“In 1999 I was building my small business, Century Strategies,” Reed said in the speech.
“A friend of almost 20 years, then working at one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation, came to me and offered the opportunity to serve as a grassroots subcontractor to the firm.”
“I knew the law firm had tribal clients who had their own reasons for opposing new casinos. I was assured by the law firm at the outset of the work that the funds contributed to our efforts would not derive from gambling activity,” Reed said.
The speech does not address the fact that in several e-mails between Reed and Abramoff, made public by the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, the tribal sources of some of the money were discussed. Reed never disclosed the origin of the cash to his religious allies.
Reed pointed to the good he said his work had accomplished: “We will never know how many marriages and lives were saved, or how many children were spared the consequences of compulsive gambling.”
But the fact that his campaigns were secretly fueled with gambling funds has raised the ire of many religious groups, which Reed said he regrets.
“I cannot change the past, but I can certainly learn from it,” Reed said. “I am a better man and a better leader as a result.”
I realize I’m treading into dangerous territory by writing about the Lt. Guv race, but this AJC story requires discussion.
I endorsed Ralph Reed some months ago, before the Abramoff story was in full swing, and I will admit the information that subsequently came out about it has caused me a great deal of concern. However, I’ve not been convinced Reed broke any laws but rather he’s guilty of bad judgement. He should have never gotten involved with Abramoff and he’s paying a price for that mistake. His acknowledgement of this is refreshing, as few politicians ever admit their fallibility. I take him at his word when he says he’s learned from his mistake, and I remain supportive of his campaign.
I don’t agree with those who say the left-wing press is cooking up the Abramoff story to discredit Reed, and I don’t think the AJC has a vendetta against Reed. It’s a serious story that should be followed wherever it may end up. The AJC will never name Reed “man of the year