The Abramoff Effect

The Wall Street Journal has up this article for free access this morning on how the Abramoff Effect is dragging down several politicians. The article is particularly focused on Reed v. Cagle and is pretty well evenly balanced. PP commenter and friend Maurice Atkinson is quoted as well.

Mr. Reed hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing and his campaign manager says he is cooperating with Washington investigators. But he is having trouble squaring his opposition to gambling with his work for Mr. Abramoff’s Indian casino clients. On the campaign trail his answer to queries about the matter has been: “If I had known then what I know now, I would not have done that work.”

Sadie Fields, head of the Christian Coalition chapter in Georgia, considers Mr. Reed a friend and champion of the religious conservative cause in politics. “He’s apologized,” she says, and the chapter is closed for her.

But other Republicans once close to Mr. Reed aren’t satisfied with his explanation of his role in Mr. Abramoff’s work. Maurice Atkinson, a Christian Coalition activist, quit the Reed campaign after the scandal became public and signed up with Mr. Cagle. “Nobody likes to be a hypocrite and nobody likes to follow a hypocrite,” he says.

Surely the could have found a better picture of Casey.

48 comments

  1. debbie0040 says:

    I am not the least bit suprised about Maurice’s comments but I disagree with them. Speaking of hypocrite it is rather funny to see you Cagleites pointing the finger at Reed’s ethics. Maybe you should investigate your own candidate. Cagle is hypocritical pointing the finger at Reed.

    Giuliani will help Reed and there are more endorsements coming.

    Reed will help the GOP in November and will be the nominee. Reed will win the primary by 20%.

    The only prayer Cagle ever had for defeating Ralph is that charges would be filed against Ralph and that will not happen.

    Things are about to heat up so just get ready…

  2. Maurice Atkinson says:

    The comment that the writer published was of a 15 minute interview, which I provided some substantive thought. I reiterated some of the criticisms I posted on your website. Hypocracy was not high on the list and it was in response to a leading question. My concern still is that Ralph is willing to use his position to manipulate people to the desired end. Which in these documented cases was work for his client. It is politics over principle.

    I had a 2 hour interview yesterday with a national publication that I feel will be far more balanced. I told both I appreciated the work Ralph did for the Party and the CC organization. I have not been a part of the Christian Coalition since 1997. I have told every writer that. I explained my reasonings for not being a part of it, and it had nothing to do with Ralph. I am not in disagreement with their positions, but I am partisan. The CC is supposedly a non-partisan group.

  3. SouthernConservative says:

    I reckon there’s not much in your book for loyalty and keeping your word, eh, Maurice?

  4. Maurice Atkinson says:

    Rudy will have no major effect on this election. Isn’t it ironic that Barbour, Smoltz, Hannity and Zell have all pounced on the landscape and it has done nothing for his numbers? People are concerned with the integrity of their leadership.

    Debbie, no has spread “rumors” of an impending indictment. Several have speculated, there is a big difference. In my opinion, the escape from indictment because of the statute of limitations is no blessing. He did what he did. It was wrong.

  5. Maurice Atkinson says:

    I do believe in loyalty and keeping your word. One’s character is really the only thing we have absolute and complete control over. You lose your integrity and you’ve lost everything.

  6. debbie0040 says:

    The Cagle Camp has spread rumors of Reed’s impending indictment and you are foolish if you think otherwise.

    People are concerned about the integrity of Cagle’s leadership abilites and the fact he caves in under pressure. Just wait, you will see what I speak of.

    Maurice is in the minority when it comes to the Christian Coalition and Cagle.

    I can tell you that most Christians support Reed and are waiting to see if the indictments come that the Cagle Camp has rumored would. My Dad is a retired Independent Baptist Minister and my Uncle is a retired Southern Baptist minister and I can tell you they both support Reed.

    They want someone that stands strong and weathers any storm that comes his way. Cagle is not that man.

