order to avoid loss of support from moderates still looks a ways off in the future, if ever. The stem cell veto is a case in point.

I imagine you caught the Weinstein story... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/15/AR2006071501032.html?style=tgr
0 Replies
 
Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 09:04 pm
Quote:
and I can't resist the temptation to rub in an "I told you so".


Hi Thomas, good ole friend. You did tell us so, but so did I. The difference was that I said their demise would never happen if they were not exposed. So I told you so too.

And yes, Bernie is wedded to his cynical opinion. But we love him anyway.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 09:20 pm
So Thomas reminds us of his earlier prediction that they would be self-limiting. Bernie says 'perhaps so, but I'm not so sure'. Lola, entirely in character, slaps Thomas down, reaffirms the danger they posed, and claims the victory herself for outing them on this thread!

I remind you all of my earlier assertion that they were a relatively small and easily co-opted political minority (where else can they turn?) with little real influence on the majority of the population and little lasting political power.

We are all acting in character here, and, in keeping with the magnaminity that so characterizes my A2K persona , I will acknowledge the elements of truth in all your views, while claiming the brass ring for myself.

It is good to be right.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2006 01:40 am
georgeob1 wrote:
So Thomas reminds us of his earlier prediction that they would be self-limiting. Bernie says 'perhaps so, but I'm not so sure'. Lola, entirely in character, slaps Thomas down, reaffirms the danger they posed, and claims the victory herself for outing them on this thread!

I remind you all of my earlier assertion that they were a relatively small and easily co-opted political minority (where else can they turn?) with little real influence on the majority of the population and little lasting political power.

U-oh, that's all of the Four Beasts accounted for. Maybe the Religious Right is correct and the end of the world is nigh after all? (Sorry, I just read Johnny's apocalypse for background of the global warming threads.)
0 Replies
 
 

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