Ralph Reed is back and has been on the campaign circuit raising lots and lots of money for his new, shiny, religious right PAC, the Faith and Freedom Coalition. If you'd like to see him in action, tune into CSPAN tomorrow for his shiny new conference, featuring such faithful stalwarts as Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Glenn Beck.
But just in case you may not be familiar with Ralph Reed, let me share a small excerpt from the Jack Abramoff hearings a few years back, when Kent Conrad had his shot at him:
I was struck by the article in the Washington Post on Sunday. The beginning paragraph says Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations consultant Michael Scanlon quietly worked with conservative religious activist Ralph Reed to help the State of Texas shut down an Indian tribe casino in 2002. Then the two quickly persuaded the tribe to pay $4.2 million to try to get Congress to reopen it. If this is not cynical behavior, I do not know what is.
On the one hand, it turns out Scanlon and Abramoff paid Ralph Reed $4 million to conduct a campaign to close down a casino, at the very time they are asking the casino to hire them so that it can get reopened. One week later, after Mr. Abramoff met with the Tiguas who were in danger of getting their casino shut down, a Texas consultant employed by the tribe thanked Abramoff for his visit and said he would push his proposal. Abramoff forwarded the e-mail to Scanlon with the message, ‘‘This guy needs us to save his ass.’’
It goes on to say, Ralph Reed, the conservative religious leader, was paid $4.2 million by Abramoff and Scanlon for his work opposing several tribal casinos. There is an e-mail traffic that is laid out in the paper in which Abramoff writes to Ralph Reed, ‘‘Great. Thanks, Ralph. We should continue to pile on until the place is shuttered,’’ referring to the casino.
Ralph Reed's job was simple: Get the grassroots stirred up and shaken so they would get active and oppose whatever it was his firm, Century Strategies, was paid to oppose. His partner, Tim Phillips, now director of Freedomworks, worked alongside Reed, but the strategies and interaction with Abramoff was strictly between Reed, Abramoff and Scanlon.
Ralph Reed should have gone to jail along with his buddy Jack, and by all rights ought to be slinging pizza in the outer reaches of south Georgia right about now. Instead, he's taken a run at the Lieutenant Governor spot in Georgia and runs Century Strategies, and now the Faith and Freedom Coalition as well. He is not repentant. He makes no apologies for what he did. Also? He made millions.