    Reed never stepped foot in Texas so not charges would have been bought had the statutes of limitations not applied.

    http://www.reedfacts.com/facts/2005/12/ralph-reed-abiding-by-letter-and.asp

    Chuck Colson has even stepped forward to defend Ralph. He has a prison ministry.
    http://www.reedfacts.com/facts/2006/04/chuck-colson-defends-ralph.asp

  7. Will Ralph bring down Rudy, and the Georgia Republicans like he hurt the Christian Coalition. Just a thought.

    This is what the Nation had to say about Rudy choice to support Ralph.

    “Oh, the irony. A pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-gun control New Yorker stumping with a right-wing Christian crook. If Giuliani had to pick an evangelical activist to campaign with, couldn’t he of found someone who wasn’t Jack Abramoff’s best friend? Shouldn’t the so-called law and order Mayor be shunning a cynical political operator who defrauded fellow Christians and robbed and ruined Indian tribes? Doesn’t he realize that a path to the presidency no longer runs through Ralph Reed?

    Campaigning with the likes of Rick Santorum, as Giuliani did in Philadelphia today, is bad enough. But Reed represents a whole ‘nother level of despicable. If Rudy wanted to show solidarity with a conservative, he should’ve picked Reed’s primary opponent, Casey Cagle.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20060419/cm_thenation/1578544;_ylt=A86.I1NWiUZEnycB1xn9wxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA–

  8. SouthernConservative says:

    Independantthinker — Ralph took the CC from a 200k annual budget to millions annually. I suppose you’ll say he “hurt” the GAGOP when he doubled their warchest in 2002 from 5 to 10 million.

  9. SouthernConservative says:

    What numbers, Maurice? A Zogby poll? Since when did you start trusting Zogby? InsiderAdvantage? C’mon, man, don’t you know that Matt Towery hates Ralph Reed. Please don’t call that impartial. Strategic Vision? Um, they polled for Mike Crotts, nuff said.

    I want you to THINK, man. How have Miller, Hannity, and Smoltz “pounced” on the landscape? The only folks who’ve seen those guys so far are the ones who’ve paid $1,000.00 to do so. They’ll “pounce” when their faces start showing up in TV commercials and on mailers. You think that won’t change the numbers?

    And another note on the numbers issue: near as I recall, there’s still a very high percentage of the vote undecided, even in those polls ya’ll had set up. Who are they going to swing to? The candidate with leadership, vision, who’s backed by their hometown sports heros, their former governor who stood by their president, and by the one national media guy who dares stand by the president; or, are they going to go with the small time state Senator about whom they only know a smidgen, but from what they do know, did nothing but say “I’m better than Ralph because I’m not Ralph?” Whoopdefriggindo.

    I’m thinking back to a conversation I had earlier this morning with someone I respect alot, who I think knows a bit more about politics than I. We ended up agreeing that the tenor of the psychiological state of the conservative base on a national scale is poised to follow someone who advocates leadership and change. Our base is sick and tired of listening to the Howard Deans and Hillary Clintons, say “Oh woe, oh woe, the sky is falling….” Do they have a plan? No, only complaints.

    Cagle has come dangerously close to identifying himself with that sort of rhetoric…many complaints, no presentable plan. Oh, I know he has a plan posted on his website. But you point one primary voter out there who can identify a tenant of his plan. But you ask that same primary voter who CC is, and IF he knows, I guarantee that knowledge will be stemming somehow from his attacks on Ralph Reed. Bad place for Cagle to be in the minds of the voters, regardless of how it’s polling.

  10. debbie0040 says:

    If you think the Cagle Camp has not spread rumors of an impending indictment of Reed then you are a fool. They have done so from the beginning. Cagle has behaved in a very self serving and hypocritical manner.
    All things will be revealed in due tiem.
    My Dad is a retired Independent Baptist Minister and my Uncle is a retired Southern Baptist Minister and they both support Reed. They want someone that will weather any storm that comes their way. Cagle is not the man for that. Cagle is weak and caves in under pressure.

    You Cagleites are really showing your desparation. Attacking the hero on 9-11 like you have. Rudy knows Ralph did not do anything illegal. Do you really think a man of Rudy’s standing would risk putting his reputation on the line if he were not sure? There will be more endorsements forthcoming.

    You might as well face the fact, Reed is still a very popular conservative figure.

    Maurice, you are wrong about Texas. Reed followed the letter of the law and would have not been indicted had the statute of limitations expired.
    http://www.reedfacts.com/facts/2005/12/ralph-reed-abiding-by-letter-and.asp

    Chuck Colson has even stepped in and defended Ralph.

    http://www.reedfacts.com/facts/2006/04/chuck-colson-defends-ralph.asp

    You Cagleites are going to be sorely disappointed if you think the majority of Christianas think like Maurice.

  11. The Busdriver says:

    The Wall Street Journal? Call me crazy but that smells like another member of the dominant media to me!

    More celebrity endorsements on the way? Sweet. I can’t wait for the Bob Ney endorsement, and the David Savafian endorsement, and the Tony Rudy endorsement, and the Neil Volz endorsement.

    And this nugget from Debbie . . . “Speaking of hypocrite it is rather funny to see you Cagleites pointing the finger at Reed’s ethics. Maybe you should investigate your own candidate. Cagle is hypocritical pointing the finger at Reed.”

    It seems clear from that response that you’re down to the last rhetorical arrow in your quiver, Debbie, so I’ll help you out. Next time you’re going to want to use, “I’m like rubber, you’re like glue,” or the other standard, “When you point your finger at me, there are 4 fingers pointing back at you.”

    And you forgot to use “hands down” and “when Christians turn out to vote, the Republicans always win,” in this post. You’re slipping.

    Ralph by 20%. Hilarious.

  12. Bill Simon says:

    Debbie,

    IF Rudy had not been involved in helping Ralph, would YOU have backed him for President? (Hint: My guess is NO because you likely considered him a “liberal” before this).

  13. debbie0040 says:

    You are wrong about that. Rudy may not feel the same way as I do on social issues but he does have a view of state’s rights. That is the way he can appeal to conservatives. Abortion, gay rights are issues that should be left up to the states to decide. Most conservatives including myself feel that way.
    Rudy is a great leader. I support George Allen then Rudy.

  14. debbie0040 says:

    If you think the Cagle Camp has not spread rumors of an impending indictment of Reed then you are a fool. They have done so from the beginning. Cagle has behaved in a very self serving and hypocritical manner.
    All things will be revealed in due time.
    My Dad is a retired Independent Baptist Minister and my Uncle is a retired Southern Baptist Minister and they both support Reed. They want someone that will weather any storm that comes their way. Cagle is not the man for that. Cagle is weak and caves in under pressure.

    You Cagleites are really showing your desparation. Attacking the hero on 9-11 like you have. Rudy knows Ralph did not do anything illegal. Do you really think a man of Rudy’s standing would risk putting his reputation on the line if he were not sure? There will be more endorsements forthcoming.

    You might as well face the fact, Reed is still a very popular conservative figure.

    Maurice, you are wrong about Texas. Reed followed the letter of the law and would have not been indicted had the statute of limitations expired.
    http://www.reedfacts.com/facts/2005/12/ralph-reed-abiding-by-letter-and.asp

    Chuck Colson has even stepped in and defended Ralph.

    http://www.reedfacts.com/facts/2006/04/chuck-colson-defends-ralph.asp

    You Cagleites are going to be sorely disappointed if you think the majority of Christians think like Maurice.

    Busdriver, stick a sock in it!!

  15. debbie0040 says:

    If you think the Cagle Camp has not spread rumors of an impending indictment of Reed then you are a fool. They have done so from the beginning. Cagle has behaved in a very self serving and hypocritical manner.
    All things will be revealed in due time.
    My Dad is a retired Independent Baptist Minister and my Uncle is a retired Southern Baptist Minister and they both support Reed. They want someone that will weather any storm that comes their way. Cagle is not the man for that. Cagle is weak and caves in under pressure.

    You Cagleites are really showing your desparation. Attacking the hero on 9-11 like you have. Rudy knows Ralph did not do anything illegal. Do you really think a man of Rudy’s standing would risk putting his reputation on the line if he were not sure? There will be more endorsements forthcoming.

    Maurice, you are wrong about Texas. Reed followed the letter of the law and would have not been indicted had the statute of limitations expired. Check out reedfacts.com

    Chuck Colson has even stepped in and defended Ralph against the Defon ads.
    “Now, this is not a time for Christians to strike back in anger. But we ought to be calling people to moral indignation. And we ought to remember that when we fight evil, we will be attacked by unprincipled people. Take it in stride. As my friend Richard Neuhaus said some years ago, “Undaunted, we are enlisted for the duration bearing witness to the truth.

  16. SouthernConservative says:

    I’m going to take the opportunity to chastise one of our own…debbie, God bless ya for trying to keep things fair and balanced on here, but think before you speak: 20%? My goodness, the only Ga. statewide candidate who’s been beaten by close to that much was Charlie Bailey. If Ralph wins, which I think he will and hope he does, it will be by less than 5%.

  17. The Busdriver says:

    Southern Conservative had this to say:

    “Ralph took the CC from a 200k annual budget to millions annually.”

    What he left out is that Ralph left the Coalition bankrupt and the subject of 2 civil suits and 3 federal lawsuits. Ralph jumped ship as the Coalition sank deeper into debt and just before the feds handed down their judgement against the Coalition. The Coalition had to reorganize, as they were no longer allowed to claim non-profit status.

    Sure, Ralph raised a lot of money for the Coalition, and they wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful under another executive director, but the fact is Ralph bled the Coalition for everything they had and then he left.

  18. SouthernConservative says:

    How long had RR been gone when that began to go down? And what personal profit did RR made from being national ED?

  19. Bill Simon says:

    SouthernConservative,

    Here’s a little tidbit for you with regards to Zell Miller supporting Ralph Reed: Zell Miller happens to work for McKenna Long & Aldridge as a lobbyist.

    McKenna Long & Aldridge (via Randy Evans and Doug Chalmers) are Ralph Reed’s legal consultants for the race (this is, by the way, disclosed on Reed’s disclosures).

    SO, don’t be surprised to see Zell Miller, Randy Evans, Doug Chalmers, Eric Tanenblatt, Craig Dowdy, etc. all come out in support of Ralph because 1) they all work for McKenna Long who was hired by Ralph Reed, and 2) there is either a win bonus OR a win-bonus in terms of nice state government contracts if Ralph gets elected.

  20. The Busdriver says:

    That’s exactly the point. Ralph WASN’T gone when the Coalition began to slide, ethically and financially. The FEC had sued the Coalition at least 3 times, and they were being sued for non-payment by a number of vendors.

    Personal profit? I don’t know about personal profit, but what the CC did provide Ralph was a bottomless pit of resources to make his name known all throughout the US. And more importantly, and I say this again, the critical item is that Ralph made a timely exit just as everything began to hit the fan. He’s smart for doing so, but it’s still slimy.

    And while we’re on the subject of the Coalition, here’s interesting trivia tidbit: The attorney who served as Ralph’s attorney during his tenure at the Coalition, Jim Bopp, is the very same attorney who cleared Ralph and the AL Coalition of any wrongdoing in the Abramoff/Ralph/Casino/Alabama Christian Coalition scandal. Something about fox watching the hen house . . .

  21. SC,

    How is the budget at the Christian Coalition now? The fundraising is at record lows and their association with Ralph is not helping.

    If Ralph did such a good job with Georgia GOP why did Sonny replace the whole office including Ralph?

    The Georgia GOP under Ralph Reed, in 2002 put all of their efforts into the Saxby Senate race. Ralph ignored both the Governors and Lt Gov’s race. Because it was Reed’s grand plan to take those offices with no republican opposition. Ralph’s plan was to first run for Lt Governor in 2006 and then the Governor in 2010.

    Ralph only sees this election as a stepping stone in his career. While Casey sees this as a chance to lead the senate he has been a part of for 10 years.

    The Georgia caucus can see right through all of this because they have been up close and personal to the process. The Lt Gov is the president of the Georgia Senate how in the world is Ralph going to lead them when he does not have their respect or support?

  22. SouthernConservative says:

    Bill, I normally ignore your rhetoric, but this time, I’ve got to say something. I think I, along with everyone else on this site, would laud the character of Senator Miller. I think you’re out of line for attacking Senator Miller, a man you do not know, probably know very little about, or frankly, do not understand, because he’s out of your league. Hell, he’s way out ahead of me or most of the people I know. I do know Senator Miller works for McKenna Long. My question to you is this: what does he do, day to day, that affects these issues you’ve raised? As someone familiar with his activities, I can honestly say with finality, nothing. He rarely leaves Young Harris except to gives speeches and support various non-profits and such. He didn’t even complete his lobbyist registration in Georgia, so he was never considered a registered lobbyist. Nothing personal, but eat crap on this one.

  23. The Busdriver says:

    Oh, and another thing. While Ralph was running the Coalition, Ralph gave away–for free–the Coalition’s donor file (worth $2 or $3 million at the time) to his friend, vendor, and golfing buddy, Ben Hart. Ben Hart was also found to have systematically and dramatically overbilled the Coalition for his mailing services. Hart later settled and paid the Coalition an undisclosed sum.

    Abramoff. Ben Hart. Is Ralph always unknowingly swindled by his friends, or is there fire somewhere underneath all this smoke?

  24. SouthernConservative says:

    IT/BD – you are both correctly accurate in saying that right now, the Christian Coalition is in the dredges. I was involved with the CC back during high school, and supported them in many ways, for years. I haven’t had a thing to do with them in several years. They are, right now in a word, pathetic. I could go into what I believe the reasons are , but I’ll spare you because it’s not really relevant to what we’re talking about now. Essentially, you’re correct: the CC sucks.

    The argument about Sonny replacing RR and such…that always happens when an election takes place. Just since I’ve been involved with politics, I’ve worked under several EDs: Ralph Gonzolaz, Todd Schnick, Scott Rials, etc. I don’t think it’s a valid argument to say “Sonny fired RR.” Frankly, I don’t think it’s fair to criticize the GAGOP for their operations in 02: PFANG hadn’t made a good case that they could win: Saxby did. We lucked out when Barnes lost that election for us.

    As far as the stepping stone/leadership of the Senate issue: I think I agree with you: how can someone without the support of the Senate lead them? Casey tried to be their majority leader and was beaten by Bill Stephens in an overwhelming majority. Not too long ago, either. Does Casey have their support? Nah.

  25. SouthernConservative says:

    Busdriver – I’ll have to take your word on that one, I’m not familiar with that or with Ben Hart.

  26. Bill Simon says:

    SC,

    Two things: 1) See IT’s answer, above this one.

    2) When Zell Miller was Governor of Georgia, were you on your knees worshipping him like you are now?

  27. SouthernConservative says:

    Senator Miller professes to support Ralph out of friendship and respect, not business. To say it was a business decision is an attack, at least in my mind. Maybe I’m knee jerking.

  28. The Busdriver says:

    SouthernConservative,

    I don’t want you to think I’m trying to pick a fight with you personally. I’m not throwing around wild-eyed, baseless accusations. I (in another life) was on Coalition payroll, so I had a front row seat to much of what I’ve mentioned. It was a long time ago, and I don’t think it has a great deal of impact upon what Ralph does now. But I can’t just sit by and let others make boasts about Ralph’s tenure at the Coalition. Sure, he made them highly visible, but he also left them bankrupt and the subject of a number of investigations.

  29. SouthernConservative says:

    Bill, good question. I don’t worship him just highly respect him. And I like him personally, to boot. In answer to your question, no, I didn’t care much for him when he was Governor.

  30. debbie0040 says:

    If I am not mistaken, Reed actually worked for Zell at some point. Zell is supporting Ralph out of friendship but Bill does make a good point about who we can expect to support Ralph and some of the reasons.

  31. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Debbie,

    First, please only post things once, I read your same post 5Xs over maybe a word changed. Do not waste our time haveing ot scan ti to see if anything is new in it.

    Second, I love how you are acting like a Reed insider knowing all the secret things and endorsements that are about to happen. Ralph Reed is smarter than that, he does not reveal his cards. And is always a few moves ahead. Cagles team has jsut managed to keep a few moves ahead of those.

    SC,

    So no polls matter cept the ones Ralph does eh? Good one. I bet they show Ralph way up, and Cagle with 2% name ID.

    A SIDE NOTE: Maurice is a valent fighter of Republican and conservative values, he ran for County Commission in 2004 while at the same time going against the ever moderate Johnny Isakson to support Herman Cain.

  32. Bill Simon says:

    Brian,

    Debbie might be taking after you, the consummate (cough!-cough!) “insider” on so many campaigns in the past, be they Lamutt, Handel, Sonny’s first campaign, etc.

  33. SouthernConservative says:

    Brian, you’re on crack man. Stop while you’re ahead, for your own sake.

    Busdriver, chill a little, bro. I know you’re not being personal. No offense taken. It’s blogging under pseudonyms 😉

    I take your word for it that the Christian Coalition isn’t squeaky clean. But I’d have a hard time buying that Ralph put them in that posture intentionally, or did a “inside trader-esque” move out right before the dollops hit the fan.

  34. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Bill I have only spoke of campaign for which I have worked. Is Debbie receiving a paycheck from Ralph. That would make this ever so much more interesting.

  35. Brian from Ellijay says:

    I need spellcheck;) Cant we add that while we are implementing all these changes Erick?

  36. Maurice Atkinson says:

    Debbie, you posted “You Cagleites are going to be sorely disappointed if you think the majority of Christianas think like Maurice. ”

    You need to clarify.

    As a Bible believing Christian, the basic tenets of my faith are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. I believe in redemption. I certainly believe that Christ provided the ultimate sacrifice for sin and that grace is for all people.

    My faith and my own integrity prohibits me from spreading lies. Speculating on an indictment is not lying or spreading rumors. It is speculating on the events of the day.

    An example of lying is: orchestrating a rumor that a Senator fathered an illigitemate child, and fueling the fires of racial intolerance by saying the child was black.
    That is a pathetic lie.

    Lying is creating entities to launder money so the source of the monies is disguised, then telling the masses that he was duped by his friend; then only to find through the Senate Oversight Committee that Ralph himself directed the laundering process. He knew the source of the money or he would not have directed the laundering process. That is a lie.

  37. Maurice Atkinson says:

    Incidentally, I have never said at any time to anyone I thought that Ralph would be indicted. I have always maintained an indictment is not critical to exposing criminal activity. I have said that I strongly disagree with the methods and the lengths that Ralph went to, to work for his clients. That in itself is dispicable.

  38. SouthernConservative says:

    Um, yep, Maurice, your buddy Bull Moose just posted a week ago that Ralph Reed fathered a black baby out of wedlock…not only racially distastful, but a flat out lie. Did you catch that?

  39. Demonbeck says:

    Actually, SC, that was me. I posted it in reference to the very tactic employed by Mr. Reed in SC against McCain. I am sorry it went over your head.

  40. SOUTHERNCOMFORT says:

    Reed is going to get what he sowed,these blind followers will be his next victims.These articles will multiply as July approaches and it will be fun to watch them try to protect their cult leader. Like Barnum said a sucker’s born everyday…..

  41. debbie0040 says:

    Brian, if it posted more than once it is because when I hit submit, nothing happened so I re posted it.

    I have never claimed to be a Reed insider. I do hear that there are more endorsements forth coming and have heard Cagle is not so squeaky clean. In fact, if you even bother to read other posts you will find I am not the only one saying those things.

    By the way, are you on some type of mind altering drug?

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